Madeleine McCann: who are we to judge?

Are Madeleine McCann’s parents really to blame?

"Blog for Madeleine McCann"Once, I left my baby alone. I checked the windows of my hotel bedroom, closed the door and went downstairs to dinner. The reception on the monitor in the restaurant was terrible; anything could have been happening and I wouldn’t have heard it. The couple in the opposite corner seemed to be having trouble with their monitor too. But it was fine. I knew she was asleep, in her cot, unable to climb out, and there was a smoke alarm in the hotel.

  • Have you ever left your sleeping child in a locked room, whilst you had dinner in another place, escaped for an hour of adult company?
  • Have you ever entertained friends in your back garden whilst your child slept at the front of the house?
  • Do you leave your back door unlocked (not open) whilst you are in your house?
  • Has your child ever been out of sight in a field or park during a game of hide and seek?
  • Have you ever allowed your child to climb into the car on your driveway whilst you did a last minute check of the house, or supervised a quick toddler loo visit?
  • Have you ever accidentally gone to bed thinking your partner has locked the back door, only to realise in the morning that he didn’t?

Unless the answer to all of these questions is an emphatic NO, you cannot judge the parents of Madeleine McCann for their actions on the night of her disappearance. Last week I was a voyeur of a Facebook thread on the subject of the McCann tragedy; people were slating them for their actions, practically demanding that they be punished. Well you might as well punish thousands of other parents who, if they were honest, have left their child in situations that were not 100% lock-tight.

Praia da Luz: the perfect family holiday…

"The McCann's appartment"
Photo courtesy of the Guardian

You may wonder why I feel so strongly about this. The year before Madeleine McCann was abducted, I had the pleasure of a family holiday in Praia da Luz. Our holiday house was directly opposite the pool entrance, about 100 metres from the McCann appartment. It was a great holiday; pool and bars on the doorstep, gorgeous beach, lovely people, delicious food.

My baby was a noisy sleeper, who often cried in her sleep, but didn’t wake, so we had opted for  a 2 bedroom house. We left the bedroom doors open so we could hear her if she woke, but a small cry could go unnoticed. The man in the house next door was a heavy snorer, and kept me awake for hours at night. In the end I wore earplugs. It was hot, so we left the windows ajar in the baby’s room. We locked the shutters down, just as the McCanns did, but we left some fresh air circulating for her.It could have been us…..

When does safety become obsession?

It never occurred to me that my baby was at risk. But had our appartment been targetted that week, I have no doubt that our safety net was not strong enough. We were in the house. External fittings were locked. But would we have heard an intruder hell bent on secrecy?

In the months after Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, safety became an obsession for me. 30º heat or not, the windows remained locked at night (I still can’t shake this habit). If I allowed my kids to run down and switch on the TV of a weekend morning I would get a lie-in, but they can’t, because the alarm is  always on overnight.

Statistics are no comfort

I met a child-protection police officer who maintains that statistically, it is likely that the McCanns were involved in their daughter’s disappearance. But what use are statistics unless they are 100%? If your child fell into that unlucky 0.3% bracket, would the statistics comfort you? Of course not! It angers me that so many people put such energy into shouting statistics and castigating her parents for their actions that night. “Oh, statistics say it was them, so that’s alright then, case closed.” Rubbish! My feeling is that people take this stance so they can brush the issue under the carpet as being something they, as responsible parents, do not have to worry about. Wise-up! That 0.3% matters!

You are never 100% safe

I know that had the McCanns been in their appartment that night, it would not necessarily have prevented Madeleine’s abduction. Two years ago, a woman living not far from us, got up as usual, put the kettle on, and opened her back door. Maybe she put some washing on the line and came back in for her cup of tea. Some minutes later a stranger walked in through her back door and stabbed her to death. Her 18 year old son rushed to help her, and ended up stabbing her assailant, who also died.

My proximity to these two tragedies has left me obsessed with the safety of my family. All of those questions at the beginning of this article? I can answer yes, to every single one of them. And I bet most of you can too. I will never again do any one of those things, and that is probably good. But it shouldn’t be necessary. When a crime is committed, do not turn on the victim with recriminations.

Madeleine McCann is 9 years old today, 12 May 2012. She is still missing. A criminal is still free. A family is still devastated. Do not judge them, help them. Please, if you see a girl who might be Madeleine, take the following actions:

The Find Madeleine official website is, and you can see all the details of her case there.

Lastly, if you are a blogger, or social media user, you can help by tweeting and sharing this post with your contacts, or by writing your own blog post, including all these details. The #blogging4madeleine campaign is being organised by bloggers A Mummy’s View and Tea and Biscotti, and a linky is being hosted by BritMums. Please share this information with as many people as you can, in whatever way you can, so that this vulnerable girl can be found.

Thank you.

150 thoughts on “Madeleine McCann: who are we to judge?”

  1. My son is about the same age as Jamie Bulger and shortly after he was abducted whilst shopping in town he wandered away from me in a shop – not more than 10 feet, but towards the door. At that moment a young teenage lad came into the store and bent down to him and said ‘don’t wander off little one – your mum will miss you’ – more than likely as a kindness, because he had younger siblings, or because his parents brought him up well – but I flipped my lid and ran at him snatched my child away and used language I’m still not proud of. I spent months never letting go of him in public, would that have stopped anyone determined to take him???
    It’s easy to judge others when we are safe and secure in our our lives, I’ve never left my children like they did, but I have left them asleep in their beds whilst I go down the garden, have a bath etc, so as you say anything could still have happened even in the place we consider our ‘castle’

  2. You are right. Every parent has made mistakes. It is impossible to keep watch over your child 24hours a day. They run off when you are out, you pop back inside the house to get something whilst leaving them in an unlocked car – it is only seconds but it only takes seconds for something to happen. No one should judge others. No one deserves to have their little girl abducted.

  3. Trying not to comment! But I think the parents put her in a Risky situation so they could enjoy a meal, wouldn’t consider it a necessity unlike having a backdoor or taking a child to the toilet.

  4. This is so true I would never judge them. I still think about them and truly wonder how they manage to get through the days, months and years. I think we have all put our children in danger, I certainly think more than twice about it now though. I hope that this little girl is still alive and well. Good for you for keeping her memory alive and the search active 🙂

  5. Excellent post. I believe nobody can ever blame the parents as much as they already blame themselves. Such an awful tragedy but I don’t think those parents could possibly be punished more.


  6. I notice you say, “once, you left your baby alone”. I take it you didn’t do this night after night like the McCanns did with their little ones. Once is a mistake, a whole week of leaving them alone to go and wine and dine is not a mistake in my opinion. Sorry.

    • That’s fine, don’t apologise. I actually did it twice, and never again as it made me so uncomfortable. But I have friends who have done it regularly. And they are good parents. Mark Warner baby listening is no better than what the McCanns did, and is still being offered. I couldn’t do it. But we are always at risk. Their situation is unusual, and most children are taken opportunistically. Thank you so much for your comment – I really appreciate people engaging with this subject, in the hope that maybe one day justice will be done.

    • The parents are to blame 100%…. why on earth would you leave your babies alone in a apartment while selfishly getting drunk silly!……

      Its only because they are white middle class that their other 2 kids haven’nt been taken of them..Another example of social services failing!

      The parents are to blame and guilty of whats happened….

  7. An interesting post that has given me food for thought.

    My daughter is also 9 today, blonde hair, blue eyes, and because of that I found it difficult to watch or read about the incident at the time it felt too close to home, so I have never really known all the facts and fiction surrounding the case.

    I have sympathy for the family, losing a child dosen’t bare thinking about, and the not knowing must eat away at you everyday. I don’t agree with their choice of leaving the children, but that was their choice and it doen’t make what happened right.

    I truly hope that one day Madeline will be found, and be reunited with her family.

  8. no, as far as i know they went out to have fun and left her alone. I may not be perfect but would never go out and leave my 3 year old home alone. EVER. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of not being able to have windows open in our own home but going out to dinner leaving a 3yo is different. Even if you could be sure they wouldn’t be taken, surely they would be distressed if they awoke and couldn’t find their parents. At that age they could also harm themselves.

    Obviously I respect differing opinions and this is just mine.

