Goncalo Amaral speaks about how the 'Maddie' case has affected his family life
“I've been worried about my youngest daughter”
Translation base/Scans by Rolanda M.R. | Corrections/extras by J.M. | Article by Alexandra Ferreira
The former inspector says that he is tranquil with the ongoing trial and that there is too much “publicity and misinformation” to keep in the media limelight a case that has caused severe moral damages to his life.
How did you react to the news that the English Police are investigating new leads?
With calm and tranquillity. I know what this is about, what the authors intend with such news, but anyone who has been following the case throughout the years, will be able to discern among the trashy publicity what is really at stake, and that is an intolerable pressure over a Portuguese court.
Are there changes in the case?
There is no change, there is nothing really new, we continue as it was in 2008 when the process was archived. The authors of the civil action seem to be very creative, so we need to wait for a bolt of their creativity and imagination.
In the ongoing trial which opposes you against the McCanns, they are asking you for 1.2 million euro for defamation.
What is a stake is a trial for the crime of having an opinion, something which is unthinkable in the free and democratic Portugal post-25 de Abril [Carnation Revolution that freed Portugal from 48 years of dictatorship]. Actually, there are no facts to sustain that demand for indemnification (...) The authors of the action want others to believe that my opinion as well as of those who worked with me, Portuguese and English police, which was expressed in the book and in the documentary, has harmed their efforts to find the child and has caused them moral damages. However this premise lacks precise facts.
Are you satisfied with the way the trial is going?
Common sense tells me not to jump to conclusions, and to await with calm and serenity for the final decision. However, the publicity and the campaign of misinformation and intoxication that is taking place, by the authors of the civil action, seems to evidence that the same are not very happy with the progress of the trial and feel the need to influence the outcome.
It was obvious the absence in court of the friends who dined with the McCanns on the night that Maddie disappeared..
Perhaps that is just a strategy of the accusation, but their absence was conspicuous. Bottom line is, who better than those who usually accompanied the authors in their holidays, a few years ago, and who visited their houses previous to the events of May 3, 2007, to go to court and speak about the “before and after” of the couple's lives. The accusation preferred to call witnesses that only became friends of the couple and visitors of their house, after that event.
Was there any testimony important for your defence?
It was important to unmask in a court hearing the psychologist who only had a degree in Social Sciences, in the scope of which he did one psychology subject, that is, he wasn't a psychologist, and he wasn't certified to make psychological assessments. Equally important, were the testimonies of colleagues who worked with me during the investigation to the disappearance, as well as, the recalling of an interview the authors gave to a weekly newspaper [Expresso] in September 2008, a month after my book was published, where they devalued its contents and actually said that they would not sue me... Well, such is life.
Was there a request for the case to be heard behind close doors?
It is true, we wanted to prevent what is taking place now: judgements in the public arena and campaigns of misinformation and intoxication which contribute nothing for a good judicial decision, that needs to be free, objective and founded in Law.
While you were leading the investigation did you feel any pressures?
During that time our work was called into question and we were the target of insults, professionally and personally, the campaign against us was despicable and shameful. The book Maddie, The Truth of the Lie [Maddie, A Verdade da Mentira], reports on the first six months of the criminal investigation. Then the process was archived in 2008. It is normal for an investigation to go forward and backward, having a beginning, middle and an end. Therefore, it cannot be said that the case was concluded or that the evidence that existed by the end of September  was set aside or that it led to a different result.
What was your impression of the McCann couple after you met them?
Apart from the mother of the child’s expectation that tea should be served to her, and the father acting totally disinterested at the time of an attempt of extortion, I recall the fact of - and this is stated in the process - the father's first phone calls to the UK where he referred to the disappearance as a kidnap by a paedophile ring. At the time, it could be understood as a mere idea, but now it sounds more like an obsession.
Any motive as to why Kate didn't answer the over 40 questions?
With the status of arguida she had that right and used it. However, answering them would be understood as the duty of a mother, as the obligation of a mother who was concerned about the disappearance of her daughter, that wasn't afraid of answering questions no matter how sensitive those questions were.
What type of feelings the McCanns hold on you?
In my opinion, they hold a grudge and have a desire for revenge, not only about me but also about all others who have their own opinion which differs to theirs, towards those who won't allow themselves be influenced by their toxic media campaign.
Would you have liked to have found their daughter?
We did everything to solve the case, however the authors of the civil action cooperated very little or nothing, they have always appeared more worried about themselves, with their own image, something that still happens today. I recall the words of the mother of the child when she was notified of her hearing as an arguida: “What will the press say? What will my parents think?”. We never heard a word of appreciation, from the mouth of the authors of the civil action, to all the police officers working on the investigation, men and women who neglected their own families, their own children and where far from their homes, while searching for their daughter. We only heard saying, as soon as the process was archived, that they were pondering suing the police. From all the investigators, they only sued one, the one who has publicly, in the exercise of his right to defence and of freedom of expression, made known what had happened during the first months of the criminal investigation.
“Surviving for six years”
Very thin - With family issues, plus the problems that he still has over the Maddie case and his worries about his daughter Inês, Gonçalo Amaral has lost a considerable amount of weight.
