Branson Starts Legal Fund for Maddy's Parents

Virgin chair donates $200K to couple's defense, seeks donors
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Sep 16, 2007 3:05 PM CDT
Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of missing toddler Madeleine, walk to mass at their local Catholic church, the Sacred Heart in Rothley, England, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007. The family of missing 4-year-old...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Colorful Virgin chair Richard Branson has donated $200,000 to help Maddy's parents plead their case. He had already contributed to a $2 million fund to help find their daughter,  Madeleine, who disappeared in Portugal on May 3. Branson stepped up his support when he heard that the couple was planning to sell their house to cover legal costs, CNN reports.

The Archbishop of York stood up for the McCanns, saying they "have been treated unjustly and inhumanely, because the evidence does not stack up at all." However, UK tests have found traces of Maddy's DNA in the trunk of their rental car - traces that Portuguese police have called inconclusive. Now, Branson is seeking more high-profile donors to clear their name.