    • I agree that their actions were not ideal. But they were with peers doing exactly the same. And Mark Warner still charge for a service where you leave your child alone, and they check every 15 minutes to make sure there is no noise from outside the room! So plenty of parents do exactly what the McCanns did.
      Whilst I personally couldn’t have done what they did, there have been situations where, in a flash, my children could have been taken. And the same is true for most parents, I believe. Just because they were away from their children doesn’t mean they should expect a criminal to steal them.
      But thank you for your comment. I appreciate this is a highly emotive subject, with no right or wrong view. If you feel strongly about Madeleine, please share this post, as that is the purpose of it – to raise Madeleine’s profile once again.

      • If your child was taken in a flash then no blame can be put on you. It is a bit different when you leave your child alone to go out for a meal. Their situation is very sad and I would not wish it on anyone but after all these years i think it is not unreasonable to look at the parents actions with a little less sympathy

      • You are wrong Mark Warner didn’t have a listening service at that resort
        The McCann’s made a choice not a one off mistake
        Then you have the dogs findings 15 blood and cadaver alerts to the McCann’s clothing,car and apartment and a DNA match to Madeleine
        Keep Madeleine’s name alive by all means for whatever happened to that child sits solely with her neglect by her parents Madeleine wasn’t in a cot she couldn’t get out of and she didn’t sleep well
        These blogs are great but please don’t share Bs research and posts facts

  9. Just because you are trying to excuse yourself, it doesn’t work that way, not when you leave three children under under 4 y.o. alone, 5 nights on a roll, particularly when one of them has woken up the night previous to her tragic disappearance. That is considered a crime, a crime of child neglect both in Portugal and in the UK. Get a grip! What kind of mother are you?

    Perhaps you could try to excuse/explain this?

    Note: Sorry if this going twice, don’t know if the comment went through, delete one of them if you wish. Thanks.

    • I am a mother who has made mistakes. A mother who will never make such mistakes again. But a mother who should never have had to comsider that such actions would result in the abduction of a child. The person in the wrong here, is the person who took Madeleine. Whilst energy is wasted castigating a couple who are already dealing with unimaginable suffering, action could be directed towards bringing the perpetrators to justice. I do not maintain that the McCAnns didn’t make a mistake. But what parent can honestly say they never made a mistake with their child? It doesn’t mean they deserve what happended to the McCanns. Thank you for your comment

      • Actually, Actually Mummy you should worry if your actions result in abduction, your job as a mother is to keep your children safe and there are nasty people out there.
        Add to that the risk of fire, the kids waking up and injuring themselves etc etc.
        Just the fact that my child could wake up and know I wasn’t there and feel scared would be enough of a deterrent for me x

      • Your argument is so critically flawed and you don’t even know it…
        “No parent should expect that their child will get abducted” is such a naive and blind way to view the world as it exists in its true current state. Is it right that pedophiles, human traffickers and murderers exist in the world? Probably not. Do they actually exist in the world? YES! As a parent it’s not doing you or anyone any good to stamp your foot and say “I’ll put my child in a high risk situation because as far as I’m concerned, evil shouldn’t exist in this world and to me that’s enough to shut my eyes to the fact that it does”
        Seriously, “Actually Mummy” if that’s your response and justification for leaving your child alone in a high risk situation (you won’t deny that the situation is high risk because you’ve already stated several times that you would never make the mistake of doing it again which indicates that you realise the risks) then you are naively philosophizing about matters you clearly do not understand. KNOW the world you are rearing your children in. It’s ugly, dangerous, and unspeakable things happen in it. Should they happen to anyone? No. DO they happen (on a daily basis)? YES. How can you protect your children from the horrors of abduction, sex slavery etc. when you’re so naive that it can and does happen… Sigh

      • For sure the person responsible is the person who took the child however if you leave your car keys in the ingition of your car or your wallet on a bar you would not be surprised if they were not there 30 minutes later. I don’t leave any valuables in my room when I go out when I am on holiday. I have seen to many rooms robbed

        Whoever took the child probably saw the parents routine several days and knew exactly when to strike.

  10. Excellent blog, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and for your total honesty.

    I support this family completely and have done since day one. I have never condoned the fact that they left their children to go out to the Tapas Bar, they really should not have done that, BUT did that give someone the right to go into the apartment and steal away one of their children? No it absolutely did not!!!

    There is no doubt in my mind that Kate and Gerry McCann go over in their minds, time after time after time, the what-ifs, what if we had just stayed in that night, what if we had just kept the kids up a bit later that night, what if what if what if? They have to live with the consequences of leaving their children, and have done for five years now, but it does not change the facts here, that someone went into their apartment and stole away one of their most precious gifts, their eldest daughter, Madeleine.
    Every single day I am disgusted by what I read about this couple, and in particular Kate. The comments made against her are disgraceful and most of them libelous, if truth were told. There are a certain few forums, groups and face book/twitter pages who make it their whole aim in life to see this couple jailed for (a) neglect and (b) being involved in what happened to their little girl. It is both upsetting and hurtful to read some of these comments and mostly these are made by other women, which I find quite disturbing. Someone who left a comment here is one of the worst offenders of this and along with some others in various groups have made it their daily ritual to crucify this couple.
    I often wonder just what they will say or how they would react if Madeleine us found, but then judging by their attitudes towards this family and their comments, I have no doubt that they would make up yet another ridiculous theory that the McCanns were behind the whole thing, despite what the authorities had to say about it.
    Right now these people are even commenting on the face book page of the Metropolitan Police, and some of the comments are disgraceful. They are so full of themselves that they think they are above the law, it is actually quite disturbing to read most of it. To be perfectly honest I do not know why the comments, well most of them, are still there.
    Anyway I believe that this child will be found, hopefully one day very soon, I also believe that no matter what, the people who are against this family will neve believe that she was abducted by a stranger, no matter who tells them the facts, but really does it matter in the long run what they think?
    Again thank you for your blog and your honesty. Show me just one parent who has never made mistakes whilst bringing up their kids, just one……..I am sure that it would be a difficult find.
    Just as a final word, there is someone on twitter who is claiming that she contacted the McCanns mid April regarding their daughter, and she is telling whoever will listen to her that because of her Madeleine was rescued and is now living at a secret location. If people were daft enough to believe her, then they would stop looking for this little girl, so in fact she is putting the search for Madeleine in danger by posting her wild ramblings. The good people who care about this child possibly would stop looking for her, thinking that she had been found! She should be banned from tweeting and not allowed to continue with her ridiculous craving for her five minutes of fame.
    I will be back to read again, a great blog thank you.

  11. Im a mum of 3 under 4 too, I can say with absolute certainty that I would NEVER leave my babies alone, have you seen how far the tapas bar actually was?
    I really think you need read more about the case.
    Kate Mccann never searched for her child that first night, would you, if your 3 yr old was missing? Ive searched more for our cat.
    Please dont use the old adage that ‘we’ve all done it” because we havent, leaving you child in a hotel room is NOT the same as leaving them in an unlocked apartment ,every night, in a strange country and in the dark, especially when you know the child had cried the night before, would you seriously do the same thing the next night? Wouldnt the thought of your 3 yr old crying alone tear your heart out?
    Could you also explain why you keep saying she was abducted? She is missing, yes, but abduction has never been proved, it would be far better to stick to the facts.

    Please read up a little more, it might just open your eyes.

    • Hi Mel, I was there, so yes, I have seen the distance, and it take less than a minute to walk between the two. Added to that, they could see the door of their appartment from the tapas bar.
      Leaving a child in a hotel room is equally as bad, in my opinion: who knows how many individuals have ghost keys to hotel bedrooms. And downstairs in a restaurant you cannot see who is at the door of your room upstairs.
      I agree with Little Rhino that risk of fire would worry me more in an appartment or house than in a hotel with fire safety devices, but stranger danger is every bit as real in a hotel room.
      I write that she was abducted, because that is the official precis of the case on, the official site of the family’s campaign, which is what I am highlighting here.
      Thank you though, for you comment, I really appreciate your input to the discussion.

    • Good point about the old adage that we have all done it. You are right we all have not done it. Some of us really look after our children. I have to say the majority of people I see on holiday don’t and this is a case of when the majority is wrong

  12. One of my blog themes is that we all make parenting mistakes and that people are far to quick to judge. That doesn’t mean you don’t make risk assessment, even sub-conciously, and the McCann’s idea of what was risky differs entirely from mine. When you have young children you lose your right to go out for tapas every night.

    We went to an all-inclusive when my eldest was 3. We were all in the same room and that meant that by 8pm every night we were all tucked up together in a dark room. It’s one of the sacrifices that you make.

