A man who faced a public backlash after posting images of himself wearing a 'Madeleine McCann' fancy dress costume on Twitter has responded to the criticism.
Daniel Gearie, 25, wore an Everton shirt and a blonde wig reminiscent of the girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007.
He said that he 'deserved the shit' he'd received and that it was "in poor taste to even think of the idea, let alone follow through with it."
In a public social media apology, he said: "At the weekend I made the most incredibly stupid, vile and disguisting 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."
The apology comes after he posted the image over the weekend with the caption: "You've taken it too far Daniel" and almost immediately received condemnation for his choice of costume.
One Twitter user wrote: "What a depressing thing to wake up to. Whats wrong with some folk? Trying to excuse yourself by having a cheap dig at parents. Super creep."
Another added: "So you think it's funny to post such a photo. Sick."
And one posted: "Don't understand why you did something knowing it would cause a reaction from some and now wanna apologise. Own it with your chest."
Credit: PA Images
According to research, the McCann family are targeted by 150 vile tweets from online trolls every day.
A spokesman for the McCanns 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."
Featured Image Credit: Twitter