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Home Office funds ‘for six months’ may signal end of MPS search for Madeleine McCann
04 Apr 2016

<b><i>Missing: Madeleine McCann</b></i>
Missing: Madeleine McCann
Police have been provided with enough funds to keep the investigation to try to unravel the mystery behind missing Madeleine McCann going for a further six months.

The Home Office has set a budget for this year of just under £95,000.

But this is expected to only cover the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) inquiry for the first half of the financial year — until the autumn.

The sum will just about pay for salaries of the four-person team working on the case but puts into serious question other vital incidentals such as flights to Portugal and expensive forensic work.

Come October, the MPS’ Operation Grange — led by Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall — looks set to go the way of Operation Midland, with a winding up of the five-year review and investigation.

Grange, which has had the unenviable task of trying to make a breakthrough with limited resources and following what has gone before, has cost close to £12 million.

A Home Office spokesperson confirmed to Police Professional that the provision of the £94,592 further funding “reflects the reduced scale of the investigation, which was announced by the force last year”.

The MPS has said it had no “immediate” plans to further cut the numbers of the team working on the case and insisted “there are still focused lines of investigation to be pursued”.

Soon Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, face the prospect of paying out again — this time for a new private investigation with a war chest raised largely through sales of Kate’s widely praised book, Madeleine: Our Daughter's
Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her
.

At the height of MPS inquiries more than 30 detectives and support staff were working on Operation Grange, based at Belgravia police station in central London.

With the ninth anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance next month, the McCanns remain convinced Madeleine, who would now be aged 12, could still be alive.

They had invested huge hopes in Operation Grange to end their nightmare and were relieved that the once well-financed formal police inquiry allowed them to halt their own private investigations.

After Grange was launched in May 2011 the doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, resumed relatively normal lives with heart expert Gerry working full time at Glenfield Hospital, near their home, and Kate concentrating her time on bringing up their twins, Sean and Amelie, now aged 11.

Recently Kate said: “The urge to look for Madeleine absolutely has not changed at all. We will never give up. I want an end, an answer — whatever it is.”

Last December the couple said of the operation: “Thankfully, the police investigation has made progress over the year. We are moving in the right direction and that’s the positive.”

The McCanns have employed several private agencies over the years but admitted that the hard-working small teams have limitations.

Their first investigators, who started work in October 2007, five months after Madeleine went missing from Praia da Luz on the Algarve on May 3, 2007, were the Spain-based agency Metodo 3.

They were dropped after the agency’s chief investigator insisted they would have Madeleine home by Christmas.

Next came US-based Oakley International, hired for six months in March 2008.

Retired UK officers Dave Edgar, a detective inspector with Cheshire Constabulary, and ex-Merseyside Police detective Arthur Cowley, were the third on board but their painstaking work was stopped a few months after Operation Grange got underway — having passed all relevant material over to the MPS.

Five years ago, before the start of Operation Grange, Madeline’s father Gerry McCann said: “It is a sad fact that not a single police force anywhere is proactively looking for Madeleine (as is the case for many other missing children).

“It is simply not acceptable that the authorities have given up on Madeleine —especially when no comprehensive review of the case has been undertaken.

“Our daughter, and whoever took her, are out there. We need your help to find them.”


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