    That said anyone calling for them to be punished is wrong. You can no more prove they were involved than they weren’t. If there were enough evidence either way there’d have been a trial by now. Given that, they are already being punished by not having their daughter. Every parents worst nightmare, far worse than a jail sentence and with a term no-one knows the length of. I hope the renewed campaign works and Maddie is found.

    • I agree, and that’s what we do. Actually I love getting to bed early with them – especially on holiday, that’s what family holidays are for imo, sharing time with your whole family. But I made the mistake many parents do when my eldest was a baby. I have friends who still pay Mark Warner to listen outside a door every 15 minutes while they have an adult evening. I couldn’t do it, but many many people do. So my point on this post is that it wasn’t just the McCanns. Yes, they were wrong, but there are thousands of other parents making this same mistake every single day.
      Thanks so much for your comment, and support with the overall message.

  13. Hi
    Think slightlysuburbandad hit the nail on the head.

    ‘when you have young children you lose the right to go out for tapas everynight’

    🙂 x

    Ps my little rhino is getting slightly annoyed that I have hijacked his bloggy Thingy and acted extra nuerotically in the park after reading this blog! X

  14. Also change a couple of the details,

    The mum single, 18, goes to the beer garden across the road drinking with friends 5 nights in a row. Same distance as the tapas bar, leaves 3 small children home alone, but make sure se locks the doors.
    Do you see this as justifiable ?

    • Sorry to keep posting, but this has got under my skin.

      I think, along with many others that they shouldn’t have left there children. But what would we have asked for as a punishment? A slap on the wrists from the social services? Parenting course? Month in prison?
      Certainly not the punishment they have been dealt.
      Just because we condone their actions doesn’t mean we wish this on them.

      • Has got under my husbands skin too, He wants to add that if the mother was a young girl from a council estate all her other kids would have been taken of her as well x

  15. Sorry but I am sick to the teeth of hearing.”oh if they were from a council estate, unemployed, a single mother”..what does that have to do with anything?

    Yes they were very wrong in leaving their children, there is not a mother or father who will disagree on that one, but does that mean that people have to keep on bleating about that same fact for five years? Does that fact help to find Madeleine? Does that fact help the search or find the person who took her? The answer to all three questions is a resounding NO! So why do people keep repeating the same thing over and over again?
    I am quite sure that they live with what they did, leaving their kids, every single day of the five years since Madeleine has been gone and frankly saying it over and over again is not going to change what happened.

      • That’s absolutely fine, we all feel very strongly, and I know my post has hit a nerve with several. To be honest, I’m happy about that, if it continues to keep Madeleine’s name and image out there in the public eye. I am sorry though, if it has dredged up old fears in some people. As I said, I am very overprotective of my children after what happened to Madeleine, so I think the incident has taught many people a valuable lesson.

    • Can’t find the experiment I wanted but people do make judgement on peoples looks, economic status etc. This is just one psychological experiment, amoun many others over the years that highlight this. Your naive of you think people are predudiced against.

    • So why do they keep bleating on that theres no reason to think shes come to any harm for the same 5 years. ? Why dont they go back and do the reconstruction,? we all know they can jog peoples memories, why doesnt Kate go and answer the 48 questions she refused to answer? Wouldnt you do anything on this earth to help find your missing daughter?

      I know I would

      Why have they NEVER said dont do what we did, dont ever leave your babies alone.

    • The reason people keep saying what if they were from a council estate is because we feel that the McCans have got off lightly where the law is concerned and we feel the law and press would have been a lot harder on a couple from a council estate than they have been on two middle class doctors. Yes they are suffering badly because of what has happened and they are very sorry and would never do it again but had they not left their child alone she would not have been kidnapped and nobody says its ok to leave their children alone, or do they?

      Never mind the kidnapping which I agree was not very likely what if the children started playing with the electric plugs or appliances. What if they filled a bath and fell in it. What if they just woke up and were afraid?

  16. This is in reply to Mel…
    Statement made by Kate McCann on her guilt at leaving her children alone.

    In an interview with a Swedish magazine, Kate said: “At times we have felt so desperately guilty. As Madeleine’s parents we had failed to keep her safe and will always struggle to bear that guilt.

    “If the same thing had happened to another family we would have been amazed they had left their children alone. And we’re guilty! There are so many times we chide ourselves for doing that.”

  17. I have been following this case since day one and have been a member on a few forums over the years.
    My take on this is that we all have the right to our own opinions on what happened here. We might not all agree and thats ok, but when I read some of what is written about the McCanns on some groups/forums/pages , I am appalled to put it mildly!

    I know of a certain group of people who go around the internet, spreading the word as they call it about their version of what they “know” happened that night, and THAT IS SO WRONG imo.

    Who are we to tell anyone what to think or to try to change others opinions? I dont agree with any of what the people who have hatred for this couple say , apart from the fact that they should never have left their kids along, that I do agree with .
    Fgs a little girl is missing, she is completely innocent here yet all we hear is witness on a daily basis is her parents being torn to shreds by people who believe that their daughter was overdosed and died in that apartment. Some of the things that they come out with would make your hair stand on end.
    They also go on twitter and “promote” their groups on face book etc to lure others into their way of thinking, and do you know what , it works a lot of the time and that is just so sad for Madeleine and for her family.

    When all is said and done, Madeleine is still missing, through no fault of her own and all of this fighting and arguing and dictatorship by a certain element on the internet, is doing one thing and one thing only……..harming the search for this precious child.

    I do not doubt for one minute that her parents are heartbroken, knowing that their stupidity caused this to happen, but dont tell me that they dont have problems each night when they put their heads on their pillows, because I dont buy that. You would need to be a monster to be able to just go to bed and not lie there wondering!!!

    There is a massive change in Kate McCanns appearance, you only have to look at pics of her with Madeleine before the holiday and since, and yet it continues, this constant condemnation, but only by a certain few people.
    I read a comment only the other day which proved to me just how nasty these people are. The new photofit of Madeleine was published and there was a discussion within a certain group, where one women said that she had never thought Madeleine to be a particularly pretty child and that she resembled her Aunt Philomena, so it is probably better off that she is where she is rather than growing up looking like her Aunt!!!!!!!!!!
    That is not just shockingly disgusting and disgraceful it is goulish and so disrespectful to the little girl who is missing. Personally I think she is a beautiful child but even if she was not, what a terrible nasty thing to say and from someone who claims to be a supporter of Madeleine and a truth seeker.

    This is the kind of disgraceful comments made about this family 24/7 and it really is time for it to stop.

    • I couldn’t have said it better myself. Regardless of what any of us think is right or wrong, an innocent child was ripped away from what she knew and will have suffered immeasurably, no matter what her situation now. Finding her is the only thing that matters, and if the debate on here helps to raise her profile, my job is done. Thank you for commenting

  18. wow Actually Mummy you have provoked some response here! That is a very thought provoking and heartfelt post. Thanks so much for supporting our #blogging4madeleine campaign At the end of the day regardless of what was right or what was wrong the pure and simple fact remains that there is a lost / missing little girl out there that needs to be found and if spreading the word through our blogs helps keep the search alive then that’s what counts and hopefully this year is the year that answers and maddie is found x

    • Thank you for opening it out to other bloggers. I have felt like saying this for a while, and if people feel inspired to respond, whatever their veiw, that can only help keep the case high profile. Well done x

  19. Personally, I wouldn’t go further than my baby monitor will reach which for us is only half way down our garden or as far as the car parked out the front but having said that I’m far from a perfect parent in so many areas I’m not going to judge the McCanns for that. Even if they were stupid no one deserves to lose their child.

    Everyone will have their own views on what happened and my own opinion is that they haven’t been completely honest about that night and that Maddy has always been dead but I also acknowledge that I may be completely wrong and if there is even a small chance that she is still alive everyone has to keep searching for her as if she is because, regardless of what happened, that is what Maddy deserves.

    • We do hold totally different views on this Cat, but I appreciate you view and agree that if there is any glimmer of hope that we must hold on to that. Madeleine deserves to be looked for, as of course should all missing children.

      • Thanks Cat, I appreciate your honesty on this, and as I have reiterated, I’m not here to judge anyone for their opinion, just to remind people to focus on what is most important here – I think we’re all agreed on that over here.

  20. The furthest I’ve ever gone from The Boy was to peg the washing on the line in the garden, with a monitor which at the other end was attached to a sensor mat. The side gate has a lock on it, the front door was locked, I was ten foot from the backdoor. And that is the most I’ve ever done to leave my son alone. I can say ‘no’ to all the points you list above, but while I don’t agree with what the actions of the McCanns and I think it was reckless and foolish (and neglectful), I can’t condone the abuse they get. They don’t need any more punishing, they’ve lost their daughter and learnt a very expensive lesson. My heart goes out to them, regardless of my opinion of them.

