Gerry McCann returns to Portugal to relaunch investigation into Madeleine's disappearanceBy Matthew Drake
Last updated at 9:22 AM on 14th January 2009
Gerry McCann has made an emotional return to Portugal in an bid to build bridges with authorities and rekindle the search for his missing daughter Madeleine.
It was his first time back in the country since he and his wife, Kate, flew home from the Algarve on September 9 2007, four months after their daughter disappeared.
Mr McCann, 40, met with lawyers in Lisbon acting on his family's behalf in a bid to determine what can still be done to trace his child.
'We want to stress our desire to continue to work with the authorities as much as possible.'
'That is our priority and always has been.'
Madeleine was just three when she vanished from her parents holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007.
Still hopeful of a positive outcome, her father said he still hopes to find her alive and was determined to 'focus on what can still be done for the search.'
Mr McCann was met in the Algarve by officials from the British Embassy then flew to the capital Lisbon for a meeting with the Portuguese authorities.
He said it was important 'not to duplicate steps that have already been taken and not to waste resources.'
'The aim is to see what can still be done in the search for Madeleine.'
British and Portuguese police continue to receive 'information' and 'possible sightings' from different sources he said.
He added:'Like all parents of missing children, we want all the information to be investigated.'
Mr McCann said he was unaware of how mush money remained in the Find Madeleine Fund but admitted his family had 'scarce resources and did not want to waste them.'
Last night a close friend of the McCann's said Madeleine's father, who will return to the UK today felt the visit had been 'very positive'
The friend said: 'Gerry is very pleased with his trip and in future, when the time is right he may well return with Kate, as a couple together.'
The case was shelved by police in Portugal last July as detectives suspended any search for the youngster.
Mr and Mrs McCann have since trawled thousands of pages from the police files that were painstakingly translated into English.
They continue to analysis them and it is understood they are being assisted by a small team of retired senior British police officers.
Mr McCann said he expected his visit to Portugal would be 'the first of several' over the next few months.
He went on: 'We want to make it absolutely clear what's gone on in the past is, by and large, done and we very, very much want to focus on what can still be done for the search.
'That's what our priority is and it always has been, really. So any of these things are just not really relevant at the moment.'
Madeleine McCann's parents sue Portuguese detective over book claim that their daughter died in tragic accidentBy Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:22 PM on 18th May 2009
The couple say Goncalo Amaral has defamed them with his 'absurd and deeply hurtful' claims that Madeleine died in an accident and that they concealed her death.
Mr Amaral has repeated the claims about Madeleine, who vanished aged three while the family were on holiday in Praia da Luz in 2007, in newspapers, documentaries and in his book about the case, titled The Truth About The Lie.
The McCanns say the former detective, who was forced off the case after criticising British police, has caused 'indescribable devastation and suffering' to their family and his claims have 'obstructed' the search for their daughter.
But a source said the McCanns could be forced to give evidence in court in their action against Mr Amaral – presenting him with a stage from which to attack the couple.
His publisher, Mario Sena Lopes, said he was ‘looking forward’ to his day in court.
He is seeking a British publisher for his book after selling 250,000 copies on the Continent, including 175,000 in Portugal.
An English version has already been produced for America.
The McCanns also want to make sure a documentary produced by Mr Amaral for Portuguese TV does not win a wider audience.
Their defamation case, lodged yesterday in Lisbon, alleges that Mr Amaral has damaged their reputation ‘causing indescribable devastation and suffering’ and put in danger the well-being of their children, twins Sean and Amelie, four, and particularly Madeleine.
Mr Amaral was forced off the inquiry in October 2007 for criticising British police.
He was partly responsible for making the McCanns arguidos, formal suspects, in the case.
His book claims Madeleine, then aged three, died in a ‘tragic accident’ in the holiday flat on the night she disappeared.
Mr Amaral has never claimed that heart surgeon Gerry and GP Kate, of Rothley, Leicestershire, killed her.
The McCanns said they were taking action over Mr Amaral’s claims ‘that Madeleine is not only dead but that we, her parents, were somehow involved in concealing her body’.
They said it was ‘a disgraceful thesis that we are somehow involved in the disappearance of our much loved daughter Madeleine’.
They added: ‘We can no longer stand back and watch Mr Amaral try to convince the entire world that Madeleine is dead.’
They included their children as complainants in the action as ‘Sean and Amelie require protection as they prepare to start school this autumn. Madeleine requires protection from those who are obstructing the possibility of her being found’.
Mr and Mrs McCann have hired one of Portugal’s top libel lawyers, Isabel Duarte, 54.
They can force the book off Portuguese shelves and bar the country’s TV stations from repeating his claims if they can prove that he has accused them ‘even in the form of a suspicion...of something which is offensive to their honour or esteem’.
Unlike in the UK, the McCanns would be eligible for only nominal compensation. But a source said their motivation in suing Mr Amaral was simply to ‘censure him’.
‘He has been publicising his book across Europe and they just think enough is enough.’
Last month Mr Amaral announced plans to start his own ‘international’ private investigation to solve the mystery.
He intends to send his findings to judicial chiefs in Portugal with a request to reopen the case.
His publisher, Ms Lopes, said: ‘The conclusions of the book are also the conclusions of many Portuguese and British police involved in the inquiry.
‘We are looking for a publisher in the UK, but the McCanns have a very powerful influence in British society and a lot of pressure is being made to prevent the book being published. We have had a lot of letters from UK people who want it published there.’