Drs Gerry and Kate McCann and their "calculated hoax or abuse of trust".

A window becomes the key evidence against the McCanns, 07 October 2008
Periodista Digital

07.10.08 13:07

(PD). - The police officer who coordinated the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine, and who was removed from the case a year ago, has put into writing his reasons for suspecting the parents.

Carmelo Lopez-Arias explained on 'El Semanal Digital' that Gonçalo Amaral, director of the Criminal Investigation Department of Portimao, was responsible for coordinating investigations into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on the night of May 3, 2007.

On October 2nd, a month after Kate and Gerry McCann had been declared arguidos, he was removed from the case and, after retiring in July, has put into writing details of his work. The book was a bestseller in Portugal and arrives in Spain - as reported in The Weekly Digital - promising the same success.

It is above all a vindication of himself and his colleagues before the silence of those in charge of the Portuguese Judicial Police. He considers that they were the subject of an international campaign of defamation, encouraged by some of the British press, which aimed to present Portugal as a Third World country whose police and judiciary would be seriously brought into question.

The status of arguido (a suspect but not formally charged) has been considered unbecoming of "modern Justice", although Amaral defends it: with it a witness acquires the right not to incriminate themselves.

He also explains that if his departure was due to foreign pressure: it could even have been imposed by the United Kingdom as a condition for giving the go-ahead to the Lisbon Treaty, which in July last year achieved, under the Portuguese presidency, an end to the deadlock of governments of the European Union following the failure of the European constitution. It satisfied, therefore, an episode of political rivalry between two EU states, which ended up in frustration after what it describes as an initial fruitful collaboration between its police. Everything changed when the investigation took the turn that made it famous, transforming the McCanns from victims into suspects.

What happened that night?

Maddie. The truth of the lie is a comprehensive summary of the "Madeleine case". Amaral explains the steps that were taken and how there was something strange in the behaviour and statements of Kate and Gerry.

He admits that the police made errors: first, in the care of the crime scene during the first hours of the investigation, in the absence of clear protocols for such cases, and secondly, the same consideration toward the parents, to the extent that tests which in other circumstances would have been practiced (such as verifying the hypothesis of sedation of the twin siblings of Maddie, Sean and Amelie) were let pass at the outset because they could not think about pointing the finger at the parents of the child.

The indications that Amaral accumulates against the parents are known, and some police sensed it from the beginning, like the contradictions in the testimonies of those who had dinner with the McCanns on the day of the misfortune, and the same in that of Kate Healy.

Indeed, there are the findings of the dog Eddie (specialist in the detection of cadaver odour) and Keela (specialist in detecting traces of blood): their detections were clearly positive in the family apartment (and clearly negative in the apartments of the circle next to the family) and in the vehicle rented by the McCanns three weeks after the disappearance.

In the end, the Birmingham laboratory that conducted tests on the evidence found by the detection dog could not be conclusive with regard to identification, and this eventually led to the removal of the couple's arguido status and, in practice, closed the case.

Another tremendous indication is the testimony of an Irish family, the Smiths, that, according to Amaral's accusation, were never adequately investigated: it would undoubtedly place Gerry, on the night in question, carrying the body of a child in the direction of the beach... just in the opposite direction to that which has been affirmed - but in respect of a stranger who has been identified as Robert Murat - in the inconsistent testimony of Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCanns and diner in the Tapas.

The key test

With the final report from Birmingham confirming nothing, and without the testimony of the Smiths being incorporated into the case documents, the one principal indication seems to be against Kate - according to the story of Amaral - in that she says that when she entered (the apartment) the window was open and the curtains were moving.

This is absolutely impossible according to the collation of evidence, says the Portuguese police, and therefore would indicate that she is lying or some of her friends are, without any possibility of error, given the location of the window and the journeys that the group who undertook checks claim to have done.

Amaral does not hesitate to affirm that the McCanns had committed the acts for which they were made arguidos: concealment of a corpse and simulation of a crime. The Portuguese investigator suggests that the girl died that night because of a "tragic accident": perhaps Maddie fell to the ground, in a bad position, from the sofa.

Her father would have moved it away from the wall in order to avoid a fall from the window into the street, and it was on that wall that the dogs indicated cadaver odour and traces of blood. The concealment would have been pursued to avoid possible consequences in the custody of Sean and Amelie for negligence in the care of children.

And he also points to another reason why the parents now need to keep going forward: there is a fund of two million pounds linked to the search for Madeleine, and if it was discovered that the parents knew from the beginning that she was not abducted, they could be accused of the serious crime of "calculated hoax or abuse of trust".

The weak part of the thesis

Amaral says that the facts are incontrovertible and are part of the investigation. But DNA tests have not been definitive, the testimony of Smith was not subjected to a thorough review, and the contradictions in the testimonies would allow many explanations, not just for guilt or complicity.

Hence, in the Madeleine case, there is always the question of whether the McCanns are accomplished and calculating actors (there is evidence that neither are as cold as they are described, and Amaral contributes the same), or are parents for whom, to the greatest misfortune that could happen, has been added the blow of being criminalised.

Additionally, Amaral says clearly that the accidental death of the girl, the discovery of the corpse by her parents and the plan for her concealment had to happen, at most, between 21.00 and 22.30. That is to say, the hypotheses does not consider that this could happen between 17.30 (the last time that independent witnesses saw Maddie alive) and 21.00 (the hour at which those already known as the Tapas nine were dining), because at that time it would be meaningless to move the sofa from the window, being that the children were accompanied at that time, nor would there be the the need to conceal the death because there would not be negligence in their care.

But yes, testmonies have been collected about David Payne, a friend of the McCanns and one of the diners that night, that reveal suspicions of "deviant behavior in his relationships with children" since 2005. And Payne was in the apartment of the McCanns after 17.30... only that Kate says he was there for 30 seconds and Gerry that it was 30 minutes.

The thesis of Amaral therefore obliges us to think about the parents who are not only accused of harming their daughter, but that are capable of discovering their dead daughter and in little more than one hour hide the corpse and continue their supper in apparent normality, and later stage the abduction. And, in all this, some, or all, of their friends perhaps becoming accomplices.

Is it credible? Is it psychologically possible? That is the assessment of everyone who reads about this startling case, which is intermingled with legitimate police investigations, unfortunate leaks and sensationalism.

And where - in this case Amaral is right - there is only one victim in any of the scenarios: a girl who was going to turn four years and whose fate should not have become a leading player in thousands and thousands of pages of events around the world.

Posted by Vera on Truth for Madeleine here

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