Monday 27 January 2020

Kate McCann wants to give evidence at Madeleine disappearance book libel trial

Kate and Gerry McCann.
Niall Carson/PA Wire
Kate and Gerry McCann. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Adam Withnall

Kate McCann has applied to give evidence at the libel trial of the former Portuguese police chief who wrote a book about her daughter Madeleine’s disappearance.

Ms McCann “wants to look Goncalo Amaral in the eye” and explain the distress caused by his book The Truth of the Lie, sources close to the family told the Mirror.

After at one point leading the investigation to find Madeleine, Mr Amaral wrote that the McCanns hid their daughter’s body after she died in an accident – claims which the family says damaged the hunt for her and saw their pain “multiplied 100 times”.

Madeleine’s father Gerry had already appeared in Lisbon to push for his own application to speak during the court case – and Mr Amaral has also asked if he can take to the witness box.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirmed that lawyer Isabel Duarte lodged an application last week for Mrs McCann to give evidence as well.

If successful in the case the family stands to be awarded around £1 million in damages. The McCanns were paid £550,000 in damages in 2008 after Express Newspapers settled a libel case over reports of Madeleine's disappearance. The money was used to fund the Find Madeleine campaign.

The couple are also suing Mr Amaral’s publisher, and the makers of a documentary based on the book, and will return to Lisbon if the judge grants their applications to speak. It is thought that if they give evidence, it will be at the end of the trial next month.

Last week Gerry's sister Trish Cameron told the court that the parents had been left in “purgatory” and the book and subsequent documentary had seen them “vilified” and “demonised”.

The trial has previously heard how Mrs McCann had considered suicide in the aftermath of the book's publication in 2008.

Madeleine, who was then nearly four, disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on 3 May 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant with friends.

British detectives launched a fresh investigation into the youngster's disappearance in July this year - two years into a review of the case - and believe she could still be alive.

A new BBC Crimewatch appeal is to be aired on Monday a bid to produce new witnesses.

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