Sunday, May 27, 2007

Madeleine's Parents 'To Meet Pope On Wednesday'

The parents of missing British child Madeleine McCann are trying to arrange an audience with the Pope.

It is thought the meeting in Rome could take place next Wednesday after Kate and Gerry McCann, who are both Roman Catholics, took steps to meet with Pope Benedict XVI through church authorities in London.

In the 24 days that their four-year-old daughter has been missing, Mr and Mrs McCann have regularly attended mass in Portugal.

Last week the Vatican indicated that an audience with the Pope would be possible."I can confirm that approaches have been made to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and to the British ambassador to the Holy See and we are certainly exploring the possibility of Gerry and Kate McCann visiting Rome to meet the Pope in the near future," said the couple's Foreign Office liaison officer Clarence Mitchell.

Meanwhile, police in the Algarve have received hundreds of telephone calls after releasing a description of a man seen carrying what may have been a child on the night Madeleine disappeared on May 3rd in the Praia da Luz resort.

Earlier today, Briton Robert Murat, who has been named as police's only official suspect, insisted the description issued is not him.On Friday Chief Inspector Olegario de Sousa told journalists that the man seen near to where Madeleine's parents were staying was described as white, 37-years-old, 5ft 10ins tall with a medium build and short hair, wearing a dark jacket, beige trousers and dark shoes.

But despite similarities between the description and himself, Mr Murat reportedly said: "It isn't me. But the description is so vague that it won't put me out of the picture."I hope that I will soon be in a position to clear my name."

Yesterday Kate and Gerry McCann hailed the sighting of a man seen the night their daughter was abducted as "significant and relevant".

It has been reported that Portuguese police, who have been criticised in the UK for the opaque nature of their investigation, only released the official description of the new suspect following pressure from prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown, who has had telephone conversations with the McCanns in recent days.

Mrs McCann also revealed today that she and her husband have been sleeping in the same bed as their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie since their older sister was taken.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Mr McCann insisted that the entire family believed Madeleine was safe and well.

"If anything really bad had happened we would have found her by now," he said

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