  21. I think its very easy to cast judgement on other’s decisions. I don’t think a day goes by where they don’t replay what happened and feel immense guilt.

    I left my son alone with strangers for 76 nights. Ok he was in neonatal intensive care, but what if there had been a rogue nurse? A breach of security? Another parent had taken him?

    It sounds far fetched, but so does your daughter being taken from an apartment on holiday. It’s not something I ever would do, as the pain of being separated from my son in his first months was so acute I could never leave him alone – I’ve never had to do the risk assessment thing, because I just wouldn’t do it, where I go, he goes.

    I just think we should let go of the condemnation it achieves nothing and focus efforts on trying to find this little girl and all the forgotten lost children.

    • Thanks Kylie, it is experience that shapes you as a parent. It is no wonder you are loathe to let your child out of your sight given your history. I am the same, and for a while it was at the expense of my health. It is so hard to strike a balance that sees you behaving normally whilst ensuring the safety of your children

  22. You writing this post and opening yourself up to judgement is brave, and I applaud you. For me, I actually can very definitely give an emphatic no to all of your questions at the beginning. I can never and do never leave Dexter unsupervised for any length of time. I even check on him several times a night if he manages to sleep in his own bed. Maybe it is because I have seen so much coverage of cases like the McCanns BEFORE I had my baby. But I don’t think it is. I will be honest – I do judge them for leaving her alone. I don’t need to read the ins and outs of the case or hear any defense of it because in my mind, if they didn’t want the responsibility of looking after their child, they shouldn’t have had her. And they most certainly shouldn’t have taken her on holiday if they didn’t have someone to mind her at all times.

    I have been told that I border on obsessive about the safety of my son, and that is probably true. I fear the worst every second of every day. That’s what it is to be a parent. My other half quotes statistics at me constantly, but as you said, it doesn’t matter what the numbers are if you are the 1 in a billion.

    You can’t spend all of your time guarding against everything that COULD happen, but there are some basic things that should never be overlooked – and making sure you have childcare is one of them. In essence, and to put it very bluntly – I think Madeleine’s disappearance was her parents’ fault.

    BUT – that said, I don’t think they did it. I don’t think they were involved in her abduction at all. And I think they will spend their entire lives feeling like they let her down – they did! But I hope against hope that one day they get their little girl back. Because at the end of the day, they made a mistake. And it is not a mistake I could ever make, but it was a mistake nonetheless.

    The mistakes that *I* make will be the ones that see me move too quickly and knock Dexter over, where he hits his head and gushes blood. God forbid I make a mistake driving and get into an accident with serious repercussions. Any number of things can happen. But you do your best never to let them. My problem with the whole situation is that the McCann’s did NOT do their best.

    • Thanks Katie. I am similar to you nowadays, but before this case I thought it was what most parents did, because I knew many who had. You make a great point, that the best you can do is never let your kids down. I recall Gerry McCann saying exactly that “We let her down”

      • Mummy, I think leaving children alone is what a lot of parents did but I am not sure it was most parents. When my children were very young and we were on holiday we took them with is in trollys for a meal or to the entertainment and then we went back to the room and had an early night with our children. When they were a bit older and they had freedom to roam around the pool, hotel or beech there was ALWAYS one of us watching them at all times without exception. If we could do it so can any parents.

        It is no defence to say most parents were doing it even if that is true

  23. Before we had children we went for dinner with some friends in the hotel they were staying in. Their baby was asleep in their room upstairs and they had the monitor with them. We thought this was an amazing idea and when we had our first baby we bought the same monitor thinking we would be able to do this! Then Madeline went missing and our minds completely changed and we never did this in the end. It is dreadfully sad and I’m sure her parents regret every day leaving her like that. I’m sure they must have felt like it was really safe and they have been punished in the worst possible way. Hopefully they will soon get some more light on what happened to her.

    • Louise, this was exactly my experience, and hence why I feel so strongly about it. It’s so hard to get it right, and you are always judged as a parent. I just wish the judgement would stop now, and all that wasted energy put into finding out what really happened to that beautiful little girl. Thanks for commenting

      • My posts on here are the first I have made on this subject anywhere. I am sure there has been a lot of judgement on the net and else where about the McCans, That seems fair enough to me we are all entitled to an opinion. Passing the opinion that they are were wrong to leave their children alone and why seems fair enough to me as well.

        Posting hatred is not right.

  24. I think it depends on the situation, but I would never ever leave my Mads alone- yes to nip to the garden to hang out some washing with the door locked, yes to sitting out in the garden in the evening (fine chance in the UK and she is attached to a sensor mat) but I wouldn’t ever do what the McCanns did and leave her alone in a foreign place, while sitting far away. Never. However as parents we all do make mistakes- I know it is incomprehensible to leaving a child alone but the other day I turned my back on Mads to talk to a friend and she fell and banged her head on a metal climbing frame. That mistake haunts me and I won’t ever do it again.

    The McCanns don’t have that luxury. They made one (albeit massive) mistake that they will have to live with day in day out for the rest of their lives. Their whole lives from now on will be scrutinised and their actions will haunt them forever. We are all quick to judge them, or not judge them, but the fact is they let their little girl down. And of course they know that and for that you have to feel incredible sorry for them. They don’t need the world reminding them every five seconds either.

    The fact that remains is that someone out there knows what happened to that little girl. And as the years go by, the hope of finding her, alive or otherwise, gets more unlikely. I as a parent, cannot feasibly imagine what they go through day in and day out, for that, regardless of what they did, they need public support.

    People shouldn’t rest until Madeleine, and other missing children, are found. At the end of the day, a little girl is missing the right to live her life with her family. That is beyond sad. Hindsight is a powerful thing, and for the rest of their lives the McCanns will be saying ‘What If…’

  25. I don’t really want to pass any judgement about this story as I always feel that we will ever only know so much about what really happened, what they did, didn’t do and all that. I enjoyed the post though and many of the comments did really make me think about the safety of my daughter, so for that, I really do thank you x

  26. I don’t think anyone Is able to judge, i can’t even imagine what the parents must be going through, how have they not gone mental, what goes through their heads every day? Just so so scary. We went to Morroco a few weeks after she was taken and we took with us the numbers for crime watch, the UK contact centre for Madeline and wondered what the hell we would do if we actually saw her. At the time it was all over the news she had been sighted there. Obviously nothing came of it but it was such a tragedy and we, like everyone else just wanted to help. I really hope they do find her one day soon.

  27. I’m not going to judge or cast aspersions on either you or the McCanns and I hope with all my hearth that Madeline is found one day, safe and well. I’ve often said that if she has been abducted, I hope it was by a loving couple who were at the extreme end of desperation at being unable to bear a child. Wouldn’t that be a best-case scenario, in such a hideous and unthinkable situation?

    Oh, and just for the record, I must be extremely paranoid because I can genuinely say that I’ve never, ever done any of the things in your list. At all.

    • Jayne, I think there are lots of people that haven’t so you’re not paranoid. But there are lots of people that have – and worse – withough thinking about what could happen. I think the McCann’s case has taught a lesson to many parents, not just them.

  28. You put it all so well. Even if you do happen to judge them badly for what happened – I don’t – is what happened as a result the punishment that you would mete out to them and their missing daughter?

    Ultimately, this isn’t about Kate and Gerry. This is about Madeleine. I don’t care if it is the longest shot ever, if this campaign does something to help find Madeleine and find out what happened to her, I will stay involved.

  29. My safety parameters have generally been ‘ if I found myself being written about in the gutter press, could I defend my decision’. I’m very, overly, paranoid about safety but I try to work on balance of probability and reasonable risk these days. I have felt so much for them over the years; bad call, devastating consequences.

    Thing is, despite my extreme paranoia about stranger danger, it didn’t stop my child dying in a hospital and I’ll never really know if that was my ‘reasonable choice’ decisions that meant that happened. Even though they made a choice that most people disagree with, I bet millions of people have done the same and it’s been fine. Whatever their mistake was, someone took advantage. That’s the real villain. Not them.

    We all make choices all the time; bike riding with or without helmets, birth at home or hospital, vaccination, who we trust, what car we buy, when we leave kids home alone, when they walk home from school alone. Any of those can rebound on us at any time. Their choice is hard to defend but my god they’ve paid for it.

