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Expresso Exclusive Interview to Gonçalo Amaral

Gonçalo Amaral in an interview to Expresso

“Since the day that I left I knew the process would be archived”

The former inspector reveals some secrets from the investigation into the Maddie case. He guarantees that the process contains evidence, not personal convictions, and he reveals that Paulo Rebelo, his successor, never contacted him to talk about the case. When asked about what he would say to Gerry and Kate McCann, today, he replied: “I’m worried about the girl, not the parents”

Your name and your career witll remain connected to the Maddie case forever?

I’m not worried about that. I have always worked in a team, with the preoccupation and the goal of reaching the discovery of the truth. No policeman likes to leave a case halfway through.

Was that what happened with this investigation? Is it left halfway through?

Not according to my will.

Have you agreed with the decision of the former director of the PJ, who removed you from the case?

No. It’s an unfair and dangerous decision. I was not removed from the investigation due to incompetence. I left because of the direction that the investigation was taking. But the strategy was not decided by me only. It was everyone. It involved the English police and other Portuguese policemen. And what was being investigated, was the little girl’s death, even an accidental one.

After you left, was that course maintained?

I don’t know. I’m very naïf and I want to believe that my exit from Portimão had the purpose of advancing the investigation, because the person that took over is much more efficient.

Do you believe that Madeleine McCann died in the apartment on the evening of the 3rd of May?

Yes. That is what I and other persons believe in. And this is not because we idealized it that way.

Is there evidence to sustain that thesis?

I can’t enter any details of the process. I will only say this: I am certain that I, and the persons who worked with me, did a good job and I doubt that anyone else could do better. Some day, people will see the process, they may agree or not, but there is nothing in there that questions my professionalism.

Was the investigation’s direction, homicide, disturbing the political power?

This case was more political than a police case.

Did any politician pressure you?

I was not pressured, I was removed.

If there was a homicide, where is the body?

That was what we were going to establish next. On the day that I was removed, I was carrying out diligences for a fundamental witness to come to Portugal. It was necessary for the PJ to pay for the trip, to arrange for lodging, and that was being taken care of. But then the important witness never came to Portugal and was never heard.

But why? Why was an exception opened? The English police was used by the McCanns to send the PJ information that often was nothing but noise?

Yes. And the fact that the couple had a press advisor, is a figure that is not even foreseen in the penal process code. In some way, we were all influenced by the campaign that was built, which said that the child is alive and must be found. I don’t say that the English police was being ordered around by the McCanns, but it was influenced, like we all were. The PJ should have found a way to protect the investigators from everything else.

That is strange: you say that it was established with the English police that the direction that should be followed was the little girl’s death, that there were enough indices, but there seems to have been an inflexion.

Yes. And I was removed. I don’t know whether there is a direct connection. I know that colleagues from the investigation have requested the police’s directory for a syndication, to see whether the work was badly done. Whether mistakes were made.

Do you believe that you reached the truth?

I am convinced that we were on the right path and that we might end up knowing everything or not, but a great part. Now, that which we have collected and which we consider to be indices, may not be valued in the same manner.

One of the criticisms is that the results from the months when you were leading the investigation are lots of convictions and zero evidence. Do you agree?

I was the coordinator of the investigation from 3 May to 2 October. Five months. After me, there came other people that have been there nine months. I am not comparing, but we were professional and I’m not ashamed of anything. And when the process is public you will see if it is true that there is nothing. There are indications and they are in the files. We did hundreds of interviews and searches.

Thousands of diligences and from that there are no results? The little girl went up in smoke?

Did the theory of the death of the child continue to be followed after your exit?

I don’t know. I can say that ever since that day I knew the process would be archived.

That being so, is there still a death to be resolved?

There is. And diligences to be completed.

Who made the decision to constitute the McCann’s arguidos?

Everyone. And the national director was informed of all the decisions.

Alípio Ribeiro agreed with the decision?


But then he ended up saying that the decision was hasty.

Hasty? Four months later? When there were concrete diligences that reinforced some of the indications? While we waited for results of various tests? And beyond that, in our law there exists the principal of no self-incrimination. A person can’t continue speaking forever as a witness and providing evidence (“indications”). There is certainly a stigma in the arguido status, but I don’t know what is worse. They were made arguidos, this was public, for simulating a crime and hiding a cadaver.

Do you think that you made any mistakes?

I made one. The error of the first hour. There are things about which I still can not speak. But we know that there are things which could have been done in another way. No one should be shocked if we begin, immediately, to wonder if the parents were involved.

After leaving the investigation, did you ever speak with your successor, Paulo Rebelo?

No. It is an interesting question to consider. If they removed me for the barbarity of speaking to the press, and not for incompetence, it would be normal to be consulted. But this never happened.

If, as all seems to indicate, the case is archived, the public is going to hold the Portuguese police responsible. How will you react?

Archival is not a declaration of innocence. A process can be archived and reopened. The archival of this case could be the declaration of some incapacity of the police, or it could have a different meaning.

What would you say to Madeleine’s parents?

I have nothing to say. My overriding preoccupation is with the little girl, not the parents.

Translation by Astro and Debk

Source: Expresso

(Watch excerpts of the Expresso video interview to  Gonçalo Amaral)


  1. Man, some people in the Queen's land must be climbing walls. I can't wait for the secrecy to be over!

  2. many people all over the world KNOW they are hidding the truth.WE all know they had an uncanny and unheard support but they will pay for what happened to Madeleine.If "human justice" cannot be made to this por little child,I believe that a "cosmical justice" will take the "rumbo".Soon or later.
    The PJ had its task made extremely difficult although they KNOW but cant do anything about it.This is revolting.What is even more revolting is how the english have behaved towards the PJ.I personally will NEVER forgive them.Never

  3. Waiting with baited brteath, hope its translated to englis quickly...if not its gonna have to be scanned and google translated!!
    few things stand out in this interview, his adamant stance over madeleine being killed, and how he came to leave the P.J tells a story too..


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