As a large sum was offered by the News of the World back then and they were offering the reward, I can’t be sure if the reward still stands today as there is no longer a News of the World paper.
But with rewards comes an added danger, some people will try to defraud the reward and waste Police time by saying they have information about the missing person. There are many pros for offering a reward but there are also many cons.
This was highlighted in the Madeleine case back in June 2007 when the BBC reported this:
An Italian man and a Portuguese woman are being interviewed by police investigating the disappearance of four-year-old Madeleine McCann.
Spanish police said the pair were arrested near Algeciras in the south of the country.
They are being questioned over allegations that they tried to defraud the McCanns by claiming a reward for information about their daughter.
There is no direct link with Madeleine’s kidnap, say police.
Madeleine had been missing just under two months when two people were arrested for trying to get their hands on this reward. At first the McCanns must have had their hopes raised that they could soon be reunited with Madeleine only to find out this was just a couple of con-artists who wanted to make a quick buck.
Kate says in her book the following:
Alex Woolfall told us that the News of the World, spearheading a group of other benefactors – including Bill Kenwright, the theatre impresario and chairman of Everton FC, businessmen Sir Richard Branson and Sir Philip Green and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling – was prepared to put up a reward ‘package’ totally £1.5 million. It would involve companies such as British Airways and Vodafone helping with publicity and awareness initiatives. They needed to know by the following day whether we would like them to proceed. This may sound like a no-brainer, but we had to be careful. We hadn’t the clue how such rewards worked. Would the police be involved? Who would coordinate any ransom negotiations? How would we actually get hold of all this money if necessary? And, most importantly, what were the potential pitfalls? Surely it could lead to fraudulent claims that might waste valuable time and resources. We had no idea, either, what implications this might have for Madeleine’s safety?
Under pressure to make a decision, we solicited advice from various quarters, which confirmed that this kind of thing could indeed be a bit of a double-edged sword. We felt that, on balance, the pros outweighed the cons, thanked all the participants and accepted the offer, as much because we did not want to turn down any corporate help as anything else. With the £100,000 from my GP colleague and a staggering £1 million added by Stephen Winyard – the owner of Stobo Castle spa in the Scottish Highlands and a man who had so far never even met us – the rewards promised now totalled £2.6 million.
So you see Kate McCann does NOT ignore the reward, but there again it is quite understandable the reasons why her and Gerry do not want to keep promoting the reward (if it is still valid now) simply because you don’t know what nutter may come forward with false information in hope of getting their hands on a few quid.
The News of the World it seemed were orchestrating and spearheading the reward and therefore it was down to the News of the World to advertise and have all the dealings with the reward.
And for those that keep bring up about Gerry’s vision, yes Kate does mention in her book and she states that it happened on the night which Kate thinks was the 8th May 2007, whilst they were praying at the Nossa Senhora da Luz. She states:
Gerry had an extraordinary spiritual experience. He suddenly became aware of a long tunnel with light at the far end of it. He felt himself enter the tunnel and, as he went deeper and deeper inside, it became wider and wider and brighter and brighter.
Kate then goes on to say what impact this ‘vision’ had on him and it was that spiritual experience that laid the roots for their organised campaign to find their daughter. She then goes on to tell how the very next day Gerry went on a mission, to start the campaign of finding his daughter and he started to phone people who could help, like the British Ambassador, the Foreign Secretary and begged for their help and pleaded with them to try to improve the way the investigation and search was being conducted by the Portuguese Police.
These people had a child missing and they were expected to make decisions there and then, whilst they were not thinking straight and whilst they were in a state of shock.
It is so easy to sit here, at the end of a computer, in a tranquil setting saying what you would and would not do. It is entirely something else when you are in a state of despair, your heart is breaking, your worst fears and images that no parent wants are in your mind and won’t move.
I could type here exactly what I would do, but whether I would do it, if ever I was in their shoes, is another matter entirely.