Madeleine cop axed

Madeleine cop axed
3 October 2007
Scottish Daily Record
Ryan Parry

Boss pays price for rant at parents

The workshy Portuguese cop running the hunt for Madeleine McCann was kicked off the case yesterday - hours after he launched a ranting attack on the tot's parents and British police.

Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral accused UK detectives of pandering to Kate and Gerry McCann and said they were only interested in leads fed to them by the couple.

A few hours later, the Portuguese police said Amaral had been removed from the case.

They gave no reasons for the decision but it came hard on the heels of a public reprimand for Amaral by Portugal's justice minister.

Reacting to Amaral's outburst, Alberto Costa said: "We have to concentrate on the work, not on making comments."

Amaral was embarrassed at the weekend by reports that he enjoyed two and three-hour boozy lunches while he was supposedly working to find Madeleine.

A newspaper told how the beerbellied cop spent as little as four-and-a-half hours per day at his desk.

But instead of looking at his own performance, Amaral, who was in charge of the day-to-day running of the inquiry, turned his fury on the McCanns and police in the couple's home county of Leicestershire.

Amaral, 47, told a Portuguese newspaper: "British police have only worked on what the McCann couple want them to work on, and which is most convenient for them.

"They have only investigated tips and information developed and worked on for theMcCanns, forgetting that the couple are suspects in the death of their daughter."

Amaral poured scorn on a claim that Madeleine may have been kidnapped by a disgruntled former maid at the Algarve holiday complex where she vanished on May 3.

He was furious that British police decided to investigate the tip-off, made in an email to Prince Charles's official website.

Amaral said: "The story about kidnapping for revenge is another fact worked on by the McCanns."

The newspaper said Amaral's tone during the brief interview was "explosive and indignant". They also quoted an un-named senior police source as saying: "After the war with the British media, we now have another with the English police."

Amaral and his colleagues remain convinced that the McCanns killed Madeleine accidentally by drugging her to keep her quiet. But British police say the Portuguese do not have the evidence to charge the couple.

The boss of the Portuguese police federation, Carlos Anjos, waded into the row yesterday by claiming the McCanns had deliberately distracted the investigation.

Anjos said: "TheMcCanns started a campaign to discredit Portuguese police when the police first proposed the idea that the girl was dead, in place of the abduction theory which suited them so well.

"It seems that with their new spokesman, their sole objective is to create a new fact each day. It's laughable."

Friends of the McCanns were left bemused by the Portuguese cops' offensive. A source close to Kate and Glasgow-born Gerry said: "It's completely wrong.

"Leicestershire Police are not doing anything at Gerry and Kate's behest.They are simply there for liaison. There is no strategy, it's wrong."

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry have consistently said they wish to cooperate with the Portuguese authorities, and that remains the case.

"Beyond that, I cannot comment on Mr Amaral's reported remarks."

Leicestershire Police said only that they would continue to support their colleagues in Portugal.

Amaral is himself under investigation after his officers allegedly beat a confession out of a woman accused of murdering her child.

The woman, Leonor Cipriano, 36, claims she was forced to kneel on glass ashtrays with a bag over her head as police repeatedly hit her during almost 48 hours of questioning.

Amaral is accused of covering up the alleged beating. He has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing.

Cipriano is serving 16 years for the murder of her daughter Joana, eight. But she has retracted her confession and insists she is innocent.

'After the war with the British media, we now have one with the English police'

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