Gonçalo Amaral tells how the MadeleineMcCann case has affected his family life

Gonçalo Amaral tells how the MadeleineMcCann case has affected his family life
October 2013
Gente Magazine

The Polícia Judiciária Coordinator who originally led the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann speaks frankly to Gente Magazine.

He is worried about his youngest child. 

How did you react to the news that the English Police are investigating new leads?

Calmly and with tranquility. I know what this is about, what the parties want by putting out this news, but anybody who has followed the case through the years, will be able to discern the trashy publicity and what is really at stake. Also, the purpose of this is to the pressure on the Portuguese courts.

Are there changes in the case?

There are no changes, there is nothing new, it’s continuing as was in 2008 when it was filed away. The parties involved in the civil action seem to be very creative, so that is why we need to wait for a bolt of their creativity and imagination.

In the libel civil court case brought by the McCanns, they are asking you for 1.2 million Euros.

The reason behind this case is that offence was taken on an opinion, which was unthinkable of in a Democratic and free Portugal post the 25th of April revolution. In truth, there are no facts that support the demand for a pay-out based on libel.

The people that brought this action want to make it known that I and those that worked alongside me, Portuguese and English Police, as communicated in the book and documentary placed the search for Maddie in jeopardy as well as cause them psychological damages. This theory however fails on several levels.

Are you unhappy with the progress of the case?

My sensible nature doesn’t allow me to jump to conclusions, I will wait for the courts’ decision with calmness and tranquility. However, the publicity and disinformation campaign, the intoxication along the way, by the parties who have initiated this case, seems to indicate that they are not happy with the progress of the case because they are trying to influence the final result.

It was noted that the McCann friends who dined with them, the night Maddie disappeared that night, were not present in court.

Perhaps it’s a strategy on their part, but their absence did not go amiss. At the end of the day, who better than those that holidayed with the McCanns, throughout the years, and were house friends prior to the 3rd of May 2007, to give evidence about the “before and after” effect of the case on their lives.

Any witnesses important to your defense?

It was important to unmask the Psychologist in court by discovering that he merely has a degree in Social Sciences, and did one Psychology subject, meaning, that he isn’t a psychologist and isn’t qualified to assess the case.

Equally important was the testimony of my colleagues who worked with me on this missing case. They remembered an interview the McCanns gave to a weekly Portuguese magazine in September 2008, a month after the book was published, where they devalued its content, and said they would not sue me for it. Such is life.

We were subject to the biggest slur on us personally and professionally, it was a shameful and vile the campaign against us.

Did you request the case be heard behind closed doors?

It’s true, we wanted to avoid what is happening. Judgments in the public arena, disinformation campaigns, obsessions and how it impacts negatively on the decision of the court which needs to be free, objective and based on law.

When you were heading the investigation did you feel pressure?

During the investigation all our work was under the microscope, and we were subject to personal and professional insults. It was shameful. The book, Maddie The Truth of the Lie, covers the first six months of the investigation. The case was closed in 2008.

It’s normal for an investigation to have advances and setbacks, having a beginning, middle and an end. Therefore, it cannot be said that the case was finalised or that the evidence that existed at the end of September 2007, led to a different conclusion or was set aside.

What was your impression of the McCann couple after you met them?

Besides the mother of the child’s expectation that tea should be served, and the father acting totally disinterested in anything but the theory of an abduction, I remember that in his phone calls to England, he always referred to an abduction by a paedophile ring. It could have been a mere idea, but instead it was an obsession.

What is the motive that Kate didn’t answer more than 40 questions?

When they she became an Arguido she was entitled to that right and she used it. Answering the questions may have been the duty of a mother, a duty of a mother who was worried about her child’s disappearance, answering the questions without fear no matter how sensitive they may have been to her.

What type of sentiments do the McCanns hold for you?

In my opinion, they are very bitter and vindictive. Not only towards me, but to all those that have their own opinions which differ to theirs; and to people who won’t allow themselves to be influenced by their media campaign.

Would you have liked to have found their child?

We did everything to solve this case. The people who brought this civil case against me, are only worried about themselves, with their image, what happens today. I remember the mother’s words on finding out she was being charged, “What will the press say?” and “What will my parents think?”

From the mouth of the people who brought this civil action, they never had any appreciation for the policemen that worked on this case. Men and women that neglected their families, far from home, while searching for their missing child.

The only thing I heard, once the case was closed, was they would sue the Police. However, they ended up suing one of the Investigators, the one that publicly, in my right to defend myself, made known what had happened in the first months of the criminal investigation.

Six years of survival

Since the Madeleine McCann case began, he saw his life turned upside down. He was forced to retire early, divorced, moved to Lisbon far from his child, Ines, lost his father with whom he shared a house, fell ill, lost weight…

Were they difficult times?

This question described everything that happened, except my mother’s death in 2009 after a long illness. At the time, internet sites which supported the people who are suing me, accused me in a cowardly way of having murdered my mother. They even detailed the manner with which I murdered her.

There are people that cannot maintain objectivity, who can’t analyse the case without linking those involved. If they could analyse by merely focusing on the fact that there is a missing child, the circumstances that the child disappeared under, they would not feel the need to abuse and insult people that were merely doing their jobs. With regards to my private life, these six years were a fight for my physical, mental and emotional survival. It has forced me to establish a new life, with ideas and projects for the future, separating situations. My life will run alongside this case, but it will not cross or be influenced by it, which is not easy, but which I think I have found a way.

Have you found yourself feeling defeated or depressed?

Luckily I don’t know what it is like to feel depressed and the need to give up or feel defeated are not in my nature.

You won your action against the pulping of the Truth of the Lie. Have they returned your books?

The books have been returned to my Editor but I haven’t been reimbursed for them. There still hangs over me actions by the people that initiated this case.

Any work or books in the offing?

I have a manuscript entitled, Madeleine: Unfinished investigation. I haven’t as yet looked for a publisher. I am also writing another book regarding my work investigating violent and organised crime. It will concentrate on the method of investigation.

What will happen after the court decision?

My expectations are to continue with my life, help those close to me, to serve Portuguese Society, once the case is finalised. My daughter, Ines, says there are lots of children and young adults who need healthy lives, authors of their own lives, and to be happy.

Amaral considers suing McCanns for impact on his child, Ines.

I have been thinking about that possibility, and it’s too early for me to come to a decision. I have to think of my child, Ines, and how the extension of this situation would impact on her.

How have you kept in touch with her?

It has been very difficult, distance doesn’t help, but I have kept in touch with her. Amidst all this, I worry about my child, not so long ago she asked me what is happening with the court case, if I would be arrested.

Ines is the same age as Maddie would have been, had she lived, and reacts badly to any information relating to this case. Whenever she hears Maddie’s name, she says she had enough of hearing the name and doesn’t want to hear it anymore. To her there are other children that need the attention, love, care and she is one of them.

Her world was rocked when she saw her father being attacked and insulted , even before the publication of this book, she had to leave the house where she was born, the school she belonged to and to live far from her father.

Ines is a victim of the arrogance and lack of common sense of the McCanns, who claim they are Catholics, but as Christians they have little or nothing.


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