  30. A very insightful post Actually mummy.

    I don’t really understand why people complain about the McCanns or spend so much time being such haters, or complaining that they’ve shown such determination to find Maddie again (that is no judgement on other parents who haven’t received as much media attention). Whatever their mistakes, the hell of loss must be excruciating for them. All attention should be on trying to find Maddie and that is all that counts.

    But I do know the psychology behind such behaviour. Basically, when we judge someone that harshly it’s because we have either done the same sort of thing, or are scared that we would. Maybe not exactly the same, but in some way. So we might not leave our kids, but perhaps we don’t live in the safest place environmentally, or we don’t feed our kids totally healthily and they get sick, or we can’t move and get them to the safest schools. Maybe we have all been affected by doing what our mates thought was alright with their kids and only afterwards realised that it wasn’t the wisest move? Maybe it wasn’t our children who we left vulnerable, but someone or something else that we should have been protecting?

    There is no way that we can protect our children 100% or be perfect parents. We can try, but we will fail, and those failures will cause them hurt or pain. But most of us will be lucky that it’s not serious.

    I do think that the McCanns were naive, and probably too focussed on their social fun on holiday. They sound like the kind of family that lived a pretty shielded kind of life. I on the other hand have not been so shielded, and I’d even be nervous of using a baby sitter. But they didn’t have the experiences or worked in therapy with the clients I’ve had, so how were they to know? I don’t know. I wouldn’t have done it, but I’m by no means perfect.

    Many parents are aware of their failings, and I feel that’s the safest way to be, because that way you can adjust. It’s not about being complacent about our mistakes. It’s about being honest and saying ‘do you know what, I’ve done xyz, I got away with it, and I’m not going to do it again’.

    It’s the parents who believe that they would NEVER do something that could put their child in danger who are fooling themselves. There are sooooo many things that can hurt or scar our children in some way that it’s impossible to avoid. I try to not think about it sometimes because it would have me a freaking mess.

    I desperately hope that one day Maddie is found.

    • Thank you Mummy Whisperer. That’s really interesting, and partly what I was alluding to in the post – that most of us, if we take a long hard look at ourselves, have made mistakes. People are too quick to jump on the McCanns with recrimination, when it is not what Madeleine needs.

    • But thats the point some parents can say that they would NEVER do something that would put their child in danger so when they see others do just that or people who say we are fooling ourselves then it gets our backs up.

  31. You have a fabulous debate going here and I don’t feel I can add anything to it, but I would also say the majority of parents are guilty of your above points – it’s called real life. I think so many people feel they have a right to judge because this case was so highly publicised, and still is. Maybe the McCanns don’t know what happened to their daughter, but everyone else in the world doesn’t know either and all we can do is hope and pray she is found one day and returned to her family, should that be what’s best for her.

    CJ x

    • Jigsaw and all others… THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE… READ THIS SLOWLY AND LOUDLY… WE AS PARENTS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT CAN PROTECT OUR CHILDREN AND if you aren’t up for the challenge you shouldn’t have had children… I don’t care how tired you may be or wanting to go out and do whatever, but the thought to leave my children home alone vacation or not is not the issue, one alone period, with no protection, is something that wouldn’t even cross our minds as parents, nor anyone I know of. I can only sadly assume its a complete lack of intelligence and/or education… Or mental disability for someone to do this…
      I have gotten past the point with the parents making the mistake and looks onlone and on tv news for some promising news about this little girl… but after reading tis article and its taking leaving the kids at one alone topic as being so common and oh it just happens type attitude is irresponsible and awful for all of your children!! Pray for Madeleine and I have such hope and a strong feeling to she’ll be found with all of this new and more in depth effort.

      • Tara, if you read the post and comments you will see that no-one is endorsing leaving the children alone. The point of the original post was that even if they had been in the house, this still could have happened. The fault lies with whoever it is who took her from that room.

    • There are lots of different real lives in the world from the poorest person in Africa to that of Bill Gates and everything inbetween.

      Your real life may mean you do most of the things on the above list, if so you are welcome to your real life and I will stick with mine.

  32. So what country did this child police protection officer come from? Anyway I have a very strong feeling that young innocent Madeleine McCann, is alive. Just do what ever you can to keep her image out there in the public eye, thank you. GOD PROTECT YOU MADELEINE WHERE EVER YOU MIGHT BE?

  33. MADELEINE McCANNIS A REAL, LIVING, FINDABLE CHILD, take a look at the cases of Natascha Kampusch, Jaycee Duggard, Shawn Hornbeck, they too were found alive, so Madeleine McCann can be found alive, this is the true focus, I urge everyone to keep this on your minds, thank you.

    • You are absolutely correct Madeleine McCann is “findable”. I have the strongest feeling that young innocent Madeleine is alive. I cannot say anymore than that. It is kind of “TOP SECRET”. Ever heard of “ICE”?-Most excellent people! GOD Protect you Madeleine-where ever you might be? Thank you.

  34. MADELEINE McCANN IS A REAL, LIVING, FINDABLE CHILD, take a look at the cases of Natascha Kampusch, Jaycee Duggard, Shawn Hornbeck, they too were found alive, so can Madeleine McCann be found alive, this is the true focus, I urge everyone to keep this in your minds, thank you.

  35. I have read the comments on this site with interest. Poor Madeleine disappearing was so highly publicized that almost everyone has got or had an opinion as to what happened on that tragic night. I am a Mother to four children, 9, 13, and 3 (soon to be 4) twin daughters. Going back six years I was shocked and horrified and this month being the 6 year anniverasary, and with me having daughters the same age as Madeleine when she disappeared, has kind of hit me hard. I cannot imagine for a second the living nightmare of losing a child in these circumstances and the not knowing. I agree, as parents none of us are perfect. But the checklist above asking such things as ‘have you ever been in the house with the door unlocked?’ cannot compare to making the conscious decision to leave 3 children under the age of 3 alone whilst the parents go out wining and dining. The Mccann Doctors are obviously intelligent people, on very good salaries. I just don’t think there is ANY excuse for what they did. When you have kids and want a night out you have a sitter, either someone you hire, a friend/family member or you stay in! Without sounding too judgemental, I would expect that more so from a crowd of holiday makers who would be more at home on the Jeremy Kyle show! No, I would never leave my children to go out socially and if that had happened in this country you would expect the parents to have an investigation by Social Services. Im very safety aware, always have been because I know I wouldn’t be able to live with ‘if only’. I have always said, where children are concerned, there are no second chances. The Mccanns made a fatal error in judgement and they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. I am not pointing the finger as Im sure they suffer daily but our children look to us for their basic needs and it is our duty to make sure these are met. This includes being kept safe. If the mccans had been in the apartment with the children as they should have been, I don’t think Madeleine would be missing now. The abductor was an opportunist and he had plenty of those! I hope with all my heart that Madeleine is alive and well and was stolen to order for a wealthy couple who couldn’t have children. That way at least she would be well cared for as opposed to other scenarios that are too dreadful to think about.

    • Thank you for your comment. It’s interesting, when you take away the holiday situation, and imagine leaving your child alone in your home, no, I could never have done that, and bet they never did either. But so many people do that on holiday, with baby listening services and such, that are no protection at all in my opinion. I wonder what makes people behave so differently on holiday. I do think it was entirely possible that she could have been taken even if they were at the appartment, for example on their terrace, such things have happened before. The abductor’s incentive and opportunity may have been reduced, but my point is that terrible things happen even though you think you have taken adequate safety measures.

  36. Going in to the garden whilst your child is in the house asleep is a lot different to leaving that child in a hotel room in while you go to a restaurant. But what I wanted to write about is the friend of the McCann’s, Dr. Katherine Gaspar. She shared their table on that terrible evening in Portugal, and she gave the police a sworn statement that this is what she heard Gerry and his friend saying about Madeleine, ‘does she do this?’ asked the friend David(he was licking his lips and playing with his nipples).
    ‘Yes,’ replied Gerry, ‘she is very good with her mouth’. Dr. Gaspar said that she was so shocked by what she heard, that she looked at everyone else at the table, but there was just silence for a moment, then they all carried on talking, as if nothing had happened.
    Please don’t shoot the messenger; I am simply repeating what is a witness statement given to the portugese police. Dr. Gaspar said that she feared for the safety of her own children after she heard this conversation.

