Gerry McCann: I think... I think the hardest thing with this is, you know with hindsight we made a mistake, errm... it was a collective mistake....
This video is available [on the link above, from 38:55] until Sun April 22
This video is available [on the link above, from 38:55] until Sun April 22
Aired: Friday 23 March 2012
With thanks to A Miller for original transcript
Gerry McCann: Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.
Kate McCann: I just wanna say 'thank you'. Please continue to pray for Madeleine, she's lovely.
Gerry McCann: ...and we continue to hope for the best possible outcome from this for us... and for Madeleine.
Fredrik Skavlan [Host]: Errr... Kate and Gerry McCann please welcome to... welcome to Stockholm.
Gerry McCann: Thank you.
Kate McCann: Thank you.
Fredrik Skavlan: Errr... It's... it's been... it's been almost five years, errr... since, since, errm... Madeleine disappeared and... and now you Kate are reliving the whole thing by writing a book about what happened. Errm... Why are you doing that?
Kate McCann: Well I actually started to keep a diary back in May 2007. I was advised to do it actually, and at the time I felt it would be important for Madeleine really, so that when we found her we'd be able to fill in the gaps, errm... in her life, and then I also thought it would be good for Sean and Amelie as well, so that they would have an account really, of the truth of everything that happened.
Fredrik Skavlan: Your... your twins?
Kate McCann: That's right, yeah.
Fredrik Skavlan: Errm... If we could start by going back, errm... to... to May, errr... 3rd 2007. What's your strongest memories of Madeleine from that day?
Gerry McCann: I think the strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph that was the last photograph we have of her and, errr... you know, we'd had a lovely holiday. Madeleine was having a great time and just after lunch we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was sitting there paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and she turned round and she's just beaming. And then the... the last time I saw her, which was probably minutes before she was taken, when she was lying asleep, and it's terrible how... I've said this a few times but I had one of those poignant moments as a parent where... I went into her room, and the door was open, and I... I just paused for a second and I looked, and she was sound asleep, and I thought how beautiful she was. The twins were asleep in the... in their cots and I thought how lucky we were. And within, you know, minutes that was shattered!
Fredrik Skavlan: What happened was that you went... you went to eat with the other parents that you were on vacation with?
Kate McCann: That's right.
Fredrik Skavlan: Errm... This was not far from the apartment?
Kate McCann: It's about 50 metres as the clow... crow flies but about 70 metres on foot.
Fredrik Skavlan: Yes, and... and as you sat there in this restaurant you... you went back and forth on shift to... to check on the children, is that right?
Kate McCann: That's right.
Fredrik Skavlan: And... and what... what happened when the last time you went to check?
Kate McCann: Well it was 10 o'clock when I went to check on Madeleine and, errm... I walked into the sitting room of the apartment and I noticed that the children's bedroom door was open further than we'd left it. We always close it quite far over but just enough so some light gets in and it was quite open. And it was our friend Matt who had checked on the children at half past nine when he was checking on his daughter next door, and I thought to myself well maybe... maybe Matt's left the door open when he's checked on them. So I walked over to the bedroom door and I was about to close it to again, and as I did that, it kind of slammed shut, and I thought, 'oh, there must be a draught' and I checked the door behind me and I hadn't left that open.
And then I opened the door again, of the children's bedroom, just to leave it open a little bit and that's when I really looked in. And I... I couldn't quite make out Madeleine in her bed and I just looked and looked and, errm... it was obviously quite dark, and it must be a parental thing where you don't switch a light on in case... you're worried about waking them but then I realised she wasn't actually there and I thought, well she must have wandered through to our bedroom and maybe that would explain why door was open. So I went into... to our bedroom and she wasn't there and that was the first time really that the panic hit and I just ran back into her bedroom, and literally at that point, errm... the curtains which were closed just kind of flew open and that was when I noticed that the window was open as far as it could go and the shutters outside had been raised all the way up. And I just knew straight away that someone had, errm... taken her, so...
