McCann says daughter Madeleine became 'commodity'


The father of missing child Madeleine McCann said today his daughter became a profitable commodity for newspapers as they turned rumours about her disappearance into front-page news.

Gerry McCann told a British parliamentary committee investigating privacy and the press that he and his wife Kate found themselves at the centre of an international media storm when Madeline vanished shortly before her fourth birthday in May 2007.

He said an initially helpful relationship with the press turned into the "Gerry and Kate Show".

Journalists on assignment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, where Madeline disappeared from a holiday chalet, were under such pressure that "irrelevances, half-truths or suggestions" became page one news, he said.

"Madeline, I believe, was made a commodity, and profits were to be made," he said.

He said newspapers had resorted to fiction to keep the story going.

"I always believed that although there might be quite marked exaggeration to some front page headline stories, I never really believed that many of them could be quite absolutely blatantly made up.

"I believe that was the case with Madeleine."

Last year the Daily Expressand Daily Staragreed to pay the couple £550,000 in libel damages for suggesting they might have killed their daughter and covered up her death.