    • Ok so the point you make claims that the McCanns were involved in the disappearance of their daughter. That is a totally different issue to the one I lay out here. Which is that leaving a child alone in that appartment was no different to being at the bottom end of a large garden in your house, and yet people do it. I would never feel comfortable with it now, but I would have done before.

  37. Hi Actually Mummy
    I only just stumbled across this.
    You know that they left the french doors unlocked right? So I don’t think you can compare yourself to them. I don’t think you would have done that.
    Also, the walk from the apartment to the restaurant/bar was MUCH longer than a walk down to a garden – it’s been proven I think by Sky TV where a reporter filmed himself doing the walk.
    You’re very brave writing about this subject as there are extremely strong views on both sides.
    I know what I think about the sad events, but won’t set myself up for a fall by writing it here.
    Liska xx

    • I don’t know about the french doors, but in any case they were visible from the pool where they were seated, and the abductor entered the property by pushing up the (mechanically) closed window shutter at the rear of the building. And I too have made that walk and can tell you it takes less than a minute, and they could see the front of their appartment from the bar. I wouldn’t have done it, but they did something they thought was safe, and I can tell you I know lots of people who have done similar.

      • Thanks so much for replying.

        There’s no proof that there was an abductor. There’s also no proof that if there was, that they entered via a window.

        There is proof that the french doors were left unlocked. Even though it is a short walk it is not the equivalent of anybody’s garden.

        Liska xx

      • They may have only been a minute away but what about the time between the visits to check on the children? Correct me if I am wrong but did they say they checked every 30 minutes? The minute walk to the apartment becomes irrelevant as they are 31 minutes away and with the best will in the world I would bet they time between checks grew longer and longer as they became confident where they were staying was safe.

        Personally I think whoever took Maddy had picked her out days earlier and watched the parents routine. He probably entered the property seconds after one of the parents visits to make sure the children were OK knowing they had at least half an hour to make their escape.

  38. I am shocked at how any parent can leave there children alone while they go out get drunk and party that is neglect, and they are paying the price for there neglect by knowing that they should have been there for madeline, but madeline has paid the price for there selfish neglect far more than they, i have two daughters one aged 2 the other aged 4, my life stopped when i had my children because my life became my childrens, they are dependant on us parents to keep them safe, in every area of life, when a child cannot protect themselves it is our job our right as parents to give them that protection, i put my life on hold to care for my girls and yes it is exhausting, and hard work, and i feel like i am trapped sometimes but i do not even go out and leave them with a relative or babysitter they are more at risk in these situations as we all know and most choose not to believe, well i believe, and do not put my girls at any risk that may hurt them or i may regret, most cases i have read of missing children is where the parents have left the child alone well that sais it all really do not leave your kids alone, you get your life back when they are older, and they say thankyou mum for looking after me, i cannot believe that anyone would leave there children in a hotel room and go out for dinner in a foreign country, it is not allowed in this country, why would you want to, it is way far beyond my belief and such intelligent people to, i get so angry when people focus on the parents and how they are feeling for there actions, is this not the same as “they were probably responsible for her abduction or death” they left her alone so therefor they were responsible for what happened to her, and they were responsible and they know it you can see the visible pain in there faces they are paying the price for there neglect, my children are well cared for happy and bright, that beats a dinner at a bar with friends.

    • 99.98% of what you have written/typed is true. However the very sad fact of the matter is Madeleine McCann is still missing. (Personally I have a very strong feeling that Madeleine McCann is alive and it would not be any surprise at all to me, to find out that she wasn’t taken away from Portugal’s Algarve region). We will see what we will see. Just one other observation your tone does seem slightly self righteous. We are all human beings we are completely different in personality to one another and sadly people do-do some very stupid things in their lives. Try focusing on Madeleine McCann’s ongoing plight, thank you.

      • Agreed, they did a very wrong thing, and they are paying the price, but the people making an effort to make them feel worse are wasting valuable energy that could be better put towards finding Madeleine.
        In addition, as children grow older, Marie, you will find that it isn’t possible, practical, or healthy for them to be with you 24/7. Children do need freedom to learn how to manage their own lives eventually. As parents we face agonising decisions when the time comes to let our children off the leash a little, but it is the right thing to do for their own sanity. I hope you can find a way to cope with that when the time comes for you and yours.

        • Simply – there are many nasty people in this world and sadly nothing will change that. However, trolling is or could be seen as a criminal offence.

      • I don’t think Marie sounded self righteous at all she sounded proud of all the hard work she put into bringing up her children. Like Marie I put my life on hold to bring up my children. If I was not prepared to do that I would not have had any children

    • The drinking point is a good one because after all how long does it take to eat a meal? 30 mins or an hour? I don’t know but I am guessing most of the time away was spent drinking not eating

  39. There is not a sane parent in the world that believes it’s okay to leave their three-year old and two two-year old twins alone in a hotel room. Zero.

    Kate and Gerry McCann belong in prison for negligence. They shouldn’t get away with a crime just because their daughter disappeared. That would be like a drunk driver who accidentally kills someone in a wreck, apologizing and saying that the guilt is punishment enough.

    These aren’t parents and even if Madeleine is eventually found soon, she should never have to see Kate or Gerry again.

    • This comment left by whoever:- There is not a sane parent in the world that believes it’s okay to leave their three-year old and two two-year old twins alone in a hotel room. Zero.

      Kate and Gerry McCann belong in prison for negligence. They shouldn’t get away with a crime just because their daughter disappeared. That would be like a drunk driver who accidentally kills someone in a wreck, apologizing and saying that the guilt is punishment enough.

      These aren’t parents and even if Madeleine is eventually found soon, she should never have to see Kate or Gerry again.
      I have forwarded this onto and the Sun News Paper. (Funny old world)!

  40. As far as I am aware, people leave children in hotel rooms all over the world – using baby monitoring systems. I certainly did it when my children were small.

    Mark Warner also used to have a baby listening service which was quite similar to what the McCann’s did that fateful evening. On one of their holidays we were one of scores of parents who used it. We all put our babies and children to sleep in unlocked rooms and then went downstairs to the hotel restaurant for dinner. A nanny patrolled the (many and long) corridors listening for crying. The nanny could not possibly be on every corridor at once and the hotel was quite large.

    There was very little ‘security’ at the hotel – people came and went the whole time (as in many hotels). It would have been quite easy for someone to come into the hotel and abduct a child – heck, they could probably have abducted the whole lot!

    I also left my children asleep in the car at petrol stations when I went to pay for petrol. I also put them to sleep in the house and then sat outside in the (large) garden. Anyone could have come into the house at the front in the summer when windows were open and have abducted them.

    I used to work as a teacher and was always amazed by the ease with which strangers could come and go in schools. Once one of my daughters was in hospital and again I was amazed by the ease with which people came and went unchallenged.

    You simply cannot watch your children 24/7 and settings that are supposedly ‘safe’ are not necessarily. Bu that is missing the point. This type of abduction is very rare. And it is a shame that parents feel they have to be so paranoid about safety. Meanwhile the real risks for children – road safety/accidents at home/unhealthy food and lack of exercise – are downplayed.

    You also have to consider that babysitters are not always reliable or honest. And there are predatory adults in other settings so children are not 100% safe anywhere. That is just a fact. Life comes with a risk.

    To the parental paragons of virtue – have you ever put your children in a car? You realize that that is probably ten times more dangerous than what the McCann’s did? Do you know how many children are killed and injured on roads? It happens every single day.

    I think what happened with Madeleine was one of those ‘one in a million’ things. A terrible freak event. It happened with the Bouger boy in the shopping mall – the mother turned her back for a second and he was gone.

    If Madeleine’s abduction had happened in the UK I think there would have been a far greater chance of possibly finding the abductors. Even if they had not found them, I believe they would have cleared up the mystery by now. The police in Portugal made a mess of things from the very beginning. As the days passed, it became less and less likely that they would find Madeleine. A corrupt police official tried to frame the parents, probably to deflect attention his own ineptitude.

    There is no evidence at all that the parents in any way wanted to cause harm to any of their children – quite the opposite. You can see they are loving parents. If there was evidence to the contrary, then how come their two other children are still with them? They are well cared for and happy.

    What the McCann’s have gone through is a form of abuse and torture. Who knows what Madeleine has gone through. The only other possibility in my mind to abduction is that she woke up and wondered off.

