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Portuguese ex-detective who criticised McCann case jailed for planning robberies for organised gang

A former detective who was involved in this year’s Madeleine McCann Netflix documentary has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail, after authorities uncovered his role in a series of organized robberies.

Paulo Pereira Cristovao, who has slammed Maddie’s parents over a number of years, also released a controversial book about the child’s disappearance.

He was convicted of participating in the planning of two violent robberies at wealthy properties in Lisbon and Cascais.

State prosecutors accused him of playing a key role in aiding the actions of an organised gang, by giving accomplices information about victims and the target homes.

The former detective, who left the Policia Judiciaria following a trial former Madeleine McCann chief investigator Goncalo Amaral was also involved in, will remain a free man pending an appeal.

It was revealed that Pereira Cristovao would be facing a trial back in March, when he played a prominent role in Netflix documentary “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann”.

However, he admitted his involvement in the break-ins in front of the court in Cascais last month, with judges retiring until now to consider their verdicts.

He denied the prosecution’s claims that he was the gang’s ringleader, and that he should also be convicted of crimes including kidnapping.

His defence lawyer told the hearing that he had returned a £8,500 commission he had received from one of his illegal raids to a victim.

All but one of the 17 defendants being held on trial were convicted over the 2014 raids, led by police officers with false search warrants who used their illegal operations to steal money and other valuables.

In one, a couple and their daughter were kidnapped and the culprits took over £100,000.

Furthermore, the alleged leader of a criminal group nicknamed Mustafa is already behind bars, and awaiting trial over a violent attack on Sporting Lisbon players during training. He received a six year prison sentence.

Prosecutors alleged that this Mustafa figure had received instructions from Pereira Cristovao and passed them on to a relative who then ordered the convicted police officers to carry out the raids.

The former detective, who has served as head of Portugal’s missing children agency, admitted after learning his fate that he was “shocked and surprised” and confirmed he would appeal.

The 51-year-old has been a nagging critic of Kate and Gerry McCann and called for them to be arrested for leaving their children alone in their Algarve holiday apartment after Madeleine vanished in on May 3rd of 2007.

His novel, based on the real police investigation which he claimed was hampered by interference from British authorities, ended with two fictional officers gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean following a huge land search.

The couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell called his comments ‘hurtful and distressing’ and accused him of trying to profit from the McCanns’ misfortune.

Pereira Cristovao wrote his book ahead of his 2009 trial for torturing the mum and uncle of a missing girl into making a false confession while he was still a PJ inspector.

He went on to head Portugal’s association for missing children after being acquitted.

His pal, Goncalo Amaral, who overturned a libel damages ruling over his best-selling book The Truth of The Lie (which the McCanns are appealing at the European Court of Human Rights), was found guilty of falsifying evidence in the same case.