The parents of Madeleine McCann have slammed a man who dressed up as their missing daughter for Halloween.
25-year-old Daniel Gearie from Dundee posted a photo of himself on Twitter wearing an Everton shirt and a blonde wig and immediately received a backlash on social media.
Next to the snap was a famous image of Madeleine wearing the same outfit who is still missing today and the caption ‘you’ve taken it too far Daniel’.
Gearie, who has since made his Twitter account private, also added:
And before you say ‘this is sick’ etc. I know it is but I’m not the one who left a child unattended in a Portuguese hotel.
In 2007 parents Kate and Gerry McCann left their three children, three-year-old Maddy and her two-year-old twin siblings, sleeping in their holiday apartment in Portugal while they ate dinner at a tapas bar 180 metres away. Maddy has not been seen since.
The investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance is still ongoing.
Going viral on Twitter, Daniel Gearie’s choice of outfit was criticised by thousands and now the McCanns have responded too.
A spokesman for the McCann family told MailOnline:
Kate and Gerry have never dignified this sort of offensive and cretinous behaviour with any sort of comment at all and they are not going to start now.
It is right the material has been deleted.
Kate and Gerry think he’s an idiot and at his age should know better. What he did was deeply offensive and cruel.
Gearie’s tweet was met with hundreds of replies tearing his Halloween outfit to shreds.
One person wrote:
Dressing up as a missing child for Halloween is lower than a snake’s belly.
Another user added:
What a depressing thing to wake up to. Whats [sic] wrong with some folk?
Trying to excuse yourself by having a cheap dig at parents. Super creep.
Gearie has now replied to the backlash by publishing a public apology on his Twitter account.
At the weekend I made the most incredibly stupid, vile and disgusting decision of my life.
I can honestly say that I am embarrassed and disgusted by my own behaviour and can only apologise for any offence that I caused anyone.
There’s no hiding from what I did, I have to hold my hands up and take responsibility for my own actions.
I am genuinely sorry for the hurt that I have caused to my family over the past few days and hope that one day they and anyone else that I hurt can forgive me.
For now though I have to reflect on who I currently am and how I can better myself as a person.
Hopefully Gearie has now learnt his lesson!
Gearie told the MailOnline:
I would like to unreservedly apologise for what I have done. There is no defending it. It was vile and disgusting and I am disgusted at myself.
My family are heartbroken. It was a sheer moment of stupidity.
I was going to a party with close friends and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I wanted to surprise them and provoke a reaction.
But I knew I’d gone too far and there was a lot of nervous laughter. Everyone knew it was far too close to the bone.
I put it on Twitter before anyone else did. And there is no defending what I wrote after – I should have kept away from my phone after a few drinks
All I can say is that I am completely embarrassed about what I did and I’m very sorry.’
I think he will choose a different outfit next year…
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.