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Ex-Madeleine McCann cop says doubts guilt of new German suspect

Ex-police inspector Goncalo Amaral who led the inquiry into the disappearance of missing British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007 said on Wednesday he did not believe a new suspect in the case was guilty.

Amaral, who was sued by Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann over a previous book “The Truth of the Lie” in which he accused them of concealing her body after she died accidentally, said he did not believe in the guilt of the German suspect.

Madeleine was just days from her fourth birthday when she vanished from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve, southern Portugal on May 3, 2007.

Her body has never been found despite multiple investigations involving both British and Portuguese police.

However, in the latest development in the long-running case, police in Germany in June announced that they had a new prime suspect, a child sex offender who is currently in jail in Germany.

Speaking as he released follow-up book “Maddie: Enough of the Lies!”, Amaral told AFP the German authorities had “constructed a suspect”.

Media reports have identified the German suspect as a paedophile named as “Christian B” who has already been convicted of raping a woman in Portugal.

“If they had something on him, he would have already been charged and convicted,” said Amaral, adding that it had still not been proved there had been a kidnapping.

The German national was on a list of people of interest at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance but investigators were unable to find him.

“We did not have the opportunity to question him like others,” said Amaral, acknowledging that the police should have insisted on questioning him.

The McCanns sued over his first book and won, with the court ordering Goncalo to pay them 500,000 euros ($540,000), plus more than 100,000 euros in interest.

But that judgment was later struck down in an appeal later upheld in Portugal’s Supreme Court, which said his claims were “within the limits tolerated in an open and democratic society”.