  41. Also, you have to bear in mind that the McCann’s probably considered the environment that they were in to be relatively ‘safe’ – a child-friendly resort hotel full of families. They would have been in holiday mode and relaxed. In those type of situations, one’s guard is down. I imagine this would have been something that a potential abductor would have banked on. And in any case, it could equally have happened when the parents were asleep in the apartment. Houses get burgled at night when people are sleeping – if a burglar can come in and steal possessions, what is to stop them from stealing a child? It’s very rare, but it can happen. And, tragically for the family, it happened to the McCanns. So horrible. I really hope this latest police investigation unravels the mystery of this awful disappearance.

    • Thank you for commenting. Praia da Luz does feel very safe – almost enclosed – that’s what we loved about as a family with a young child at the time. I do hope this new evidence brings some clarity to the situation for the McCanns.

    • IF you were going to kidnapp a child would you attempt it when the father and mother were asleep in bed or when they were out having a meal and a few drinks and the kids were alone?

  42. All of what is said is to some degree true. BUT you cant always compare the examples given above to purposely leaving children in an apartment and checking every half an hour.They had been warned the night before that two of them woke up crying. They could have fallen or got out of bed. Of course you have to leave your kids to sleep in bed at night and go downstairs but NO never ever would I have left my kids in a room 50 yards PLUS from me in a strange place . They did the wrong thing and are paying the price but to be honest all that matters is that we find out about that poor child. BTW I have done NONE of those things listed above with my 8 year old child EVER!!!

  43. actually, they should be judged, maybe not by the public but at least by some authority. they are both doctors – imagine one of their patients told them they went out for dinner and drinks and left their 3 children alone at home in a flat but its ok because they could see them from their table and they checked them every now and then? social services would have been contacted immediately so what makes it ok for two doctors to do it in another country? and no not everyone has done it. most of us feel guilty if we have to go to the back garden to hang out washing or take the bin out. it angers me that questions have not been asked by social services for their actions. we are not talking about sitting in your own back garden with the door open in your own country, in your own neighbourhood and community, we are talking about leaving 3 sleeping children alone at night in an apartment, a foreign country with surroundings completely unfamiliar to any of the children. neither of the parents have answered for any of this and most of the people whom I know have an opinion believe it is because of their class – middle class professionals with a nuclear family. I cant help but think that if it was mine at 28 with 3 under 4, unmarried and a part time farm worker I would not be spared the rod that they have been

  44. This article is absolute drivel.. You should also be ashamed for being so negligent with your children, someone please call child line on this woman. The thing about the madeline mccaan case that really annoys me is the only reason it’s being paid attention is because it’s a blond hair blue eyes little european girl. This has been going on for years, i bet any money if she had been a minority the media attention would be completely different. No sympathy for Madeline’s mother, it’s all your fault dear

  45. Couldn’t agree more – I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache of a child going missing. To also be blamed for it is more than I could take. They made a mistake, they are paying every day. But nothing bad would have happened, and they could not possibly have considered abduction. I hope the get some answers and find out what has happened o their little girl. I have nothing but sympathy for what they are going through.

  46. I just feel so sorry for that poor little girl who’s life was turned upside down that evening by the absolute irresponsibility of her parents.
    I would never ever leave my two beautiful babies of 3 and 5 alone in any hotel room whether it be home or abroad, supervised (by a nanny or child minder who I have never met in my life before patrolling long corridors listening out for noise) non-supervised, or by using child monitors.

    I think there is a big difference in some of the situations you put forward mummy to what the mccanns did which was to leave their 3 children alone in a hotel room 50m away from them, whilst they were eating and drinking.

  47. oh and by the way that hotel room had two access points, and one of them the mccanns and their friends couldn’t see, and I might add that the surrounding area wasn’t privately owned by the mccanns or any of there friends,it was a hotel complex that it used by members of the public, and anybody that wishes to have a nose.

  48. I find it hard to comment on this case. N0-one knows who committed a crime that night, maybe one day we will.
    As a Mum who is always on red alert 24/7 it’s hard to contemplate what might have happened. Would I leave billion dollar crown jewels in a room unguarded? My children are worth infinitely more. But no, that is perhaps not the point here. A little girl dissappeared and she deserves the correct investigation and the correct justice, whoever is culpable.

    • I know its sad but……………… I think she has had more than her fair share of investigation and publicity. It is tme to realise this girl is ot turning up anytime soon. Maybe as an adult she will remember what happened and make herself known. In the meantime there is nothing t be gained continuing an investigation

        • Millions have been spent on this girl most lost children dont have anything like that amount of money sent on them. She has had her share of justice. Thre is no point looking forever. Justice might be served by examing the parents actions now

        • A child is reported missing every three minutes in the UK, how many of those children have had the coverage Maddy has had or the money spent on them?

  49. Just realised I commented on this over 15 months ago. So sad they still haven’t found her. I really hope they do with these new recent leads and the naming of the suspect. Makes me so angry that they’ve waited till now to follow these leads. But maybe, this time it’ll bring some results.

  50. I’m sorry but most parents don’t do what they did. The examples you give aren’t the same thing either, yes your child is out of sight for the briefest time(not minimum half hour) but you are there and you can hear. They left 3 children unsupervised out of sight and of their hearing. Forget abductors – what about falls, knives, plugs etc? I wouldn’t leave my child upstairs in a hotel with a broken monitor either.
    They don’t deserve what happened.
    But likewise they displayed bad parenting and it isn’t what most people do. You also wonder if having observed them doing this isn’t why they were the victims the abductor chose. Your number 1 job as a parent is to protect your child and you can’t do that if you leave them out of sight and down the road.

    • I would never think of leaving my children unsupervised overnight at such a young age, either at home and especially on holiday. One of my thoughts would be that they could wake up in unfamiliar surroundings and could be distressed with that alone. They could fall and come to some harm, it seems simple things like this never entered their minds.

      I wouldn’t use a baby monitoring service and I would not leave my children with total strangers as babysitters either. When I’ve wanted a child free holiday, I try and find someone I know to to look after them and go away without them.

      They took a very big risk and didn’t seem to think there was any danger. Kate McCann said on the morning of the day Madeleine was kidnapped, she said that she and brother Shaun woke up and were crying but Mummy (Kate) never came to them. Surely that alone should have been enough for her not to leave the children alone? I would always want to be there if my toddler woke up in the middle of the night….but it appears her thoughts were on their own enjoyment, never mind that the kids woke up crying with no parents in sight.

      This is such a sad situation, which could have been avoided. They totally lowered their guard and it resulted in devastating consequences. I’ve heard that this practice, using baby monitoring systems in hotels is common place. I just couldn’t do it, even when dining in the hotel restaurant.

      Even if she’s found alive now, so much damage will have been done. Things can ever been the same again for the family. Cases like Jaycee Lee Dugard and Shawn Hornbeck are examples.

      I do feel they would gain more sympathy if the McCanns openly came out and said they made a very big mistake in neglecting their children while they went out. I’m just not sure they view it as neglect though.

    • I agree it is not what most people do. It is hard to put a figure on how many people leave their kids in their rooms whilst they go out drinking and eating. I have given it some serious thought. I bet not even 5% of people do it. I didn’t and I never even considered that my children would be kidnapped.

  51. While I do feel terrible for the parents, they acted very irresponsibly. Why not hire a sitter? Or leave the kids with the grandparents back at home? I would never, ever leave my children in a hotel room alone. I am also a bit paranoid – I always try make sure my doors are locked. I have the video monitor with me if I am in a spot of the house where I can’t see the front door. And I never leave my kids in the car unless I am with them. I am very careful about having an eye on my kids in public.

    While none of this guarantees my kids’ safety, I hope it at least would make it more difficult for someone to harm them.

    That said, of course this could happen to anyone. But making a habit of leaving your kids alone makes it easier for your kids to be targeted. Many member of the hotel staff knew this family dined nightly sans kids. While they are victims here as well, the parents made it that much easier for their kids to be in harms way.

    That poor little baby. I hope she is ok, and found. I feel terrible for the parents. But I do think they were irresponsible.

    • Just to be clear – I am by no means a perfect parent. And the parents do have my sympathy. But they also have my anger – this was a preventable tragedy.

    • That’s a very balanced response thank you. For what it’s worth, I agree with you that they made themselves an easy target. But I wanted to point out that everyone has vulnerable moments when they have not prepared for the unthinkable. Simply because it is unthinkable so it doesn’t cross your mind that it could happen. Because it shouldn’t.

  52. Helen, you made a statement earlier as if it was fact and it is NOT. You said the abductor opened the window and took Madeleine.

    There has never been any evidence to suggest there was an abductor and none that the window shutter was forced or even opened from the outside.

