14 May 2009
“Maddie’s parents put on a show to hide their lie”
The Portuguese policeman who is responsible for the inquiry into the disappearance of the little girl is categorical: Maddie died, and despite their apparent anguish, her parents are implicated. In an explosive book, “The forbidden investigation” [French title for ‘The Truth of the Lie’], he recounts how, due to political pressures, he was prevented from proving it.
by Christian Rappaz
The investigation of his life. It occupied Gonçalo Amaral day and night, between the 3rd of May 2007 at 10 p.m. and the 2nd of October 2008 [mistaken in the original text; Amaral was removed from the inquiry on the 2nd of October 2007], the date of his departure into early retirement: the Madeleine Maddie Beth McCann case. A 3-year-old English girl that disappeared from a holiday apartment from Vila da Luz, in the Algarve, while her parents dined in a restaurant at the hotel resort, a few dozen metres away.
Amaral is now 50. The son of a working class family, the fifth of six children, he is himself the father of two little girls, aged 4 and 9. He had to leave his post as an inspector, he says, because “in Portugal and elsewhere, the politisation of police places hurdles into the latter’s work and prevents justice from being done. Just like the Maddie case, more and more inquiries are stifled or archived before conclusion”. He is now a judiciary consultant for television, a columnist for a leading Portuguese daily newspaper and he teaches criminology.
Gerry and Kate McCann, Maddie’s parents, both doctors, have transformed the disappearance of their daughter, two years ago, into a worldwide drama. From David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo, passing through pope Benedict XVI, they have orchestrated a huge mobilisation and created a support fund that attained 6 million [Swiss] francs in three days.
Gonçalo Amaral was removed from the investigation, which the Portuguese police officially archived on the 21st of July 2008. But Amaral has rediscovered one freedom: the one of telling his version, his conviction. His word as a cop.
What are the elements that allow you to accuse, with such conviction, Maddie’s parents of lying to the whole planet?
There are several of them. For a start, just like their friends, their witness statements and their depositions reveal a major level of imprecision, of incoherence and contradiction. Then there’s the smell of a cadaver that has been confirmed by the detection dogs and the existence of blood traces behind the sofa in the apartment, which was confirmed by preliminary analyses. One can presume that the little girl fell behind that piece of furniture, maybe due to tranquilisers that her parents gave her regularly, as they later admitted. The same for the finding of odours and traces of blood in the vehicle that was rented by the McCanns, three weeks after Madeleine’s disappearance. It was the only vehicle among eleven that retained the dogs’ attention. There is equally the witness statement of an Irish couple that states they saw Gerry McCann carrying a child on the evening of the events. Finally, there’s Kate McCann’s fingerprint on the window of Madeleine’s bedroom, which clearly indicates that she opened that window, undoubtedly to make believe in the abduction theory, while stating that the window was already open when she arrived on the spot at 10 p.m., the time at which she noticed Madeleine’s disappearance and raised the alarm.
That’s your truth, which is not supported by any evidence…
That’s not my truth, those are the conclusions of an investigation that lasted for fourteen months, carried out by over one hundred policemen and experts. Concerning the facts, the results indicate that the analysed samples coincided with Madeleine’s DNA profile in 75%.
Why are all those indications not enough evidence?
Because those results needed to be confirmed and it would have been necessary to carry out other investigations based on this data. Undoubtedly the last ones. One might, for example, perfectly imagine that Maddie’s body was concealed in a freezer between the 3rd and the 27th of May. All of this should have been minutely checked. Well, that was the moment when the will to archive the process emerged and I was removed. That the case was actually smothered.
By whom and why?
That’s a good question. You’ll have to ask the Portuguese Public Ministry. There were talks between British prime minister Gordon Brown and Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates. What have they said to each other, what did they decide? A mystery…
In your book, you go as far as suggesting that England’s adhesion to the Lisbon Treaty was connected with the case’s archiving?
I state nothing, I simply say that rumours in that sense have circulated.
Those are particularly serious accusations, and you carry an enormous responsibility if by hazard the parents’ theory is proved…
It won’t be proved. Maddie is dead, and her parents know it. Their behaviour proves it. After having set the scene for abduction, they immediately passed the abduction theory to the media, without even accepting another possibility. Concerning that, do you know many parents who, as their daughter is supposedly abducted, hired a communications chief before hiring a lawyer? I also remember a statement that Kate McCann made to the media, only a few days after the drama: “In two years’ time, we’ll still be meeting to search for Maddie”. How could she be that categorical? Finally, why did they leave Portugal almost immediately after being placed under investigation, while the investigations that they financed with their fund continued?
Why would they lie and display such cynicism?
Because they made a mistake in leaving their children alone and were completely run over by the media attention that they brought onto themselves. Having said that, the simulation of an abduction is something that is usual in this type of cases. The statistics prove it. Since 1960 until today, in England – but they are very close, no matter what Western country – 1528 children were found murdered. Eighty-four percent of them were murdered by their parents and even 96% if we widen to the persons close to them. In the vast majority of these cases, the parents make up an abduction story.
Has the McCanns’ spokesperson invoked the idea of a complaint against you?
I impatiently await that, since my book was published in Portugal, a year ago. That would allow for the case to be reopened and I could explain myself in front of a court of law. But Maddie’s parents obviously don’t want for the truth to emerge.
They accuse you of wanting to make money on their daughter’s back…
That argument is easy, and it demonstrates that they don’t have a lot more left. It’s not serious. I wrote that book for the public opinion to be able to know about the backdrop of this investigation and its conclusions. I was forced to abdicate, but I wanted to defend the truth and the values that I upheld throughout the twenty-seven years that I spent with the police. Today, the Maddie case is archived and her parents don’t have any will for it to be reopened. Personally, I did what my conscience told me. My mission is accomplished.
source: L’Illustré, 13.05.2009