Cops: We were wrong to suspect the McCanns

Cops: We were wrong to suspect the McCanns
Missing Madeleine Day 276
The Sunday Mirror
3 February 2008
Lori Campbell

Boss admits they were too hasty

Portugal's police chief has admitted his detectives made a huge blunder in rushing to blame Gerry and Kate McCann for their daughter's disappearance.

Alipio Ribeiro said he thought the decision to make them "arguidos" - official suspects - last September was taken too quickly and without proper assessment.

The remarkable admission comes in a radio interview to be broadcast in Portugal today. Last night the McCanns demanded to be cleared immediately and their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Frankly this is a disgrace. It seems that the Portuguese police were not certain of the facts, and the evidence isn't there. Kate and Gerry are very pleased to hear this news - but the most important thing is to focus on exactly where Madeleine is and to work to bring the real perpetrators to justice."

Ribeiro, national director of the Policia Judiciaria which is leading the hunt for the missing four-year-old, told Radio Renascenca: "I think there should have been another assessment before the McCanns were made official suspects. There was a certain hastiness."

The admission is the first by anyone in authority in Portugal that the case had been mishandled.

Portuguese bloggers last night flooded the Internet with demands for Ribeiro to stand down.

One Lisbon-based blogger wrote: "Accusing the McCanns of the death of their daughter without the certainty they did it is disgraceful." No one from the Policia Judiciaria would comment.

THE McCanns' twins Sean and Amelie celebrated their third birthday with a tea party for 50 friends and relatives yesterday. Their parents gave them "a special present from their missing sister".


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