Ipswich brother of hostage meets McCanns

MADELEINE McCann's parents have met with the Ipswich brother of Ken Bigley - the hostage murdered in Iraq - to discuss the trauma of having a relative kidnapped, it emerged today.

MADELEINE McCann's parents have met with the Ipswich brother of Ken Bigley - the hostage murdered in Iraq - to discuss the trauma of having a relative kidnapped, it emerged today.

Phil Bigley, who lives in north Ipswich, visited the couple in Portugal to offer his support, Madeleine's father Gerry wrote on the Find Madeleine website.

The visit comes as hopes are mounting of a long-awaited breakthrough in the hunt for the missing four-year-old.

Full results of DNA tests on blood specks found in the family's apartment are expected from a British forensic laboratory “imminently”.


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Portuguese detectives investigating the four-year-old's disappearance are understood to be poised to carry out a series of new searches in the Algarve as reports suggested the police inquiry had entered a “decisive phase”.

They are also looking again at claims a pensioner disturbed an intruder in her apartment directly above the McCanns' holiday flat two weeks before Madeleine vanished.

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The McCanns met Mr Bigley - whose brother Ken was beheaded in Iraq in 2004 with footage of the murder posted on the internet - in Portugal on Saturday afternoon.

On his blog on the Find Madeleine website, Mr McCann wrote: “This afternoon we had a British visitor who came to offer us a different type of support. He has been through an ordeal similar to ours involving one of his family.

“It was good to talk about our emotions, the pressures and different coping strategies that we use in an ongoing trauma, with someone who has experienced a tragic event like ours.”

It is now 110 days since Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was snatched from her bed in the village of Praia da Luz as her parents Kate and Gerry dined nearby with friends.

British detectives and sniffer dogs sent to Portugal to help with the inquiry discovered the blood stains in the McCanns' flat three weeks ago.

A spokeswoman for the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham, which is analysing samples taken from the apartment, said the tests were still “ongoing”.

Following Ken Bigley's disappearance his family appealed for information and help in securing his release. The family received messages of support from around Ipswich.

St Margaret's Primary School, where Phil Bigley's wife Sandra was a teacher, and St Margaret's Church, where the couple attended, were among those to issue their support.

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