'My son asked me if I'd hid Madeleine'

By Alex Diaz

Gerry and Kate McCann told a court of their "devastation, desperation, anxiety and pain" when a former Portuguese detective accused them of faking their daughter's abduction and hiding her body.

The McCanns delivered personal statements at Lisbon's Palace of Justice in the libel case brought by them against Goncalo Amaral over his claims in a book and documentary about their role in the girl's disappearance.

They both gave powerful descriptions of the impact that the allegations have had on them, their other children and their struggle to find their daughter after she went missing in Praia da Luz on the Algarve in 2007.

Answering questions from judge Maria Emilia Castro, Ms McCann admitted once saying that she would like to be in a coma to stop the pain.

She also told the court that when she read Mr Amaral's claims she was "quite desperate because of the injustice I felt towards my daughter and our family as a whole".

"It was very painful to read and I also felt anxious and fearful because of the damage I felt it was doing here in Portugal.

"We were working so hard, we were the only ones trying to do everything in our power to find Madeleine."


The 46-year-old explained that her young son Sean had asked her about Mr Amaral's allegations after hearing them on the radio while travelling on the school bus.

"Sean asked me in October 'Mr Amaral said you hid Madeleine'. I just said that he said a lot of silly things," she said.

Sean and his twin sister Amelie were aged two when Madeleine, who was nearly four, went missing.