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Madeleine McCann's parents 'to be sued for damages' by Portuguese detective who won case over controversial book

Published 20/04/2016

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007 (Family handout/PA)
Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007 (Family handout/PA)

A former Portuguese police inspector is reportedly planning to sue Madeleine McCann’s parents after his own libel conviction for a book on the case was overturned.

Goncalo Amaral won the initial case at Lisbon’s appeals court on Tuesday, prompting a rush to publish his controversial book The Truth of the Lie, which alleges that Kate and Gerry McCann lied in the investigation into their daughter’s disappearance.

His lawyer, Miguel Cruz Rodrigues, told Portuguese media that he is now planning to sue the couple for damages to recoup alleged losses caused by their year-long legal action.

“We are going to advance with a compensation claim against the McCanns,” he told Expresso, according to a translation by The Sun.

“My client has suffered years of prejudice and losses.”

Mr Amaral’s plan was also reported by RPT television, with his representatives saying years of financial losses had been caused by the court battle and damage to his reputation.

The McCanns sought €1.2 million (£950,000) in damages from Mr Amaral, saying they were “totally destroyed” and “depressed” by his allegations and felt ashamed that they might appear to have been to blame for their daughter's disappearance.

The former police inspector co-ordinated the Portugese investigation into the case for six months after Madeleine disappeared from the family’s holiday home in the Algarve in May 2007.

His defence team argued that the book he initially published a year later stemmed from aspects of the police inquiry that local media had already reported – namely investigating the possibility that Madeleine’s parents may have been involved.

A lower court in Lisbon ordered Mr Amaral to pay €500,000 (£395,000) in compensation last year but Monday’s ruling overturned the judgement, and will now be fought by the McCanns in Portugal’s supreme court.

Isabel Duarte, the McCanns’ lawyer, said judges decided he can “write what he wants” but that the couple took the decision in their stride.

She has not yet responded to The Independent’s request for comment.

Portuguese police closed the case in 2008 because authorities had detected no crime, but British police are still looking into it. Madeleine would turn 13 next month.

Additional reporting by PA


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