'My little son asked me if I'd hidden Madeleine', Kate McCann tells court
KATE MCCANN'S young son asked her about claims she was involved in her daughter Madeleine's disappearance, she has told a Portuguese court.
Mrs McCann said Sean, who was two years old when Madeleine went missing during a family holiday to Portugal in 2007, had asked her about the allegations made by Goncalo Amaral, a former police chief, in his book.
She told the court that Sean heard about Mr Amaral's allegations on the radio while travelling on the school bus.
The McCanns are suing Mr Amaral for libel.
Delivering an impact statement at Lisbon's palace of justice, Mrs McCann said: "Sean asked me in October, 'Mr Amaral said you hid Madeleine'. I just said that he said a lot of silly things."
Sean and his twin sister Amelie were asleep in the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz when Madeleine was abducted.
Mrs McCann told the court her family made efforts to keep information about the abduction away from their children. She explained: "We try and anticipate if there is going to be any media coverage so they don't get any shocks and are prepared and confident to handle it. It is very distressing to us as adults, so for a child it would be very, very distressing."
She also told the court that the children were now old enough to use computers at school and home, and had to be supervised. Mrs McCann told the judge there was no doubt that Mr Amaral's allegations had done "severe damage" to their struggle to find Madeleine.
Mr Amaral was the officer in charge of the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, but was sacked after becoming convinced that Mr and Mrs McCann were in some way involved. He later wrote a book, entitled 'The Truth of the Lie', in which he made a series of allegations against the couple.
Mr and Mrs McCann were declared "arguidos", or persons of interest, in the investigation in September 2007, but were later absolved of involvement after Mr Amaral was sacked.
Speaking after their appearance at the hearing in Lisbon, the couple said they believed whoever took their daughter would now be laughing at Mr Amaral's claims that they had hidden the body.
Gerry McCann also said the couple feared the person responsible would strike again. He said: "There's an unsolved serious crime and there's a series of other crimes against children – which have come to light – who have been on holiday so at the very least these people need to be brought to justice.
"We don't know if Madeleine is alive or dead, but there is no evidence that she is dead, and she is a missing child, and she is completely innocent."
The original Portuguese police investigation was shelved in 2008 after detectives concluded that they had exhausted all leads. Scotland Yard reopened the investigation last summer. Officers are liaising with their Portuguese counterparts to follow new leads. They have identified a series of break-ins and sex attacks, which they believe could be linked to Madeleine's disappearance.
The hearing continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)