Madeleine McCann detective claims investigation was 'tainted' as soon as it was an 'abduction'
Goncalo Amaral says Portuguese prosecutors felt ‘intimidated by the United Kingdom’ and claims Kate and Gerry McCann were given special treatment by British authorities.
The former Portuguese detective who led the probe into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance a decade ago claims the investigation was tainted as soon as it was deemed an ‘abduction’.
Goncalo Amaral says Portuguese prosecutors felt ‘intimidated by the United Kingdom’ and claims Kate and Gerry McCann were given special treatment by British authorities because they were doctors.
The ex-policeman refuted claims his officers’ probe was shoddy and says interference from the UK hindered the process.
He maintains devastated parents Kate and Gerry were involved in three-year-old Maddie’s disappearance on May 3 2007 in Praia da luz.
The former officer also pointed the finger at the British class system in an interview which will be aired on Portuguese news channel CMTV on Monday.
He told Portuguese magazine Sábado: “They belong to the upper-middle class and the British do not like their doctors to mess up abroad and get convicted for it.”
Retired Amaral, who was removed as head of the probe after criticising British detectives, claimed UK authorities tried to rush the process.
He said: “It is not normal for an ambassador from a foreign country to come to the place to push in the sense that ‘this has to be quick’.
“If the ambassador and even the consul had not appeared, the investigation would have been directed to what is normal - to suspect those who have responsibility for the custody of the child.
“(The) Judiciary, Public Prosecutor’s Office and the government felt intimidated by the United Kingdom.
“The mistake was the statement about the abduction. It was almost a lack of respect to make the decision (that it was an abduction) and to make it public.”
Portuguese detectives said on May 5 2007 - just two days after her disappearance - that they believed she was still alive in the country after being abducted.
Then director of the Policia Judiciaria Guilhermino Encarnacao made the announcement, stating officers were working on the assumption Maddie was being held between 1.8 and 3.1 miles from the resort.
One eyewitness told the Mirror Portuguese police arrived on the scene at the Ocean Club complex some 90 minutes after Madeleine vanished.
Our source also accused police of messing up key witness statements taken in the days after the tragedy.
But Amaral denies Portuguese police made a string of errors, instead accusing British police of trying to ‘protect’ the McCanns.
Amaral said: “When the couple left, the British police who were here to cooperate and help also left. The feeling was that the British police were here to protect the couple.”
Amaral accused Portuguese police of now ‘doing the politically correct’ thing by following Scotland Yard’s lines of enquiry, to ensure they do not compromise relations between the UK and Portugal.
He said: “The management of the Policia Judiciária and the prosecutor himself are doing the politically correct.
“In the United Kingdom and here the direction of the police walked with Scotland Yard. Do not investigate anything that might compromise your parents or friends. It is a mistake.”