Fredrik Skavlan: So... so this... this was your first thought?
Kate McCann: Yeah, absolutely, there's no way a... a young child could have got out.
Fredrik Skavlan: This... this decision of not eating in the apartment it has been a lot of discussions about that and not... not staying in the apartment, to go to eat with the other parents - as you did every night.
Gerry McCann: We felt incredibly safe and we were in a very quiet holiday resort. We were with a group of friends, we hardly saw anyone of an evening and it... it was so close that it... it didn't feel very different to eating outside in your garden, with the kids upstairs in the bedroom, and it... literally we were only going back, errm... to check that no one had woken up and of course at the time someone stealing your child was the furthest thing from our minds and, errm... it... it...
Fredrik Skavlan: This was really not something you had thought twice about?
Gerry McCann: Yeah, no, it was, it just felt, errm...
Kate McCann: I think if we'd had to think about it or even say to each other 'do you think that's okay?' then it wouldn't have happened. But it just felt like a very natural thing; we'll eat at the restaurant on the complex, errm...
Gerry McCann: I think... I think the hardest thing with this is, you know with hindsight we made a mistake, errm... it was a collective mistake but unfortunately we can't change that and, errm... and whatever anyone may think about our decision making that night Madeleine's completely innocent and, you know, she's been taken and, errm... and it's hard for us because, you know, no one could feel more guilty than we did to... to... to think that your behaviour gave someone an opportunity, a risky opportunity, but one that they took and, you know, we persecuted ourselves for that, but you've got to look forward, you can't go back, we can't change that unfortunately, and errm... and what we've tried to do is... is always to look forward.
Fredrik Skavlan: Were you like... were you the worrying kind of parents. I mean, there are...?
Gerry McCann: I'll answer that! I would say: I wasn't but Kate was! I would have said that Kate was a bit over protective whereas, you know, I grew up in a big family; the youngest of five, and you feel, oh, you know, indestructible, but Kate was much... as an only child maybe, I don't know, but definitely much more protective, errr... of the children than... than me.
Fredrik Skavlan: There... there were, errr... you... you came in contact very... very quickly with the Portuguesian [sic] police...
Gerry McCann: Sure...
Fredrik Skavlan: Errr... How was that experience?
Gerry McCann: We were expecting a Metropolitan type response and I remember... I remember saying to the officers, 'where's the helicopters? I want helicopters with heat seeking equipment.' And, you know, the officer kind of laughed at us and said, you know, 'this isn't...', you know, 'we don’t have a Royal Navy' and... and this thing... and... and you just... and I'm sure every single parent can understand this because everyone has lost a child momentarily and the terror and how frightening it is, be it in a supermarket or a playground or a park, and you just want everything done and you want... you want the world to stop and... and scream, and... and the response, you know, was slow. Errm... And that... that's been one of the hardest things for us, because, you know, Madeleine could have been moved very easily and the Spanish border's only about 90 minutes away and obviously you are on the Mediterranean, and one of the aspects of why we are campaigning internationally, errr... is because she could have been taken anywhere.
Fredrik Skavlan: What happened was that as time went by you didn't really trust the Portuguesian [sic] police and they didn't trust you?
Gerry McCann: We were there for three/three and a half months, we felt we had been completely eliminated from the enquiry, we'd been interviewed... the circumstances, you know, errm... and then, you know, for whatever reason, and possibly pressure, and a desire for this case to go away, it was portrayed in the media that, errr... there was very strong evidence that Madeleine was dead. People see 'DNA' and other things, and that we were responsible for hiding her body and...
Fredrik Skavlan: There were rumours about DNA in the car... in the car that you hired?