    The police files (all the evidence) were made publicly available when the case was shelved and you can read each and every one of them. This includes every contradictory statement of the McCanns and their friends as well as every police report on the non-jemmied windows and the absence of even the slightest evidence at all confirming the existence of an abductor.

    What you fail to point out (you’re not alone, the entire mainstream UK media has been gagged for years on this) is that the only source for the abduction story is the McCanns themselves.

    That’s ok. If she had been abducted, the McCanns would be right thinking it. But find the supporting evidence that backs up that claim. You’ll struggle – there is none. Not a single one of the ‘pro-McCann’ supporters on or offline can provide any, no matter how many times they are asked.

    The McCanns claimed the window had been ‘jemmied’ open (they made sure they told all their UK relatives to feed this to the press in the middle of the night) – and then the police AND the resort owner examined the window and found no evidence of tampering. This then prompted the McCanns to begin a series of story changes to accommodate this inconvenient evidence. This adjustment went on non-stop through the critical first few months while they were in serious risk of being kept in Portugal – and none of the inconsistencies have ever been explained or challenged since.

    If you think there is evidence to support the McCanns abduction story, then please cite it here, in front of your readers and I will apologise. Go to the case files and find that evidence and present it here.

    I don’t mean to be unkind but you will fail – because there was and still IS no evidence that MM was abducted. There is, however, stronger evidence that indicates she came to harm in the apartment.

    You might like to take the McCann’s line and rubbish the findings of blood and cadaver dogs (right in 100% of cases they’ve helped to solve) but side by side on the scales it STILL looks like this: independent evidence for abduction = none. Independent evidence for a death in the apartment from which a child went missing = some.

    The only reason you can have written your heartfelt (and well-meant) post is because you, like millions of others (understandably) have not read the evidence in the files and as such, have formed an opinion only from what the McCanns and the media (which their lawyers Carter-Ruck have policed) tell you.

    I hope you will read some of the evidence and see that even if you cannot say what happened to MM back in May 2007 you certainly CAN say what didn’t happen to her – and top of that list I’m afraid is ‘abduction by a stranger’.

    Sorry if this reply offends – it’s important.

  53. Would you leave your passports, credit cards, cash and jewellery laid out on the bed, then go out for the evening for a meal without locking any doors?
    No? Thought not.
    Nor would many of the people who say they have left their children alone. When it comes to money etc. I bet you can’t make the statement that ‘we have all done it’ either.

  54. Three words for you to start this response, ”Dogs don’t lie’. Compare that to the ever changing lies and nonsense that have come out of both the McCanns mouths and weigh up the REAL evidence rather than ypthe constant spin that their PR man feeds the media, not a difficult thing to do when asked whast he did for a living the response was ‘To shape what comes out in the media’! Lies upon lies upon lies, they know EXACTLY what happened to Madeline and I hope they are haunted for the rest of their lives for the neglect at the very minimum. I believe she died that night, maybe not at their hands but a tragic accident which in my book when you leave 3 children alone, the oldest being three/four really equates to the same thing. Bit strange too that the company”Control Risks” were there in Portugal from Day 1, checking the parents cameras etc, very dodgy. I don’t personally give a flying fig about them my only hope is that poor little girl gets justice and judging by the lack of conscience of her parents and the weight they have in their corner controlling every aspect of a case even down to influencing the way another country’s police force works sadly she’ll never get it.

  55. Typical, ignorant, bias and emotional opinion based on zero research done into this case. The presumption that the child was abducted is testament to this ignorance and someone who gets their ‘evidence’ from the tabloids who print what’s given to them by McCann PR spin.

    And just to expand on your “how many times have you left your child out of sight” silliness that’s supposed to somehow compare to what the McCanns did. This is what they did: Madeleine and her 2 year old twin siblings were left alone for 6 nights in a row, in an unlocked apartment, in a foreign country. Even after Madeleine asked her parents where they were one of those nights when she cried for them, they still left her alone the next night.

    Now look how stupid your attempt at pro McCann propaganda looks. What the McCanns did is not normal parental behavior. Yes, every now and again children get left on their own, it’s not usually out of choice though. The McCanns made the decision to leave 3 toddlers alone on several consecutive nights. And no, they were not in their back garden they were 150 feet away out of earshot and with only partial sight of the apartment. Anything could have happened to those toddlers, even inbetween the supposed 30 min checks the McCanns say they did.

    What you have written is shameful and an absolute insult to Madeleine McCann who seems to get forgotten in all of this as the mainstream media spin is mainly about protecting the parents’ livelihoods.

  56. No I’m sorry but you aren’t comparing like with like here. Having a moment of panic when you realise you can’t see your child is not the same as leaving your child in an apartment.
    Going into the garden when your child is asleep in the bedroom is not the same as leaving your children in an apartment and going for a meal in a restaurant across the way. Particularly when you have two 1 year old twins.
    I think there is much we don’t know about what really happened on the night madeline disappeared, the media twists things and omits things and some facts may not be in the public domain.
    The McCanns will have to live with what happened but I’m sorry but leaving your children in those circumstances is inexcusable. I agree that judging will not help and I don’t wish to judge them but I flatly disagree that the every day circumstances you compare this to (hide and seek, supermarket) are comparable. They may not have been to blame for what happened but it was WRONG to leave the children so don’t try and justify that.
    Your time would be better spent on the campaign to find maddie, or what happened to her.

    • No, it’s not the same action, but it could easily have the same result, and I did make that clear in the post. The energy that is put into despising and denigrating them would be much better channeled in to helping to find her. Children have been taken whilst playing hide and seek, and in a large house, spending time in your garden while your child sleeps, could easily leave the same opportunity.

      • This is a spurious argument really Helen. Some people live in the middle of a field without neighbours whilst others live in highly populated built up areas. Some people live in tiny terraces with gardens the size of a postage stamp, and others live in more substantial houses with magnificent huge gardens.
        Regardless of where you live or the size of your garden a parent has a responsibiliy to ensure the safety of their children. All reasonable precautions should be made to ensure that if you have to leave the children unattended they are safe from harm….. some common reasons are;
        to go to the loo for instance, or to hang out the washing , or even to pop to the car at the end of the drive to get the shopping out of the boot, or maybe to grab a wine in the garden whilst the children nap)
        It is impossible to keep an eye children 24/7 as domestic life has to go on and as parents we have to fit these jobs in and around tending to the children.
        However a responsible parent makes necessary adaptations and takes certain precautions to ensure the children are as safe as is possible when left unattended. For instance safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs to ensure should a child wake in the nght and go awandering they dont trip and fall down the stairs. Window locks, another priority, for obvious reasons , and a myriad of other safety precautions that we all take to mitigate any possible danger.
        No normal thinking person leaves three young children unattended for half an hour at a time in a foreign country on a second floor flat with all the attendant dangers that so obviously exist.
        Comparing this to the occasions in which parents leave chlldren unattended in the domestic environment is simply asisine.
        I have three sons and holiday abroad every year. Never ever would I leave them in a room unattended whilst I went out on a boozing session. I do what most decent parents do…. take pushchairs , blankets , drinks and toys and enjoy the evening out with the kids, and when the kids tire, put them to sleep in the pushchairs.
        Im afraid there is no excusing their behaviour. They should have been prosecuted for neglect.

  57. I would never leave my son alone as I`m quite paranoid mother who always thinking of the worse scenario. OK my life maybe is not a fun but my child is safe if not to safe but I don`t judge this parents who paid horrible and ultimate price for the mistake they made. People forgetting that there where 8 couples, all with the small children who all left their children alone. Maybe in the beginning McCanns did not want to do it, maybe they felt uneasy and check more frequently in the first nights and then became too relaxed, witch is all human like. I`m sure nobody suffer more then them and judgment of a strangers is uglu and misplaced. I`m sure they would give their lives to find the child unharmed. That is why they still keep the case alive and taking the public scrutiny.

  58. Great balanced article. We to stayed in an apartment in this complex, Maddie went missing the day after we left. It was a big family holiday and i’d let my son (same age as Maddie) walk down the steps from our apartment to my parents apartment below, they had their door open but anything could have happened in hindsight. You just presume it won’t. Would I have gone to dinner away from the kids without a monitoring service definitely not but I think they paid the highest possible price and have probably regretted it every second since, we’ve all made decision that could have back fired.

    • Oh what an awful coincidence. Yes, exactly. You can never say that you’re completely safe when there are such awful people out there.


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