Justice 4 ALL Madeleine McCann Family
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Post by christabel on Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:38 am


Madeleine McCann as she might look today at nearly 9 years old

Sunday April 29,2012

By James Murray

CRUCIAL leads that could solve the mystery of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance are revealed today by the Sunday Express.

These vital clues were never followed up by the ­Portuguese police, according to Isabel Duarte, the ­Lisbon lawyer acting for Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

Shortly after Madeleine was taken from Apartment 5A at the Ocean Club at Praia da Luz, five years ago this Thursday, a sniffer dog picked up her scent at a nearby car park.

Mrs Duarte said: “This was a significant moment at a critical time, yet there is very ­little about it in the police files. There doesn’t appear to have been any forensic work at the spot in the car park identified by the dog. More work should have been done.”

Scotland Yard last week identified 195 leads needing further investigation, but Portuguese law officials then announced they had no plans to reopen the case.

There were some 70,000 calls on the documents provided to the officers but I do not believe they have ever been properly analysed. It would be good if they did that now

Lawyer Isabel Duarte

One witness described seeing a small grey car parked near the McCanns’ apartment but it is not apparent from the files whether the owner of the vehicle has been identified and ruled out.

Mrs Duarte said: “Another very important lead was the sighting by a schoolgirl of a man looking at Apartment 5A. That man has not been traced, despite a good description from the girl. It is very frustrating coming across these leads and then knowing the position of the Portuguese police.”

Mrs Duarte said she knew that three phone companies had provided police with lists of all calls made by people in the vicinity of the holiday apartment before, during and after the night when Madeleine was taken shortly before her fourth birthday.

She said: “There were some 70,000 calls on the documents provided to the officers but I do not believe they have ever been properly analysed. It would be good if they did that now, concentrating particularly on the calls made late in the evening after Madeleine was taken on May 3, 2007. It would be interesting to see if any patterns emerged in the calls.”

The Sunday Express can reveal that a British woman staying at the Ocean Club saw a “suspicious” couple loitering around the complex. On May 2, the day before Madeleine vanished, the woman saw the couple sitting on a hill overlooking tennis courts used by Kate and Gerry.

Just by the courts is a grassy area where the couple, Madeleine and twins Sean and Amelie, played regularly in the afternoons.

The woman, whose toddler daughter became friendly with Madeleine at the children’s club, said the suspicious woman was talking and pointing while the man with her looked “nervous”.

The following day at 1.30pm she saw the same couple standing near her apartment at the holiday complex and later told the McCanns’ private investigators that she thought their behaviour was “suspicious”.

It is not believed that the couple have been traced or identified.

Three years ago the Sunday Express revealed an elderly British woman living in Praia da Luz saw a Portuguese-looking woman hanging around outside the McCanns’ apartment about an hour before the abduction. Astonishingly, the woman has never given a statement to police.

Despite the scores of leads which have not been investigated properly, Portuguese Attorney General Pinto Monteiro dashed the McCanns’ hopes last week by saying the case would not be officially reopened, adding that no “credible” new facts had emerged during Scotland Yard’s year-long £2million investigative review of all known evidence.

Portuguese officers in Porto in northern Portugal have for some months been conducting a cold case review, liaising with Scotland Yard, but they are not making fresh inquiries.

Porto is a six-hour drive from Praia da Luz and it is not thought that any of the officers doing the review work have been active in Luz.

As the Yard unveiled a new “age progression” image of how Madeleine looks now, just before what would be her ninth birthday on May 12, there was no activity at all at the Policia Judiciaria headquarters in Porto last Wednesday.

As it was a national holiday the woman in charge of the Madeleine case, Helena Monteiro, was not even at her desk. She refused to give an interview and referred all inquiries to police in Lisbon.

At one point a noticeboard with the new image of Madeleine on it was seen being moved into a large office but one officer there said: “This is not a major investigation for us.”

In a fresh blow to the McCanns, Mrs Duarte will tomorrow hand back almost 8,000 confiscated copies of a book by Goncalo Amaral, the Portuguese police chief sacked for criticising British police five months after the crime.

Mr Amaral alleges in his book that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A, a claim clearly rejected by Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who said last week that Madeleine could still be alive.

The book, called The Truth Of The Lie, was taken off the shelves in Portugal, after 180,000 copies had been sold, following legal action by the McCanns in Lisbon’s civil courts.

However, Mr Amaral won an appeal to get his books back on sale on the grounds of his right to freedom of speech and the deadline for Mrs Duarte to return the seized copies is tomorrow.

Mrs Duarte, 58, a widow whose late husband Celestino Amaral was a celebrated and widely respected investigative journalist, said: “I tried my very best to stop the book being published but I will do what the court orders and copies will be able to be sold again next week. Mr Amaral has a very narrow view of the case which in our view is completely wrong.”

In September she will be back in the civil courts in Lisbon for the McCanns seeking more than £1million in compensation in a defamation case against him.

She said: “Every one of the books sold will increase the amount of damages that we will be seeking from him.”

Mr Amaral is reportedly divorcing his wife Sofia, who lives in Portimao, 12 miles from Luz on the Algarve, and now lives with his elderly father in Lisbon while pursuing a new career as a crime author.

Mrs Duarte said: “My view is that Madeleine could still be alive and every effort should be made to try to find her. I will do everything I can to help my clients to that end.

“Mr Amaral’s thesis does not help, but a lot of people in Portugal support the McCanns and want the case solved. Scotland Yard is very well respected and people want their detectives to work with our police. It is so frustrating, especially for my clients, when matters are not pursued over here. However, the Yard involvement has given them new hope.”

Mr Amaral yesterday backed calls for the case to be reopened. “We were always against the closing of the case. It should be reopened,” he said.


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Post by rosemary on Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:04 pm

A new career as a "crime author"!!!???? It beggars belief so then does the very existence of this man.

And yet another catalogue of missed opportunities and tragic delays and cover ups....oh it breaks my heart to read it all.

But Go Isabel Duarte! Get every wretched euro out of the criminal when he starts to sell this rubbish book of his. Go get im Isabel.

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Post by dianeh on Tue May 01, 2012 5:10 pm

and now lives with his elderly father in Lisbon

My favourite part. Why didnt he just give the court this address that he was so keen to tell the reporter about.
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Post by Pedro Silva on Tue May 01, 2012 7:03 pm

he lives in the area of expo98 neighbourhood.

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Post by Pedro Silva on Tue May 01, 2012 7:04 pm

I agree with rosemary.

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