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Maddie parents tell of distress at police inspector’s ‘slur’

Published on 08/07/2014

The parents of the missing British child Madeleine McCann told Tuesday of their "immense distress" at a book written by a Portugeuse detective who accused them of killing their daughter and hiding her body.

A court in Lisbon, where the McCanns are suing Gonçalo Amaral for libel over of his book “Maddie, The Forbidden Investigation”, heard that the couple believe the former inspector’s obsession with them destroyed all chances of their daughter being found in the days after her disappearance.

Madeleine, then aged three, went missing from her parents’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz resort in the Algarve region of southern Portugal in May 2007. Her disappearance, one of the most mysterious and well-publicised of recent times, has prompted numerous conspiracy theories.

Kate McCann — who with her husband Gerry were declared official suspects in the case before being cleared — told the court of their pain and desperation at the claims that they accidentally killed their daughter. “I had an idea of what was in the book, but when I read it in full it made me feel desperate because of the injustice that was being made. It was very painful,” she said.

“We were so desperate to find Madeleine and I felt he was destroying our chances. It’s very distressing because we needed the help of the Portuguese people to find Madeleine.”

Gerry McCann, giving evidence after his wife, said they had been shocked by the book: “The media coverage of the book, even before it was published, caused an immense distress. The book itself was shocking. It’s an affront to me, to my wife and all the people that support us.

“The hardest emotion I felt was anguish, despair and of course anger,” he added.

Amaral, who was eventually taken off the controversial investigation, sat impassively next to his lawyer through their evidence. The McCanns are claiming damages of 1.25 million euros ($1.7 million).

The final hearing in the case — which was due to be held on Thursday — was adjourned to allow further enquiries into Amaral’s income.

Outside court, Gerry McCann said, “This has been going on now for over five years and we hope that we’ll get justice for Madeleine and the rest of our family.

“We hope the current investigation being run with the [British] Metropolitan Police and the Portuguese police does lead to a real breakthrough. Our goal is to find Madeleine.”