Gerry McCann: And we want to be absolutely clear about these things, you know, there's two aspects: we didn't hire that car for 3 and half weeks until afterMadeleine was taken, and the second aspect is there's no DNA match. Errr... You know, when you see the files there's a mixed sample of DNA that comes from 5 people and obviously some of it matched Madeleine's. But of course, all, of our DNA matches Madeleine's and... and to be fair, you know, it was incredibly frustrating from the time we were arguido, through to the... the file being closed the following July but the... the Prosecutor's final report was very clear actually, and unequivocal, that, you know, there was no evidence that Madeleine was dead. And there was no evidence that we were involved but certain people have chosen to ignore that information.
Fredrik Skavlan: Which one of these media speculations was... was most shocking, do you think? Was most hurtful?
Kate McCann: I mean, there were loads, I mean, I guess the worst thing is if they say she's dead - and there's no evidence - because if she's dead there's no search, errm... (laughs)
Gerry McCann: I think the other thing, just to go back to that, Fredrik, is that we had an interview with the police, which Kate details in her book - an unofficial interview - and, errm... basically two of the senior officers were saying to us, errm... 'tell us what happened, we know what happened.' And... and I was in tears, saying, 'do you have evidence that Madeleine is dead? Because if you do, as her parents, we need to know.' And they were saying, 'it's coming, it's coming'. And that, you know, the pressure that was put on us to confess to a crime of... of hiding your own daughter's body and to... to say that you were going to pursue us for murder. And... and it's not unique to Portugal, this happens with police the world over, it's happened to many different people, it's happened to other parents in similar situations to us.
Fredrik Skavlan: How is your daily life, it's been five years, how is your daily life affected by this now... or do you have a daily life?
Kate McCann: Yeah, I think we've reached a new normality I guess. You know, our life will never be what it was, you know, it's never gonna be truly normal again because of what's happened but we've got to a place where we are obviously functioning, I mean Gerry works full time. I haven't returned to medical practice but I've worked on the campaign and investigation. Six months of my life was spent going through the Portuguese police files, nine months was spent writing a book, and of course we've got two other children. We've got Sean and Amelie, and it's, you know, it's actually quite a luxury, but a nice luxury, to be able to take them to school and be there for when they come home, so...
Gerry McCann: It's probably important to emphasise, you know, we do spend obviously a lot of our spare time, errr... focused on it and the last year we've slept a lot better knowing that the review is taking place. But if you had a casual observer looking at us as a family they would see a family of four. They'd see a happy family of four, and they wouldn't really see... they wouldn't suspect that we'd been, errm... you know, suffered a great trauma, errm... but for Kate and I... Sean and Amelie are as happy as any 7 year olds that we know and for Kate and I, we get enjoyment from life, we do, we do, do that, but until Madeleine's back with us there's... there's always going to be a void and that there's a limit, you know, whereas before you could be... you could have unbridled joy, anything now, is always... there's always a tinge and it's often the family things because Madeleine is not there with us.
Fredrik Skavlan: How... how has it affected your relationship?
Kate McCann: Well we're very lucky in that our relationship was very good, very strong, before this happened and I'm not sure we'd have survived if that wasn't the case I mean I don't think there could be anything more traumatic than what's happened to us plus all the additional stuff on top of that.
Fredrik Skavlan: You... you said you've written the book for the twins, how much do they know?
Kate McCann: Probably as much as we do to be honest now, errm...
Gerry McCann: Virtually, yeah!
Kate McCann: We did take advice from a child psychologist and he said to be as honest and as open with them but let them take the lead so if they ask you a question you respond as... as fully as you can and that's exactly what we've done. So we've got to the point now where they understand that a man has taken Madeleine. They... they view it like burgalry [sic]; she's been stolen and you shouldn't take something that doesn't belong to you but they understand, you know, there's lots of people helping us. They understand why we are in Sweden today, the purpose of that is to ask for more help really, errm...
Fredrik Skavlan: Can... can they really remember?
Kate McCann: Well obviously they were very young, but they have re-counted things that happened prior to May 2007, which has kind of thrown me a little bit. Obviously they have been surrounded by Madeleine ever since. There's pictures all around the house and Madeleine's bedroom is still there, they've obviously seen things on the television and they know that my job really has changed from being a doctor to looking for Madeleine, errm...
