Inspector Clueless gets boot

Inspector Clueless gets boot

3 October 2007
Daily Star
Jerry Lawton

A BOOZY Portuguese police chief heading the Madeleine McCann inquiry has been sacked from the case after accusing Brit detectives of shielding her parents.

Chief Insp Goncalo Amaral was demoted last night – his 48th birthday – after publicly slamming UK officers for only following up leads that GP Kate and heart surgeon Gerry, both 39, wanted investigating.

The officer, now the equivalent of a constable, had been leading a 30-strong team probing the four-year-old's disappearance. He has been moved to a small office in Faro.

Amaral had raged: "British police have only investigated tips and information developed and worked on for the McCanns, forgetting the couple are suspects in the death of their daughter Madeleine.'' His "explosive and indignant" attack caused such a rift, Portugal's minister of justice Alberto Costa last night had to stepped in.

He insisted: "There is great co-operation between police in Portugal and Britain." Amaral's tirade came days after he was blasted for taking long boozy lunches during the case.

While the eyes of the world were on last week's apparent sighting in Morocco, Amaral spent two hours knocking back wine in a restaurant.

The gold medallion-wearing, beer-bellied bobby even breached Portugal's strict secrecy laws.

He told ex-Formula 1 driver Pedro Lamy he was sure Madeleine was dead.

The officer was overheard saying he believed the McCanns had drugged their daughter to keep her quiet and accidentally killed her.

He added: "The police case is we are sure the parents killed Maddie. They are both doctors and know about drugs." Details of the officer's knees-ups came amid claims that Amaral had failed to investigate 252 tipoffs about Madeleine's possible whereabouts.

Yesterday the detective slammed the Brit police's decision to probe a lead on the Madeleine case that had been emailed to Prince Charles's website.

The tip-off claimed Madeleine was abducted by a disgruntled ex-maid at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, where the McCanns had been staying.

Portuguese police ruled it out months ago after a probe revealed the e-mailer used a bogus identity and the maid did not exist.

Amaral said the lead "has no credibility for the Portuguese police".

Last night the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We are aware Mr Amaral has been removed from his post and we cannot comment.

"Kate and Gerry will cooperate with the Portuguese authorities regardless of who is in charge."

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