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Interview with Gonçalo Amaral - IOL Portugal Diário

Maddie: the questions that were missing

IOL PortugalDiário spoke with the former PJ inspector, Gonçalo Amaral and asked some questions

This Monday, the Maddie process will no longer be subject to the judicial secrecy, and can be consulted by who requested to do so. IOL PortugalDiário asks the former inspector Gonçalo Amaral some questions. The goal is to try to shed some light on aspects of the investigation, which was questioned early on

In your book, you write that you believe that Maddie died in the apartment, on the 3rd of May. When did you form the conviction that the child was dead?

It was with the dogs’ work. That was when we were most convinced.

But when did you sum “two plus two”?

That is part of the investigation work and the logics of the investigator. He joins things throughout time. There was atypical behaviour from the witnesses right away, which then transforms into indicia.

Then one realizes that people are lying. How can anyone who has the obligation to cooperate with the police, not do so?! All the person wants is to receive information and all that the person says is a lie?!

Then it was necessary to understand why they lied. Were they afraid of the police? Of its reaction? Of the exposure and abandonment of the children? But when we asked, they said no, and insisted that the little girl had been abducted. This immediately caused strangeness and suspicion.

According to your book, the body was preserved and you have already stated that you suspect it was frozen. If it were so, were could it have been hidden?

Any investigator knows that when there is a group of people that is on holidays, foreigners or not, it is necessary to discover what means they had available to, for example, move the body. But the McCanns and their friends, at that point in time, only knew the route between the beach and the resort. To us, taking into account how little they knew the area, it would be normal that if they did anything, they would move towards the beach. Later on there is the Irish family, which guarantees that they saw a man walking towards the beach, carrying a child. It was something that matched our suspicions.

Does that mean that from your point of view, the body may have remained on the beach?

Yes. But how long was it there for? It is unknown. It is true that the area was searched by the dogs. But some people say that the smell of salted water may lead the dogs not to indicate where the body was. There is also the possibility that the body was taken to another location on that very same night. It is materially possible. The body may have been moved three or more times.

In your book, you also mention political and diplomatic pressures. Was the PJ ever contacted by the British government?

There is an intervention from the British government, even though it was somewhat clumsy. Mainly from the present prime minister, Gordon Brown. He spoke with Kate and with the English authorities that were involved in the investigation. And he also spoke with José Sócrates [Portuguese prime minister]. As far as I know, he never spoke directly with the PJ.

But where did the alleged power of the couple, which you have been suggesting, come from?

On the first night, a dossier about the family was requested, which the English authorities never sent. It was said that they were connected to commissions that emitted opinion reports on nuclear issues, but none of that was ever confirmed officially. Connections to political parties were also mentioned.

Did the British police send information about the McCanns and their friends?

No. They never sent the information that we requested. In fact, they did send only once, financial information. They stated that the couple had a mortgage and that there was no knowledge of any credit or debit cards. How didn’t they have any? The registration of the rental car mentions the card numbers. Concerning the other members of the group, the information was also only that.

Maddie: the leads that remained unexplored

The former inspector speaks about what could have been done in the investigation and says that making Murat an arguido was not a mistake

The PJ’s report dismisses the Smiths’ testimony, due to the hour at which they say they saw the person with the child…

It cannot be that way, because nobody knows for sure at what time the things happened. The reconstitution was not made, therefore it is impossible to know for certain. The employees do not state that Gerry McCann was in the restaurant. They only say that people were seating down and getting up from the table. Their testimony [Smith] is very credible. The way how the person walked, the clumsy manner in which the child was held. It is nothing that sounds invented. Is it evidence? Certainly not. It is information that has to be worked further.

When you were removed from the case, they were planning to return to Portugal. But they desisted from the diligence…

The family should have come to Portugal and they didn’t. It was not done on purpose, but a person cannot be left waiting to be heard over five months. That allowed for, according to what I have heard, the Irish family to be contacted and the target of coercion. Several people went there and they were not from the police. He even had to get himself a lawyer to try to get things into order. Before the police arrived to hear them, several persons had tried to speak to them. And they were not the only ones.

