Thursday 30 March 2017

Madeleine McCann's parents awarded €500,000 in Portuguese libel case

Alex Diaz

A former detective has been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to the McCann family following a libel case in a Portuguese court.

Goncalo Amaral had been on trial over claims he made in a book and a documentary that Gerry and Kate McCann were involved in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance in Praia da Luz on the Algarve in 2007.

In a written verdict, a Lisbon court agreed that Amaral should pay Mr and Mrs McCann €250,000 each in damages and it banned further sales of his book The Truth Of The Lie.

Madeleine was aged three when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment on May 3 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann

Read more: 'Madeleine McCann's parents should never give up' - man who was reunited with his kidnapped daughter after 17 years

Mr Amaral, who led the initial investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, released his book The Truth Of The Lie three days after the case was closed in 2008.

He later took part in a documentary for Portuguese television in which he claimed that Madeleine was dead, that there had been no abduction and the McCanns had hidden her body.

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Giving evidence at Lisbon's Palace of Justice last year the couple spoke of their "devastation, desperation, anxiety and pain" over the claims.

The couple also said that the book and documentary had hampered support from the Portuguese people as they looked for their daughter.

Mrs McCann told the court that her young son Sean had asked about Mr Amaral's allegations after hearing about them on the radio while travelling on the school bus.

The McCanns later said in a statement issued by their family spokesman, Clarence Mitchell: "We are delighted with the judge's verdict today. We want to emphasise the action was never about money. It was entirely focused on the effect of the libels on our other children and the damage that was done to the search for Madeleine.

"A lot has changed in the six years since we launched the action and we are pleased that there is still an active investigation in both Portugal and the UK. We would like to remind people that there is still an innocent little girl who is missing and that those responsible for her abduction remain at large."

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