· Mother hints at offer of deal for her confession
Kate and Gerry McCann considered taking their children out to dinner with them on the night their daughter Madeleine went missing instead of leaving them alone in their Portuguese holiday apartment while they ate tapas nearby, they reveal in a documentary marking the anniversary of her disappearance.
In the two-hour programme, the couple say they talked about going to another restaurant, the Millennium, with the three-year-old and her brother and sister, but decided not to because it was a half-mile walk and they did not have a buggy.
Kate McCann also tells how she has "persecuted" herself for not questioning Madeleine more when the girl mentioned that morning that she had cried the night before in her parents' absence at the Mark Warner resort in Praia da Luz.
Madeleine, One Year On: Campaign For Change, which is on ITV1 at 8pm tonight, shows the McCanns at home in Rothley, Leicestershire, with twins Sean and Amelie, and follows them to Brussels and Washington as they campaign for an EU-wide alert system for missing children.
In extensive interviews Kate McCann's eyes frequently fill with tears as she recounts how she discovered Madeleine was not in her bed and imagines how she might look now, aged nearly five.
Gerry McCann describes their feelings on being made arguidos, or official suspects, in the case by Portuguese police as like being "in the middle of a horror movie" and speaks of still not knowing where Madeleine is as "purgatory".
Kate also hints openly for the first time at a deal reportedly offered to her by police if she admitted accidentally killing her daughter and staging an abduction, telling the programme she was not going to be "railroaded". She later attacks the Portuguese police and accuses them of deliberately leaking details of the investigation to smear the couple.
The couple are banned by Portuguese law from speaking openly about what happened inside the police station, but Kate McCann appears to address the issue of the reported deal, saying: "No, I'd have fought to the death, to be honest, at that point. There was no way I was going to be railroaded into something."
The programme's makers insist the couple had no editorial control. They were not paid, but a £10,000 donation was made to the Find Madeleine fund.
Much of the documentary is shot in the family home, where they are seen returning to everyday life: playing with the twins, preparing meals and hanging up washing. In one scene the couple are shown opening piles of letters, which are divided into labelled boxes. One reads "nutty", another "nasty". There is also a section for "well-wishers" and a receptacle for "psychics, visions, dreams".
Kate McCann estimates that 1% of their post is hate mail, as her husband reads out a Christmas card accusing the couple of being "thieving bastards". "Your brat is dead because of your drunken arrogance," says the writer. "Shame on you. I curse you and your family to suffer forever. Cursed Christmas ... You are scum."
"That's quite nice," Gerry McCann remarks. "Very charming."
Speaking about May 3 last year, the night Madeleine went missing, he says: "The worst thing is we kind of almost thought about not going."
His wife adds: "In fact we were all going to go up to the Millennium again that was with the kids, which is what we did the first night. It was just because the walk was so long and we didn't have a buggy and the kids were tired by that time."
Another problem was that the restaurant did not open until half an hour before the children's 7pm bedtime. With no buggy, they were forced to carry the children home between the two of them on their previous visit.
The McCanns and the seven friends they were on holiday with say they had a system of half-hourly checks on their sleeping children while they dined at the tapas restaurant in the resort each night.
"I think if there'd been one second where someone had said 'Do you think it's going to be OK?' it wouldn't have happened," Kate McCann tells the cameras.
Her husband adds: "We have to live with the fact that we weren't directly there and if we were, then, you know, possibly, probably, it wouldn't have happened."
They believe a Europe-wide alert system, modelled on the US Amber Alert, which allows television broadcasts to be interrupted and notices to be flashed on motorway screens after a child is reported missing, might have found Madeleine.
They need at least 393 MEPs to support their proposal, at which point the European Commission would consider it.