Maddie case official walks out

More controversy as Maddie case official walks out
Nidha Narrandes
17 September 2007
The Star

The official police spokesperson in the Madeleine case has quit over the way the McCanns were treated, it emerged last night.  Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa resigned in disgust at the way fellow officers were briefing “friendly” Portuguese journalists behind his back.  His departure on Friday came at an awkward moment for the police team investigating Madeleine’s disappearance.

Another senior detective, Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, is still working on the case despite facing trial himself.  He has been charged after another woman accused of killing her daughter allegedly had her confession beaten out of her by police.

Leanor Cipriano, who like the McCanns made emotional public appeals when her daughter Joana (8) went missing, was later photographed with her face black and blue after her police interviews.  She has since been convicted and is now serving 16 years for killing Joana, whose body has not been found.

Amaral strenuously denies covering up the alleged abuse said to have been carried out by three of his colleagues.

Yesterday it also emerged that the examining magistrate, Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias, has made an unprecedented appeal to be allowed to speak publicly about the Madeleine investigation.  Normally, judges and police are bound by Portugal’s strict “secrecy of justice” laws but Frias has requested authorisation from the Superior Magistrates’ Council to be allowed to brief the public.  But it is thought he will simply use the opportunity to defend the police action and explain why he is unable to make any more details public.

In recent weeks Sousa has been deeply frustrated because he – and the press – have been misled as part of a strategy to put pressure on the McCanns.  Two weeks ago he issued firm denials when journalists asked him to confirm that the results of DNA tests had come back from a British laboratory.  But two days later, Sousa was forced to admit on Portuguese TV that he had given out false information.

Sousa felt undermined by his superiors, who briefed Portuguese journalists personally on developments and then either told Sousa nothing or instructed him to deny them.  The tactic was understood to have been designed to unnerve the McCanns by letting them know the police were “on to them” in the hope the couple could be panicked into making a mistake.  Sousa has felt several times that his position was being undermined.

On August 15, Sousa told reporters that police were now “sure” Madeleine died the night she vanished.  When that appeared in newspapers the next day, Sousa was told by his superiors he had “misinterpreted” the information they gave him.  Yet now, a month later, it is clear that this death theory has long been the central plank of their investigation.

Meanwhile, a witness who could blow the police case apart was identified for the first time yesterday.

TV producer Jeremy Wilkins, on holiday in Praia da Luz with his partner and baby son, spoke to Gerry McCann during the hour when Madeleine went missing. The cardiologist was on his way back to the resort’s tapas restaurant after checking on his three children.

Wilkins said he found Gerry McCann calm and unflustered during a 15-minute conversation – which would be remarkable for a man supposedly involved in the death of his daughter.  Wilkins (36), from north west London, has repeatedly told police he is convinced of the McCanns’ innocence. – Daily Mail

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors