3 October 2007

RYAN PARRY in Praia da Luz

Boozy cop is demoted after furious outburst against Kate & Gerry

BOOZY chief inspector Goncalo Amaral was last night off the Madeleine McCann case af ter an astonishing attack on Kate and Gerry.

The bungling 48-year-old accused them of manipulating the investigation. And he claimed British detectives were pandering to the family.

His outburst angered bosses who decided it was the final straw in a series of embarrassing blunders during the investigation to find missing four-year-old Madeleine.

Last night furious police chiefs revealed Amaral was no longer running the case.

A Policia Judiciaria spokesman said: "Goncalo Amaral has been removed from the DIC (Portugal's detectives) in Portimao and all the cases it is dealing with.

"We cannot make any comment on the reasons for his dismissal. But he did not resign, he was removed."

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We are aware of what's happened and simply cannot comment.

"However Kate and Gerry have consistently said they are willing to co-operate with Portuguese authori ties and will continue to do so, regardless of who is in charge of the hunt for Madeleine."

A source close to the family added: "Things like this are frankly just a distraction, what they want is for people to concentrate on the search for Madeleine.

"The most important thing is that the inquiry is led by someone who can do a professional and good job and help them find their daughter."

Amaral accused doctors Kate and Gerry, from Rothley, Leics, of distracting the investigation. And he said of Leicestershire detectives: "British police have only worked on what the McCanns want them to work on, and which is most convenient for them.

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

But a source close to the couple, both 39, said: "It's wrong. Leicestershire police are not doing anything at Gerry and Kate's behest. They are there for liaison." Amaral was number three in the investigation but in charge of running it on a day-to-day basis from Portimao.

He works as little as four and a half hours a day and takes boozy threehour lunches despite a mountain of Madeleine leads to investigate.

The inspector also vented his anger that Leicestershire police were following a wild tip emailed to Prince Charles's website.

It suggested a disgruntled maid at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished from on May 3 may have kidnapped her.

Amaral, who will be moved to Faro, ranted: "The lead has no credibility. This story about kidnapping for revenge is another lead worked on by the McCanns.

"Everything said by employees, current or former, has already been investigated by the Policia Judiciaria."

But the McCann family source said: "The lead was passed by Clarence House to the Met Police and they took it seriously because it was from a real woman and she had left the Ocean Club in bad circumstances."

Amaral has probed just two child murders in his 26-year career.

He is under investigation for allegedly helping cover up a police beating to extract a confession from Leonor Cipriano, 36, the mother of a missing girl.

She is serving 16 years for the murder of her eight-year-old daughter Joana, even though the body has never been found and she has retracted her statement.

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