The parents of Madeleine McCann are preparing to sue the disgraced former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral.
Kate and Gerry McCann said they were taking action over comments made in the media by the man who previously led the inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance.
In a statement, the parents of the missing girl said: “We, together with our three children Madeleine, Sean and Amelie, are taking this legal action against Goncalo Amaral over his entirely unfounded and grossly defamatory claims — made in all types of media, both within Portugal and beyond — that Madeleine is not only dead, but that we, her parents, were somehow involved in concealing her body.”
The decision was taken in a bid to prevent further publication of Amaral’s “deeply offensive” book The Truth Of The Lie, his television documentary and his “disgraceful thesis” that the parents were involved in their daughter’s disappearance.
The statement continued: “The primary reason for our legal action is simple: to stop any negative effect that these absurd and deeply hurtful claims may be having on the ongoing search for Madeleine.
“We can no longer stand back and watch as Mr Amaral tries to convince the entire world that Madeleine is dead.
“Nor can we allow this blatant injustice to Madeleine, with its obvious risk of hindering our attempts to find her, to continue.
“Mr Amaral’s entirely unjustified claims have not only brought indescribable devastation and suffering to our lives, they have hugely compounded the already immense pain and anxiety we have endured since Madeleine’s abduction.”
The McCanns’ UK lawyer, Edward Smethurst, said the first step in their legal action will be to apply for a gagging order at Lisbon’s main civil court.