In the book “Maddie Truth of the Lie” you mention a polish lead and you say that it is a loose end…

Nobody cares about that. We should have gone there or made a rogatory letter. They (Polish police) misunderstood the goal. They went looking for the child and we asked for an intervention to control them first. The issue was the photographs. The man never let go of the camera. We wanted to know what photographs were on the camera and if maybe there was one of Maddie.

Despite your theory that the girl died on that evening, wouldn’t there be a possibility that this couple “dispatched” the child within a few hours?

That is already speculation. We inspected the apartment where they were staying. Blood was even found inside the apartment and it was not Maddie’s. We cannot forget that when we intervene, they are not in Portugal anymore.

Could you have gone further with this couple?

We could. And if they were here in Portugal we could have done even more. But then the route of the investigation takes us elsewhere.

Was it a mistake to make Murat an arguido?

No, it was not. A mistake would have been if we had not acted in the manner that we did and he would always remain a suspect without being able to defend himself. Now he has even received a compensation. Have you noticed that nobody has requested the instruction of the process? He could have done that.

Did the Joana case contribute to your removal?

It cannot have contributed. The national director knows that the issue are two social psychopaths – considered by the IML [national institute for forensic medicine] – that lie. The issue is my word and the word of a psychopath.

May the noise of the case have had some influence?

When the first news came out I called for the attention of the director in Faro. What I said at that time was: maybe it’s best for the process to leave Portimão, or for me to step aside from the investigation.

Did you consider the possibility of leaving the Maddie case?

I did. And the feedback that I got was that I had full support.

Don’t you repent that you did not go to the location [on the night of the events]?

There are several ways to coordinate. And one of them is over the phone. No, I have no regrets.

Don’t you think that the result might have been different?

It is possible. At least there would have been someone, and I have a good memory, who would remember how they were dressed that evening.

Maddie: the questions from the readers

IOL PortugalDiário allowed for its readers to ask questions from the former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral. Among several that were received, here are the ones that were chosen by the redaction

Could the tests have been made at another laboratory, like for example the FBI’s? (question from Michael Williams)

That is another group decision. And it is decided in order to somehow compromise the other side. There was already that “bad posture”, let’s put it that way, from the English tabloids. The idea was for them to be compromised with the results. But yes, it could have been done at another lab, it didn’t even need to go to the United States, there are some very good ones in Europe.

Were the diligences the same in the cases of Joana and Maddie? (question from Luís Nogueiro)

The first diligences were the same.

How do you comment on the statements from the former President Jorge Sampaio? (question from Fernando Moura das Neves)

I think it is a concern. Deep down, he is not against the publication of the book. Maybe what he meant is that it was not necessary to go this far.

Was anything done about the church where the McCanns spent so much time and to which they had the key? (identified reader)

There were never any motives to question the catholic church. There is no indice that points towards the child being there, at least up to the moment when she was transported in the car. Even because there are no freezers there, or cold spots that would allow for the body to be kept at that location.

Was no cadaver odour or other indicia ever found on the father’s clothes? (identified reader)

No. We don’t know what he was wearing on the night of the disappearance. If it was him who was seen carrying the child, those clothes may even not exist anymore. He went to London and he might have washed it. As a matter of fact, we never knew what anyone of the group was wearing on the evening of the facts.

IOL PortugalDiário remembers that the process of the disappearance of Maddie was archived and that Kate and Gerry McCann and Robert Murat, stopped being arguidos on the 21st of July. Maddie’s parents have made it known that they intend to sue Gonçalo Amaral, following the publication of the book “Maddie: Truth of the Lie”.

