Who is Goncalo Amaral? Ex-detective involved in Madeleine McCann case – The Sun | The Sun

MADELEINE McCann's parents have lost a libel battle against a former policeman that accused them of being involved in their daughters disappearance.

So who is the former detective Goncalo Amaral and what do we know about him? Here's everything you need to know.

Who is Goncalo Amaral?

Gonalo Amaral is a retired detective who led the initial hunt when three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing from the Ocean Club holiday complex in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007 – 12 years ago.

He was removed as head of the investigation after criticising British detectives and claiming they were only following leads the McCanns asked them to pursue.

Amaral has remained an outspoken critic of British police and the McCanns and has repeatedly claimed Gerry and Kate killed their daughter.

He released a book and subsequent TV documentary called The Truth Of The Lie in which he cruelly alleged the McCanns faked Maddie's abduction to cover their tracks after she had been accidentally killed.

The McCanns have accused Amaral of waging a "relentless battle" against them.

Once one of Portugal's most senior detectives, since retiring he has moved back to the tough Lisbon suburb of Olivais where he grew up.

Amaral's probe into Maddie's vanishing is examined in a Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

In May, he claimed Maddie could have been abducted by a paedo who was close to her family without them ever knowing.

Speaking to Australian podcast Maddie, Amaral also claimed a relevant statement to that line of inquiry was initially withheld by British police, who were working alongside Portuguese authorities.

What has Amaral claimed in his book?

In the book, it is claimed that Maddie had died in the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz 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 as the Portuguese police investigation was closed in July 2008.

Amaral claimed it was entirely based on official evidence and Policia Judiciaria files but Kate and Gerry branded the book "downright lies".

The Truth Of The Lie became a bestseller in Portugal.

Court documents seen by The Sun revealed he made more than £350,000 from his book and the subsequent DVD.

Since the book was published Amaral has made further claims in controversial media interviews.

He said on Australian TV show Sunday Night that MI5 "for sure had an involvement" either by helping to hide Maddie's body or covering up the alleged crime.

He also suggested Madeleine’s body could be hidden in a well on Praia da Luz.

Just days later he told a Portuguese TV documentary he believes Madeleine was cremated in a church near where she vanished and the McCanns prayed in the first days of the search for her daughter.

When informed of Amaral's latest conspiracy theories, Gerry McCann said: "The less said about Goncalo Amaral the better."

Why did Goncalo Amaral and the McCanns end up in court?

The McCanns claimed the book was "unfounded and grossly defamatory" and launched legal action against Amaral in 2009.

In 2015, Kate and Gerry were awarded around £450,000 in libel damages by a Portuguese court.

However, in April last year Amaral won an appeal against the decision.

The McCann's lost a subsequent appeal in Portugal's Supreme Court in February 2017.

The court ruled that Maddie's parents had not been cleared of involvement in Maddie's death by the Portuguese police investigation being brought to an end in 2008.

A court statement said: "It should not be said that the appellants were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case.

"In truth, that ruling was not made in virtue of Portugal's Public Prosecution Service having acquired the conviction that the appellants hadn't committed a crime.

"The archiving of the case was determined by the fact that public prosecutors hadn't managed to obtain sufficient evidence of the practice of crimes by the appellants.

"There is therefore a significant, and not merely a semantic difference, between the legally admissible foundations of the archive ruling.

"It doesn't therefore seem acceptable that the ruling, based on the insufficiency of evidence, should be equated to proof of innocence."



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What is the latest in the European Court Of Human Rights case?

Kate and Gerry McCann have lost their 14-year libel battle against Amaral after a long legal battle at the European Court of Human Rights.

The case was previously thrown out by Portugal's highest court after they said he had the right to "freedom of expression".

The McCanns have gone to the ECHR in a final effort to avoid paying Amaral £750,000 in compensation after accusing him of libel – which saw sales of his book banned for six years.

The ECHR made an announcement on Thursday, confirming a judgement would be made this week. They said: 'The case concerns statements made by Mr Goncalo Amaral — a former detective inspector — in a book, a documentary, adapted from that book and a newspaper interview about the applicants’ alleged involvement in the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine McCann, who went missing on May 3 2007 in southern Portugal.

‘Relying on articles 6 and 2 (right to a fair hearing, 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 10 (freedom of expression) of the Convention, the applicants allege that those statements damaged their reputation, their good name and their right to be presumed innocent, and complain that they were unable to redress before the domestic courts.

‘They also argue that the reasoning in decisions issued by the Supreme Court on 31 January and 21 March 2017, at the close of action for damages brought by them, breached their right to be presumed innocent."

Technically, the case being considered by the ECHR in Strasbourg is against Portugal and the Portuguese justice system and not Amaral himself.

They could be forced to pay considerable costs.

A source close to them said: “If Goncalo Amaral continues to make these outrageous claims then he will find he has a tough fight on his hands.

“Kate and Gerry are not going to let him get away with what he said about them.”

Amaral’s earnings from the book are revealed in documents filed at the ECHR.

They show he made 342,111 euros from book sales in 2008-2009 and another 40,000 euros from the DVD spin-off.

The book was translated into multiple languages, with more than 180,000 copies printed. There are fears Amaral plans a follow-up.

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