Kate McCann feels closer to missing Madeleine in Praia da Luz

KATE McCann said she felt closer to her missing daughter, Madeleine, after returning to Praia da Luz for the first time since she was named as a prime suspect by police investigating the little girl's disappearance.

Mrs McCann, who was cleared of any suspicion last year, travelled back to the Portuguese town with her husband Gerry after a court case they were planning to attend in the capital Lisbon this weekend was unexpectedly delayed.

Writing on the official Find Madeleine website, Mrs McCann said she had longed to return for two years for "personal and emotional reasons", but added: "Our pain feels much rawer here."

An update on the website yesterday read:

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"Early this morning we went to the lovely little church of Nossa Senhora da Luz. It was so quiet and peaceful – a real sanctuary. Although our pain feels much rawer here, it is comforting at the same time since we feel closer to Madeleine."

The libel trial of Portuguese policeman Goncalo Amaral, who published a book including claims that Madeleine was dead, was adjourned to 12 January after Mr Amaral's lawyer failed to turn up for health reasons, a court clerk said.

The McCanns told reporters outside court they were not disappointed by the delay because an injunction on further sale or publication of the book remained in place. "Freedom of speech should not include distortion of the truth, lies, fabrication and slander," Mrs McCann said.

Her husband Gerry McCann added: "The key thing is we're here to fight for our daughter, and if anyone steps over the lines then they should be prepared to defend what they say in court."

He said the book had "damaged" the search for Madeleine because it encouraged people to believe she was dead.

"If people read it and believe she is dead then they will not keep looking for her and may not come forward with information they may have," he said.

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