Since the Madeleine McCann case began, you saw your life turned upside down. You were forced to retire early from the police, you got divorced, you moved to Lisbon away from your daughter Inês, you lost your Father with whom you were sharing a house, you fell ill and lost weight... those were very harsh times.
The question already describes everything that has happened, except for my Mother's death in 2009, after a prolonged illness. At the time, in the sites that support the authors of the civil action, I was cowardly and abusively accused of having murdered my mother, they even described how I would have done it. There are people who cannot maintain objectivity, who cannot analyse the case without thinking of the names of those involved, if they could make that kind of analysis, just considering the child who disappeared and the circumstances that surround that disappearance perhaps they wouldn't feel the necessity of reviling and of breaching the privacy of someone who was merely trying to do their job. As to my private life, the last six years were years of struggle, for the physical, mental and emotional survival, trying to establish a new life, with projects and ideas as to the future, separating the situations.
You never felt defeated or depressed?
Luckily, I don’t know what it is like to feel depressed, the feeling of defeat or of relinquishment are not part of my nature.
You won in the Appeals Court  the injunction  that forbade the publication of the book Maddie, The Truth of the Lie, where you made the investigation known. Have they returned the books?
The books have been returned  to the editor [Guerra & Paz], but I haven't been reimbursed yet. There are still precautionary seizure of assets lodged by the authors of the civil action.
Any work or books in the offing?
I have a book written entitled Madeleine: Unfinished Investigation [Madeleine: Investigação Inacabada], for which I have not yet sought for a publisher. I am writing another book related to my experience as an investigator of organized and violent crimes, sort of a reflection about the way and methods used to investigate.
And after the trial?
My expectations for after the trial are to carry on with my life, accompanying and helping those who are close to me, and if circumstances offer that possibility, to intervene with solidarity in the Portuguese society. As my daughter Inês says, there are plenty other children and young people who are in need of healthy life projects, of being the actors and authors of their own lives, of being happy.
Amaral considers suing the McCanns for damages to his daughter
Have you considered suing the McCanns for damages concerning your family
I have pondered about that possibility, however it is still far to early to account all the damages and make a decision. I have to think about my daughter Inês and in the effects that such situation would encompass.
How have you been able to keep in touch with her?
It has been hard, distance doesn't help, but I try to be part of Inês' life. Amidst all this, I have been seriously worried about my child, who, not so long ago asked what could happen with this trial, if I could be arrested, etc. Inês has the same age that the child who disappeared would have if she was alive and reacts negatively to all the news that refer to this case, when the name of the child is spoken she says she has had enough of hearing about that name. To her there are other children in the world who need the attention, love and care and Inês is one of them. Her world was rocked when she saw her father being attacked and insulted, even before the book was published, and that world of hers collapsed due to the subsequent circumstances, she had to abandon the house where she was born, the school where she went and live far away from her father. Inês is a victim of the arrogance and lack of common sense of the authors of the civil action, who claim to be Catholics, but of Christians appear to have little or nothing.
in Nova Gente magazine, week from 21 to 27 of October 2013, edition 1936, pages 42 to 46, paper edition
McCanns could face court over report
by Gerard Couzens
THE parents of Madeleine McCann faced further pressure yesterday after ex-police chief Goncalo Amaral hinted he may fight them in court over a key report they allegedly held back.
Gerry and Kate McCann were accused at the weekend of sidelining the 2008 report by former MI5 investigators they hired after it pinpointed ‘anomalies’ in statements they and their friends made.
The result was that e-fits of the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s abduction – hidden for five years in the unpublished report – were only made public this month during a new Met Police appeal.
The report said Irish holidaymaker Martin Smith’s sighting of a man carrying a girl in pyjamas near the McCann’s Algarve holiday apartment was ‘credible evidence’ which had been ‘neglected for too long.’
Mr Amaral’s lawyer said last night he was considering raising the issue in the couple’s ongoing libel trial against the former police.
The McCanns are seeking one million pounds in damages over the ex-detective’s claims in his July 2008 book The Truth of the Lie that they faked their daughter’s abduction to cover up her death in their holiday flat.
Vitor Santos de Oliveira, who is representing Mr Amaral, said: ‘We are aware of the revelations concerning this report by the McCanns’ former investigators and believe they are very important.
‘It is possible I may try to submit it as evidence to defend my client but I haven’t decided yet.
‘Nothing’s been ruled out. We are analysing the relevance of the report and considering our position. We have no intention of introducing irrelevant material into this case because we respect the McCanns as people and have no intention of harming them for sake of it,’ he said.
‘But I can tell you that if we feel something is relevant in disproving the McCanns’ claims about my client then we will have no hesitation in using it.
‘I think the revelations about the suppression of this report are very important with regards to the ongoing criminal case.
‘It’s a report written by McCann-hired investigators who make strong criticisms of the couple.
‘As far as the civil libel case is going we are very calm,’ Mr de Oliveira continued.
‘My client’s arguments in his book have been backed up in court by his former police colleagues who say it was the police position in 2008 when the book was published.’
The ongoing libel case launched by the McCanns against Mr Amaral is due to restart next Tuesday.
in Irish Daily Mail, 29 out 2013, paper edition