Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Kate McCann seeks 'to stop damage'

Kate McCann, mother of missing Madeleine McCann

The mother of missing Madeleine McCann has said she is in Portugal to "stop the damage" she believes is being caused to the search for her daughter by a former local police chief.

Kate McCann was speaking after the first hearing of the family's libel action against Goncalo Amaral who published a book making allegations about the three-year-old's disappearance.

The McCanns have strongly denied the accusations and say the former detective's claims have damaged the hunt for Madeleine and exacerbated the anguish suffered by her relatives.

Speaking to the press, Mrs McCann said: "I'm here today for Madeleine and obviously I strongly hope for justice. I'm here to stop the damage that has been caused and is still being caused, both directly and indirectly, to the search for our daughter."

Mrs McCann said she want to stop the suffering the theories in the book have caused to her family.

The McCann's lawyer, Isabel Duarte, was expected to set out the case today - on behalf of Mrs McCann, her husband Gerry and their twins Sean and Amelie, now eight - at Lisbon's civil court.

Mrs McCann, who travelled to Portugal for the hearing, could have been called as a witness but is not expected to give evidence.

Instead, a number of relatives will appear in the witness box. They will give evidence relating to the "damage" caused by Mr Amaral's book which, they claim, poisoned public opinion in Portugal against the family and allegedly deterred people from hunting for Madeleine.

The family stands to gain around £1 million in damages if their legal action succeeds.

Before the case began, spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry McCann remain very confident that they will win the case. They have a strong case against Mr Amaral. The matter is now in the hands of their lawyer as it goes through court."

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