Madeleine McCann: Mark Warner pulls out of Praia da Luz and Amaral’s libel case rumbles on
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news.
The Daily Star (Page 21): “McCann Blow Over Cop’s Maddie Book”
The story beings:
“The top police officer in the Madeleine McCann case expect her parents to lose their £1m libel battle against him”
Portugal achieved its freedom of speech laws after a period of brutal dicatorship. And that should be ‘former “top police officer”.
The Daily Mail online reads the Star and adds:
McCanns ‘set to lose £1m libel action’ over claims they faked Madeleine’s disappearance to cover-up her death, says police chief who made allegations in book..
The former police chief who published astonishing claims that Kate and Gerry McCann faked their daughter Madeleine’s disappearance to cover up her death expects them to lose their libel battle against him, it was claimed today.
Goncalo Amaral is reported to have said the early rulings by the judge in the case suggested her verdict may be ‘favourable’ to him.
The 57-year-old told Portuguese television on Friday that Maria Emilia Melo e Castro’s indications so far led him to believe he would win the case, according to the Daily Star.
What did she rule?
Mrs Melo e Castro also ruled it had not been proven Kate and Gerry, from Rothley, Leicestershire, were ‘completely destroyed, from a moral, social, ethical, sentimental and family perspective beyond the pain their daughter’s absence causes them’ by statements made in Amaral’s book.
She also decided it had been proven the couple felt badly about being considered responsible for hiding their daughter’s body – a thesis which Portuguese police behind a new probe into Madeleine’s disappearance have publicly rubbished – but described those feelings as ‘expectable.’
But she dismissed the idea Mr Amaral’s claims about the McCanns had stopped the Portuguese police investigating Madeleine’s disappearance.
The Express adds:
Mr Amaral, now retired and living in Lisbon after the break-up of his marriage, went on Portuguese television on Friday morning.
In a long interview he was asked why he wrote the book, and said: “The investigation was at stake, an investigation that was never defended here in Portugal, namely by someone at the top of the Policia Judiciaria and it’s me who defends those initial months of the investigation.”
Mr Amaral said the indications given so far led him to believe that the verdict, which is expected this spring, may be “favourable” to him.
Let’s wait to see what the rule of law decrees. But that libel action could turn out to a bad move for the McCanns.
In other news, the Mirror reports:
The holiday company at the centre of the Madeleine McCann case has quit the Portuguese resort where she vanished. Mark Warner will no longer operate the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz on the Algarve…
A source said: “Mark Warner ended the deal recently after trying to make it work for a few years. Now people feel the resort will become deserted. It is a huge blow. At the moment the Ocean Club will be run by the trust that owns it. The Mark Warner deal was for them to take over and run it for a few years. Sadly, the year after they moved in tragedy struck.”
The Mirror then sees fit to mention:
David Hopkins, the managing director, said at the time: “Our security is terribly robust.” But a company spokesman acknowledged many parents would stay away until the investigation was over.
While some critics focused on security, others questioned why parents Gerry and Kate McCann had chosen not to use a babysitter and instead left their three children in an apartment at the resort while they had dinner nearby, checking them every 30 minutes.
A quick online search coughs up this on Trip Advisor:
And this in the Mail:
A woman who repeatedly accused Madeleine McCann’s parents of neglect left her own elderly mother and father in squalor for five weeks.
Debbie Butler, who handed out leaflets suggesting Gerry and Kate McCann were responsible for their daughter’s disappearance, was supposed to be caring for her parents Alan and Dorothy Johnson, who both suffered with dementia.
But instead the 51-year-old went on holiday to Spain where she allegedly had an extramarital affair. She had stolen £18,400 from her parents to fund her trips away as well as to buy booze and consumer goods.
After being left helpless for more than a month, her 74-year-old mother died in October 2011. Butler’s sister then found their 79-year-old father, a former Met police officer and Royal Marines veteran, emaciated and covered in his own filth.
Butler was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence at Brighton Magistrates Court for fraud last week.
Such are the facts…