Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann who disappeared in  Portugal when she was four in 2007, are suing former police chief Goncalo Amaral for a book which claimed the child had died in the couple’s holiday apartment, and that they invented the abduction claim to protect themselves.

Madeleine disappeared from a bedroom at a Portuguese holiday resort where her parents and friends were staying. Amaral was chief of the Portuguese regional Polícia Judiciária at the time and was responsible for the investigation.

maddy4Obvious mishandling of the investigation by the Portuguese police led to much criticism. The crime scene was not secured and became contaminated; Madeleine’s favourite toy cat was still on her bed but not taken for evidence and DNA testing; Border and maritime police were not given descriptions of her for many hours; the height of a suspect was misreported; and the police misrepresented the results of British DNA analyses and made it appear the McCanns had transported her body in the back of their car.

The errors perpetrated by the Portuguese police under Amaral, who were leaking stories to the press, were repeated in British newspapers.

The McCanns were cleared of the accusations but the trauma will never go away.

maddy2While investigations were continuing Amaral was charged with offences related to the 2004 disappearance of Joana Cipriano, an eight-year-old Portuguese girl who had gone missing from Figueira, a village seven miles from Praia da Luz. Her body was never found. The girl’s mother and the mother’s brother were convicted of murder after confessing during a police interview, although the mother retracted her confession two days later, saying she had been beaten by police. Amaral was not present when she was allegedly beaten, but was accused of having covered up for others.  He was found guilty in May 2009 for having falsified documents in the Joana Cipriano case, and received an 18-month suspended sentence.

maddy3With a cloud over his career following his arrest, Amaral was taken off the McCann case and fired from his post. He sought revenge by writing a book that claimed the McCanns were guilty. It was published in 2008. An injunction against publication and sale of the book followed in 2009. In 2010 the injunction was overturned.

Now, the McCanns are seeking 1 million pound damages from Amaral. Amaral is  defending himself not on the basis that the book is true but that he had the right to publish it.

Once again, the McCanns are on trial in their unending nightmare.


Click here to view other posts by Bob Couttie:

Madeleine McCann May Be Alive

The Rachel Manning Murder: Real Killer Convicted after 13 years

The Day I Said “No” to the French Connection

England’s Most Notorious Child Killers: Myra Hindley and Ian Brady

Quadruple Murder in French Lake Country Stumps International Authorities

Serial Child-Killer Ian Brady Argues For Death

More stories from Bob Couttie


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