The parents of Madeleine McCann have said they accept the 4-year-old may be dead.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry are realistic enough to know that there is a probability she is dead.

"They have not given up hope that she is still alive and is being looked after somewhere.

"But human nature is that you always fear the worst and they need to know what has happened."

Writing in his blog, Gerry McCann says: "Kate and I do NOT accept that Madeleine is 'probably' dead. We know it is a possibility, however the fact there is no evidence Madeleine has been seriously harmed gives us ongoing hope that she will be found alive."

Mitchell dismissed reports that a computer used by McCann had been seized by Portuguese police, saying officers would find nothing of interest on it.

The computer largely sat unused "gathering dust" in the corner of the family's apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, after being loaned to them by a local shop.

It was left behind when the couple returned home to Rothley, Leicestershire, in the UK.

The McCanns have been named formal suspects in Madeleine's disappearance from Praia da Luz on May 3.