Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

We don't want another Madeleine McCann: Belfast couple's 'holiday hell' at hands of Portuguese police after giving child Calpol

Lee-Anne O'Donoghue, her partner James Moreland and baby Eireann were arrested after staff at the Hotel Paraiso
Lee-Anne O'Donoghue, her partner James Moreland and baby Eireann were arrested after staff at the Hotel Paraiso
Held: Lee-Anne O'Donoghue
Portuguese press chase James Moreland and Lee-Ann O'Donoghue through the airport
Portuguese press chase James Moreland and Lee-Ann O'Donoghue through the airport

A Belfast couple have revealed their holiday hell after they were arrested by Portuguese police who accused them of being unfit parents to their 18-month-old baby.

Lee-Anne O'Donoghue, her partner James Moreland were arrested after staff at the Hotel Paraiso in Albufeira reported them for giving Calpol to their child - saying it was illegal in the country.

Police in Portugal told the couple: "We don't want another Madeleine McCann."

In an interview with Sunday Life, Lee-Anne said police made her go to hospital for Eireann to be drugs-tested, and the baby was stripped and checked for marks.

Lee-Anne became frantic when doctors arrived to take blood from the baby, and was "trailed away" and handcuffed.

"When I went to get up they would put their hands on my forehead and fling me back to the ground," she said.

"They had me in a room for an hour and I have no idea what they were doing to her."

Her partner James said he was beaten and left with cuts after he was refused entry to the hospital by an armed police guard.

"I got angry so they got me down on the ground and were punching and kicking me," he said.

Police confiscated his mobile phone and wallet and the couple were left stranded after €745 was taken from the wallet.

James Moreland and Lee-Ann O'Donoghue talk to Sara Girvin
James Moreland and Lee-Ann O'Donoghue

The next day Portuguese social services said Eireann's results showed she had not been drugged, but the police then alleged the couple were too drunk to look after the baby and had thrown her from an eighth floor balcony into a pool, even though their room looked out on to a car park.

Even after the couple were cleared to leave, they had to battle through a media frenzy at the police station and airport as they had become public hate figures.

"Eireann is such a good child and we just wanted to give her a great holiday, but it really was the holiday from hell," she said.

Maddie McCann police took our baby because we gave her Calpol' - Belfast couple's Portugal holiday hell

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