Copper meant to find Maddie hunted down parents instead

Copper meant to find Maddie hunted down parents instead
6 October 2007
The Sun
Lorraine Kelly

IT is a scandal that it has taken so long for the boozy, bumbling policeman in charge of the Madeleine McCann investigation to be given the boot.

Goncalo Amaral is thought to be almost single-handedly responsible for the public vilification of parents Kate and Gerry.

Instead of searching for Madeleine, he spent his time drip-feeding false information to the Portuguese press. They gorged themselves on increasingly absurd stories about Kate and Gerry drugging and killing Madeleine, storing her body in a fridge and then burying her in the local churchyard.

Now it's been revealed that another police officer who questioned Kate has asked to be taken off the case. It's a shambles.

Kate told movingly this week how she has cried every day since Madeleine disappeared, and that support from the public and taking care of her twins Sean and Amelie are the only things that keep her going.

So much for the picture of a cold-hearted killer that Amaral wanted to portray.

Kate is a grieving mother, and by accusing her of murder, Amaral has stuck a knife in her heart.


The vile police leaks, which were a tissue of lies, crucified the McCanns and prompted lurid headlines.

The final straw was when Amaral attacked the British police for being "duped" by the couple and "shielding" them.

Portuguese top brass had no choice but to give him the elbow. If only Amaral had spent as much energy on doing his job instead of trying to cover his backside, perhaps Maddie would have been found by now.

We will never know, but it must burn away at her parents that their daughter's fate has been in such incompetent hands. Much has been made of Kate and Gerry being made "arguidos" or suspects in Portuguese law. But Amaral, the man who pointed the finger at them, is himself an arguido in a distressing case involving another little girl who disappeared three years ago.

He is under suspicion of helping to cover up an assault on the mother of the child, who was later jailed for her murder.

No body has ever been found and the mother claims a confession was beaten out of her and that she is innocent.

If she is telling the truth, this could mean that there is a monster in the area abducting and possibly harming little girls.

You would have thought that finding a sick and dangerous criminal would be at the very top of any copper's agenda.

Instead, Amaral went on long booze-filled lunches and felt peeved that the McCanns had their own high-profile campaign to find their daughter.

In a display of petulance, this mean-spirited little man turned against them.

Hiding behind Portugal's secrecy laws, he heaped abuse and suspicion on the McCanns, to the extent that many had a little worm of doubt in their minds.

I have always been convinced of their innocence and I believe they have been brutally let down by the authorities in Portugal.


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