Missing Madeleine
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Post  cherry1 on Fri 17 Feb - 1:26

THE HUNT GOES ON When did Madeleine McCann disappear, how old would she be now and who is Goncalo Amaral? All you need to know

Maddie's parents lost their court appeal to silence former policeman Amaral


16th February 2017, 11:30 pm

THE case of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance is still shrouded in mystery as investigators continue to hunt for the tragic girl.

Her parents Gerry and Kate McCann recently lost their latest court appeal to silence former cop Goncalo Amaral, who claims they covered up their daughter’s death in his book.
And the heartbroken parents may face a fresh legal battle as they may sue over a “lunatic conspiracy theory” TV documentary which has emerged, based on Amaral’s shocking accusations.

As the 10th anniversary of Madeline’s vanishing approaches, the McCanns have slammed claims that they plan to make money from their daughter’s disappearance.

Kate and Gerry also hit out at the “insensitive” way Madeleine was drawn into hit BBC drama The Moorside – based on the fake kidnap of Shannon Matthews.

When did Madeleine McCann disappear?

Madeleine vanished on May 3, 2007, when her family, from Leicestershire, were holidaying in the Algarve.

Parents Gerry and Kate left their three children – including toddler twins Sean and Amelie – sleeping in their apartment while they dined at a nearby tapas bar.

When Kate returned to check on the kids at around 10pm that evening she discovered that Maddie was not in her bed and was missing.

In September of that year Gerry and Kate, who are both doctors, were sensationally named as ‘arguidos’ by Portuguese police.

While arguido is often translated as ‘suspect’ it actually means a person being questioned under caution.

The following summer the McCanns were cleared by investigators in Portugal who declared they had exhausted all avenues in the case.

In 2010, Maddie’s distraught parents met with then-home secretary Theresa May to talk about the hunt for their daughter.

The following year, Scotland Yard launched its own review, named Operation Grange, into the case at the behest of the future PM.

Two years later Scotland Yard said it had uncovered new leads while Portuguese police reopened their case.

In October 2015, Operation Grange was scaled down from 29 detectives to just four.

Last December, the Tory government injected extra funding into the operation as cops investigate a new theory that Maddie was snatched by a human trafficking ring.

How old would Madeleine McCann be now?

Maddie would have turned 13 on May 12 2016.

In April 2012, UK cops released a computer generated image of Maddie showing what she would look like aged nine.

A number of potential leads have emerged since the little girl vanished, but none amounted to anything and no arrests have ever been made.

What are the latest developments in the case?

Portuguese judges said the couple have NOT been cleared over the disappearance of daughter Madeleine.

The Supreme Court has revealed the removal of their ‘arguido’ status nine years ago should not be “equated to proof of innocence”.

Portugal’s most senior judges claimed the investigation into the McCanns was only shelved in 2008 because of a lack of evidence.

Judges added there were “serious concerns” over the theory that Madeleine had been abducted.

Judges added their job was not to decide whether the McCanns bore any criminal responsibility over their daughter’s disappearance.

They said it would be wrong for anyone to draw any inferences about the couple’s guilt or innocence from their ruling.

The comments were made in The Supreme Court’s 76-page dossier after handing ex-cop Goncalo Amaral victory in an ongoing libel case last week.
Who is Goncalo Amaral?

Amaral is an ex-police officer who led the initial hunt when three-year-old Maddie went missing from the Algarve in 2007.

The now retired detective was removed as head of the investigation after criticising British detectives.

In July 2008, Amaral released a book called “The Truth of the Lie” which claims the McCanns faked the abduction.

What did Amaral claim in his book?

In the book, it is claimed that Maddie had died in their holiday flat and her parents faked her abduction to cover up the tragedy.

The book was released just three days after Gerry and Kate were told their status as formal suspects had been lifted on July 21 2008.

Amaral is understood to have earned £344,000 from his book before it was banned and a subsequent TV documentary.

Why were the McCanns trying to stop the book from being published?
Portuguese Supreme Court judges upheld the decision from last April to reverse the McCann’s 2015 libel win against Goncalo Amaral.

The hearing took place in private in Lisbon on January 31, 2017.

The couple could now face a huge legal bill, which had been frozen until the outcome of the final appeal.

Amaral was ordered to pay Kate and Gerry £430,000 plus interest in damages after losing round one of their libel battle in April 2015 over his book ‘The Truth of the Lie.’

Appeal judges reversed the initial ruling by a court in Lisbon in April last year, siding with the former police chief and overturning a ban on his book.

The libel trial was held to resolve the conflict between the rights of Gerry and Kate McCann’s reputation with Amaral’s right of freedom of expression.

The decision sparked a fresh appeal by the McCanns to the country’s highest law court.

The McCanns’ Portuguese lawyer Isabel Duarte lodged the couple’s new appeal last May after vowing to fight the U-turn by judges over Amaral’s book.

Criticising the ruling in favour of the ex-police chief, which a friend of the McCanns said had left them “seething,” she said: “This decision was an appreciation of the law and not the facts.

“We can appeal to the Supreme Court which we will do as we have instructions from our clients.”

What are the claims in Goncalo Amaral’s book?

In the book, it is claimed that Maddie had died in their holiday flat and her parents faked her abduction to cover up the tragedy.

The book was released just three days after Gerry and Kate were told their status as formal suspects had been lifted on July 21 2008.

Amaral is understood to have earned £344,000 from his book before it was banned and a subsequent TV documentary.

The McCanns told the Lisbon court staging the Amaral libel trial in the summer of 2014 they were left “devastated and crushed” by his allegations.

How many alleged sightings of Maddie have there been?

Potential sightings of the British three-year old followed up by British cops total 8,685 across 101 countries and territories, a Freedom of Information request by The Sun showed in October.

And there have been countless supposed sightings of Maddie if speculation such as that surrounding 'Maria' is included.

Most serious were the alleged sightings in the hours and days following Madeleine's disappearance.

On the night she was taken police received two separate potential sightings from members of the public -- however one was fully ruled out as being a holidaymaker with his daughter.

There were six reported sightings between 4-17 May in Portugal, including CCTV footage that showed a girl matching Maddie's description with two men and a woman at a petrol station in the town of Nelas.
Over the border in Spain there have been three reported sightings -- the latest being in April 2012 -- but all have been ruled out.

There have been roughly eight major alleged sightings in Morocco, two of which were in the immediate few days after her disappearance, leading to an Interpol investigation which was quickly closed.

British police have also been in the country chasing leads in the investigation.

Beyond these three counties there have been numerous alleged sightings across the world, including two in Belgium and New Zealand, six in Brazil, one in Bosnia, Sweden and India and many more.

There were as many as 29 in Malta in the month after the disappearance which led to the capital Valletta being briefly locked down.
One of the most serious potential sightings in Amsterdam was revealed when Portuguese police released their case files in August 2008.

It showed a girl of blonde girl of Madeleine's age and description told a shopkeeper her name was "Maddie" and she had been "taken from mummy".

The McCann's were not made aware of this alleged sighting at the time it was reported to police and it is not clear how if at all investigators followed it up.

The Portuguese case files contained a 14-page section listing potential sightings across the world in only the year since she disappeared.

Leicestershire Police released their tip-off files to the McCann's in July 2008 containing 81 reported sightings in the first year of the investigation.

A list of sightings from each of the 101 countries -- nearly all of which have been labelled NFA or No Further Action -- was compiled by The Sun.


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