Madeleine McCann would have been 14 this Christmas. She went missing in Praia Da Luz, Portugal in 2007 when she was just 3 years old.
The most recent bit of news regarding Maddie was in relation to a Russian computer expert named Sergey Malinka who had previously been interviewed about her disappearance.
Mr Malinka was cleared of any involvement in the child’s disappearance and described the enquiry as flawed.
It was said that he had swapped texts with another suspect and looked like a man seen near the hotel at the time.
He’s claimed he was “forced” to make “false statements.” He said: “I was forced into false statements and accusations”
“I lost everything – job, friends and hope. I’m trying to rebuild my life from the wreckage.”
He also said: “I will no longer allow the lies of others to poison my future.”
This news must have come as a blow to the McCann’s as they face their 11th Christmas with their daughter.
Searches still continue across Europe to try and find out what happened to Maddie but are no closure to a resolution.
Mr Malinka has vowed to “reveal all” in a book he is releasing after he says he was pushed to the “edge of despair” by a bungled police operation.
Clarence Mitchell who speaks on behalf of the McCann’s has warned him: “Beware! If any defamatory claims are made Kate and Gerry’s lawyers will be assessing them, as they do with any book which has any potential defamation against their clients. Other than that they have no reason to respond.”
Someone close to the family added: “So why is he now writing a book and trying to heap more misery on Kate and Gerry especially at Christmas time? It beggars belief and causes more distress for Madeleine’s parents.”
This leads us on to a secret that Kate McCann has revealed about christmas in their home.
Writing in an emotional letter for the Telegraph newspaper, she revealed the family has a tradition of buying christmas stockings for their children which includes Madeleine who would now be 14.
She starts with: “The last Christmas I ever spent with my daughter, Madeleine, is a very vivid memory for me. She was three-years-old then and at nursery had just started to learn some Christmas carols. She also loved doing the accompaniment to Dean Martin’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I can still hear her singing it now. For her present that year we had bought Madeleine (and her younger brother and sister) a kitchen station which we wrapped with a bow and left for her to find when she came downstairs.”
She said: “The presents I buy for her usually have to jump out at me.
“She would be a teenager now so I always try and pick something that would be suitable and enjoyable for her no matter what age she is when she gets to open them.
“In my head I guess I just want everything for be right for her when she comes back home. The loft is filled with the presents I have bought for Madeleine and her wardrobe, too. Like many families of missing children we have kept her bedroom exactly the same as it was when she disappeared. The irony is I’m sure she wouldn’t want it like that anymore because it’s bright pink.”
She spoke about the fact her pink bedroom, that she loved as a toddler, may not be to Madeleine’s liking now she is older.
She said she just felt “numb” after Maddie went missing on the family holiday in Portugal and everything was “tinged with pain” as all the family faced their 11th Christmas without their daughter.
The heartfelt letter from Kate also praised the work of the Missing People charity team. She said they were “genuine, caring” people, who, since Maddie disappeared, have helped her and her family through the difficult years.
Since the disappearance of the 3 year old, there have been more than 8,000 potential sightings of the then 3 year old. But as mentioned previously, non have them had led to any solid evidence.
The Met Police Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, has recently said there are “significant investigative avenues” that are of “great interest” to both themselves and Portuguese police.
Metropolitan Police believe she was probably stolen by sex fiends or child traffickers in a burglary that went wrong.
So back to Mr Malinka and his tell all book. He has teamed up with a British Author called David S Jones. Surprisingly he’s the co-creator of the very popular children’s TV series Fireman Sam. Mr Malinkas book will be called “Collateral Damage” and will cover his ordeal. It’s due to be released some time next year.
Malinka, who was a former witness, told the Sunday Express: “I have been driven to the point of dejection, being involved in a web of lies, betrayals and threats.
“The deceits of others have driven me to the edge of despair, sometimes to the point of no return, but time heals even the deepest wounds.”
Sergey Malinka moved to Portugal with has dad who’s a carpenter and his mother who’s a cleaner in the year 2000. He runs a property company on the Algarve.
David Jones, who actually lives in Praia da Luz, has said he’s teamed up with Mr Malinka because “a lot of bad things happened to him and it was very wrong”
After originally being interviewed Mr Malinka was interviewed again in 2013 by British cops that were part of Operation Grange. He was never charged.
Operation Grange has been drastically reduced in numbers since its inception. At its peak there were 31 members of the team but that is now down to just 4.
They had recently been searching for the “woman in purple”, a lady who was key to their enquiry. The budget for Operation Grange was due to run out in September but the Home Office which funds the probe, agreed to pay another £154,000 to continue until March 2018.
So far it has cost £12 million to investigate the disappearance but no clues have been found.