In 2007, Madeleine was abducted a few days before her fourth birthday while on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry in Portugal.
Today, the editor of the Daily Star said that she was “deeply sorry” for the upset that her paper’s coverage of the case had caused the McCanns.
Dawn Neesom said that at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, the paper had been dependent on information coming from Portugal. She added that she had thought information supplied to the paper from the Portuguese police was “reliable”.
But she admitted that “mistakes” were made.
“It was a risk, and to this day I regret what happened in the McCann case, and all I can do is repeat the apology on page one for the hurt and distress we caused them,” she said.
Neesom was referring to the front-page apologies issued to the McCanns by her paper and the Daily Express in 2008.
After the McCanns won a libel settlement, the Express Newspapers Group paid £550,000 to the Find Madeleine Campaign.
However, Daily Express editor Hugh Whittow said the Press Complaints Commission’s (PCC) failure to intervene over the stories that were being run about the McCann case had been an issue.
“I feel that perhaps [the PCC] should have intervened. Everyone had too much leeway and the story carried on and on.
“I don’t blame the PCC, but in hindsight, they might have been able to intervene, and perhaps this will be reflected in the body that you set up.”