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We believe Madeleine McCann died in family’s apartment, detective tells libel trial

Portuguese police believed Madeleine McCann died in her family's holiday flat and that her parents faked her abduction, a court has heard.

Kate and Gerry McCann faced former detective Goncalo Amaral across a courtroom as he tried to overturn a ban on his book that claims their daughter is dead.

One senior detective told the hearing in Lisbon police made the McCanns “arguidos”, or suspects, in the case after concluding Madeleine died accidentally and her parents covered up the death by inventing a kidnapping.

Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida said he believed Madeleine died in her family's apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz on the day she went missing. He told the court the evidence for this was the findings of British police sniffer dogs sent to Portugal to examine the flat.

The McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, challenged this claim, arguing the sniffer dog results did not constitute proof and were not allowed as evidence in the case.

Mr and Mrs McCann, both 41, from Rothley, Leicestershire, flew to Portugal on Monday ahead of the trial at Lisbon's civil court.

Mr Amaral is calling a series of Portuguese officials involved in the investigation as witnesses.

Mr and Mrs McCann are not expected to give evidence.

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