source: IOL PortugalDiário, 03/04.08.2008


  1. All these claims about suing Portuguese authorities and Mr. Amaral are mostly hot air. Any attempts to sue Mr. Amaral will only occur if Mr. Amaral's book is written in English. Astro, you told me that there are negotiations to get the book published in Britain, based on the influential and powerful people who are behind this couple I would be very surprised if this will ever happen. I can see that one of the possible reasons that the case was archived was the lack of cooperation by British authorities. How can you conduct an investigation when you are not allowed access to information on your primary suspects? What will happen from here onward? Will the McCanns engage in talk shows? I doubt it since talk shows like Oprah will not agree to a scripted interview and the excuse that they can't talk because of the secrecy laws can no longer be used. Will there be a film? I have my doubts, based on the case file who is going to be portrayed as the bad guy, an unknown abductor? They achieved what they wanted, and gradually they will disappear from the news. This story will only come again into the limelight if the girl's body is found, that is if it even exists anymore. There is probably much more to this story than just a missing girl, but I think we will never know what that part of the story is.

  2. The English translation does not have to be published in England--it could be published by an American publisher and available for worldwide orders.

    The question is, will the book be banned by Britain, much like the Soviet Union banned Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" for speaking the truth that the government does not want exposed? Can it be stopped from getting into the hands of the English public? Not in this day and age--I don't think so.

    We all would like to know what is behind the protection of the McCanns. I, too, think it is very unlikely we will ever find out for sure what it is.

  3. With Maddie being made a ward of court it's inevitable IMO that this will be used as justification to ban publication and possibly to sue. The british press will go along with the charade, as will the gormless daytime-tv luvvies, and sadly a huge chunk of the british public. But my view is Bring It On. Out from behind the propaganda little glimpses of truth will undoubtedly shine through. As for suing,I'd pay good money to see the two Leicestershire liars squirming in court as they attempt to untangle themselves from their cock and bull stories, looking more and more guilty with each contradiction - reason enough for them never to sue Mr Amaral - the man just knows too damn much. There is something dastardly about post-blair britain. Never have our senses been bombarded with so much round-the-clock news coverage, yet never have we been so misinformed. Spooky.

  4. Não é ainda para comentar este.Mas,é para deixar,através de 1 notícia do C. da M. e com tradução google...

    ..."A couple of drunken Irish led in the early hours of yesterday, on the beach of San Bernardino, in Peniche, the indignation of the population, to become involved in an accident when the car carrying two children.

    The woman, 41 years old, who was the conductor, was arrested by the GNR and summoned to appear in court today and the man spent the night inside the car, to recover from the hangover. The children were taken by another couple abroad.

    The tourists were in a bar and, after consuming imperial and caipirinhas, addressed to the 01h45 for the car with their children - a girl of four years and a boy of two. While trying to leave the park, the woman did march - back and broke the door of another vehicle. Having got the first, and accelerated enfaixou up against a wall. Opening the door and vomitou. The husband showed no reaction, this was the state of drunkenness. The children attended impávidas on the scene.

    The conductor still wanted to go anywhere, but was stopped by customers of the bar. "The husband was about to fall and completely KO. When I arrived at the foot of the car was a woman to vomit. Confrontei it with the damage and she wanted to pay but not accepted and called the GNR," the CM John Michael, owner of the car. "If they were Portuguese had already taken them children," said the popular yesterday.

    Francisco Gomes


    Beautiful people,no?

    They must begin to choose beachs (praias)at Canadá. Ou vinho na Itália ou em França ou beers na Alemanha.Fu..u..u..soprem para outros lados.(lodos pântanosos).


    mudei a palavra passe no frog,mas ainda não fui ao google.Há pouco no B. do P.R. ainda não funcionou a p.p.


  5. I sincerely hope guerra is wrong when he/she says about the story dying from the news and oonly resurfacing when the body is found. It cant end like that, what has all this been about?There has to be a reason for us bloggers to have dug our heels in as we have, there has to be a reaso this story caught so many imaginations and people like joana, Mariana, Nigel all spend the time they do.
    I rather hope there will either be a public out cry and people will have to answer why they assisted the McScum or that One brave reporter decides to write about the strange, underhanded corrupt dealings of the people involved. It only takes one to get the message to enough people and one M.P to bring it up in the commons and the ball is rolling.


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