262 days missing and.. Maddy's blunder cop back on case

262 days missing and.. Maddy's blunder cop back on case
20 January 2008
The Sunday Mirror
Nick Owens and Grant Hodgson

EXCLUSIVE Cruel blow for Kate & Gerry

The disgraced cop who was sacked from the Madeleine McCann inquiry is to RETURN to work on the case.

Lazy Goncalo Amaral - fired from the investigation after the Sunday Mirror exposed his long, boozy lunches - has held a string of meetings with new chief detective Paulo Rebelo.

And in a secret summit the pair have agreed he would be welcomed back on to the team responsible for finding out what happened to four-year-old Madeleine, who vanished 262 days ago.

The move will be a massive blow to parents Kate and Gerry.

Amaral, 47, was leading the team when the investigation dramatically switched to put the couple in the frame.

A source said: "This will feel like a step back for Kate and Gerry.

"Amaral and Rebelo have been meeting regularly after he was kicked off the case and they are constantly talking on the phone.

"They have swapped notes and discussed various leads at length. At times Amaral has been Rebelo's right-hand man. A lot of things that Rebelo has done since then has been on the advice of Amaral.

"The pair have become close and Rebelo thinks it will help having Amaral back as part of his team."

The source said Amaral, who has been working in Lisbon since his removal from the team, is desperate to return to Praia da Luz, the resort where Madeleine was taken.

The source added: "He really wants to work on the case again and has insisted he will be on his best behaviour and work hard."

The move to bring back Amar is a sure sign the current team of police looking for Madeleine are desperately short of leads.

It will be heartbreaking for 39-year-old doctors Kate and Gerry because sources close to the investigation believe Amaral quickly convinced himself - and colleagues - that their child was dead. Amaral was the main reason Kate and Gerry were named as suspects, despite there not being a shred of evidence that the couple were involved. He was eventually fired after launching a scathing attack on them in a Portuguese newspaper.

A Sunday Mirror investigation exposed Amaral's work on the case as incompetent and lazy.

Instead of leading his team of 30 detectives, the chief inspector often took long boozy lunches, sometimes spending three hours guzzling wine and beer in restaurants in Praia da Luz.

It meant he sometimes worked for just four-and-a-half hours a day on the case.

Amaral disgracefully ignored most of 252 tip-offs of possible sighting of Maddy because he was convinced she was dead.

In a conversation with a Portuguese racing driver, he was heard saying he was sure the girl was dead even though there was no indication that she was.

He told ex-Formula One star Pedro Lamy he believed the McCanns drugged Madeleine to keep her quiet, killing her accidentally.

Amaral reportedly said: "The police case is we are sure the parents killed Madeleine. They are doctors and know about drugs. We are confident in our case."

One of the group involved in the conversation even said he believed the couple could have taken cocaine on the night Madeleine disappeared.

The conversation was a flagrant breach of judicial secrecy rules which have stopped Kate and Gerry from defending themselves against leaks and fake information.

Amaral, who has a young daughter of his own, has also been accused of concealing evidence that a team of his officers beat a confession out of a Portuguese woman who was jailed for the murder of her missing eight-year-old daughter.

'He is convinced she is dead'

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