Thursday

The McCann's lies destroyed lives in Praia da Luz


Laranjo
16 April 2009 - 00h30

"The couple's lies destroyed Luz. Today, the Ocean Club is a shadow of what it once was. Our revolt is with the couple, because it was due to an invention that they destroyed our life. Many have lost their job and the possibility of closing is increasingly likely."

The unburdening, from an employee who still has his job at the resort in the Algarve - where Madeleine disappeared from two years ago, on the 3rd of May - illustrates the 'revolt' against the McCanns. They are accused of simulating an abduction and prompting the exodus of tourists from the Algarvian village.

Now, the more than one hundred workers that were dismissed over the last two years promise to advance to court, demanding the payment of damages. 'We're looking for a lawyer who specialises in Labour Law. What we want is for justice to be done. The company has alleged redundancies due to a shortfall in invoicing, and in the dismissal letters explicitly stated that they were due to the McCann case. It was because they advanced the abduction version that Luz stopped being sought as a tourist destination. The resort was the first one to feel the downturn," the same employee says, declining to identify himself.

Nevertheless, the Ocean Club workers assert that the company has adopted the correct behaviour for them. "After the upheaval that the McCann family has prompted, it was impossible for us to resist. Customers left, reservations fell right away during that summer. The work places were at risk."

The dimensions of the disaster were such that, in May 2007, when Madeleine disappeared from the apartment, the Ocean Club, which manages 400 units, employed 130 people. "Today we are 27. But for how long?", the same witness questions.

The stories of despair are numerous. Women and men, aged 40/50 years, who suddenly are jobless. "The village is small and everyone has been hit by the case. There is no capacity to find alternatives and there are many families who face serious problems. People who had been working for the company for more than 20 years and now, suddenly, they don't know what to do. And many of the shop owners are making an effort to keep their doors open until the summer. But if business does not improve, they'll be forced to close", a former employee concludes.

The impossibility of the child's abduction

Two years later, the mystery lingers on. And without the child's body being found, the hypothesis of homicide has to be formally abandoned. All that is left are the contradictions which hardly sustain the abduction theory that was advanced by the parents and turned the Ocean Club into a cursed place.

The McCanns assert that they left Maddie asleep with her siblings and that it was Kate who noticed the child missing. It was around 22:00, and the couple insist that every 15 minutes one of the group of adults checked the rooms to verify that no intruder had entered. During the first hours after the disappearance, Kate asserted that the window had been broken into. An abductor had entered the bedroom and had taken the little girl.

The laboratory tests did not confirm the theory. On the window, there were only traces of DNA from Kate. There is no trace of any stranger. Also the bed where the child had supposedly slept looked untouched. The abductor also had to pass by the two other children to reach Maddie. The possibility of a paedophile network was set aside because the child was only three years old. It is also strange that Madeleine didn't scream or wake up when she was taken.

Direct Speech

'I'll be a witness' (Gonçalo Amaral, former inspector of PJ)

Correio da Manhã - The resort's workers want to advance with a lawsuit against the couple, after the dismissals. Do you understand the motivation?

Gonçalo Amaral - I do not only understand it, I think they are right as well. I'm available to testify for them, if they so wish. Because the abduction is a lie.

- How has this case affected the village of Luz?

- Today, Praia da Luz is a ghost-village. The English have stopped going there.

- And should the parents be held responsible?

- I think so because they told a lie. They know that Madeleine is dead and that there were no abductors.
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Source: Correio da Manhã

Thanks to Astro for translation