Gerry McCann: And I think it's important to say that they still see Madeleine as a big part of their life, and as parents that's incredibly comforting and they'll say things like 'We're going to get on an aeroplane and we're going to look for that man, and when we find him we're going to... ' and I'll say 'we'll give him to police', but they even talk about that. But I think, you know, if we don't find Madeleine in the next... period we will face more difficult times as they get older and they're on internet and they start seeing some of the vile material which is there.
Fredrik Skavlan: In your book you... you... you mention that you have been perceived as, errr... as cold in a way?
Kate McCann: Well someone's always got an opinion and I think we've learned how judgemental people can be and, I mean, I think its maybe part of human nature, we are all quick to judge from a position of ignorance.
Fredrik Skavlan: Is there a right way of grieving and a wrong way of grieving?
Kate McCann: Well exactly, I mean how should a mother or father grieve when their child is abducted and...
Gerry McCann: I think the other thing people probably don't understand is that when we've done media, in particular in the early days you had to really psyche yourself up to go on there and deliver the message, you know, we set objectives...
Fredrik Skavlan: Were you advised on how to behave?
Gerry McCann: We... I mean the very initial things we weren't, but when we did the first sort of direct appeal to the abductor, errm... Kate... we were... and I was told that Kate should speak as the mother, female voice and that she should not show any emotion in case that gave the abductor some sort of kick so that particular appeal, but I think as much as anything, you know, Kate had probably cried 16 hours a day for 4 days, by time we did that, and we were just drained, you cannot physically cry 24 hours a day. I mean it's impossible.
Kate McCann: The day we did the appeal to the abductor, which was on the Monday, and I spoke to Alan the counsellor and I said, 'I feel really numb' and I felt really bad that I felt numb, I just... and he said 'Kate you can't cry for 24 hours a day, you know, this is... this is natural' but... (lets out sigh) it's hard, I mean if you laugh people will say 'how can they laugh when their child has been abducted'; if you don't laugh you'll either get called 'cold' or you're 'on the edge of a nervous breakdown' or... and it's just hard, you've just got to be who you are, you know.
Fredrik Skavlan: Do you have days that when you can forget, when you can sort of not think about it?
Kate McCann: No, I don't think there's any day when Madeleine isn't on my mind, you know, she is always there but... For 18 months/2 years I never thought I'd enjoy myself again, I never thought I'd allow myself to enjoy anything again, errm... and with time you adapt and I... I realised that actually it is okay to do that and it is important to do that, you need to get rest, you need to enjoy your life, and you have to be well and happy, you know, for each other, for Madeleine when she gets home, for Sean and Amelie, and... and thankfully, you know, we are in a position now where we get a lot of enjoyment out of things, Sean and Amelie in particular.
Fredrik Skavlan: Today, almost 5 years later, what do you believe happened to Madeleine?
Kate McCann: Well, I mean, my view hasn't changed, you know, since the 4th of May really, and that is, that a man took Madeleine. And that man was the person who our friend Jane Tanner saw carrying a child away from the area of the apartment. And sadly I don't really know anything else since.
Fredrik Skavlan: How long do you think you can find the strength to continue this search?
Kate McCann: Well, as long as it takes. I don't think any parent, errm... would ever be able to give up on their child and even the weeks where we are absolutely shattered, errm... or there's another injustice that comes your way, you get up the next morning and think, 'right let's go again' because, you know, Madeleine is part of our family. We all need her back and she needs to be with us... just need to keep going.
Gerry McCann: I mean, there are times when you just think 'I cannot do this, any more', errm... 'it's too much' and particularly, you know, the attention that's come through the media, but, as Kate says, you know, that bond with us, and with Madeleine, and for Sean and Amelie, and even if you wanted to I don't think we could stop.
Fredrik Skavlan: Please know that our thoughts are with you, errr... thank you so much for coming here to Stockholm and telling us about her, reminding us about Madeleine is still missing. Thank you, so much.