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Madeleine McCann: I am convinced she is dead, says former Portuguese police chief

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: FRIDAY 04 JULY 2008

The former Portuguese police chief who led the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has said he is "convinced" she is dead.

Goncalo Amaral said: "I am convinced of it, yes,"

Mr Amaral, 48, was removed from the case last October after publicly criticising British police.

He said today: "I am not saying that the English police were under the command of the McCanns, but they were influenced, as we were.

In a way, we were all influenced by the campaign that they organised, according to which the girl was alive and had to be found."

Mr Amaral retired earlier this week, saying he wanted to have "freedom of expression" over the case.

He described the decision to remove him from the investigation as "unjust and dangerous" and is expected to publish a book as soon as judicial secrecy restrictions are lifted, probably in mid-August.

Portuguese police have already closed their investigation.

The final case report has been passed to the Portuguese authorities who are due to review the completed file and decide if further action is required.

Madeleine went missing in May 2007, days before her fourth birthday, from a holiday flat in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant.

The McCann family and the British media have strongly criticised the Portuguese judicial police's handling of the investigation and Amaral's lack of communication.

Amaral subsequently claimed that British police had "been investigating leads created and cultivated" by Madeleine's parents and had "forgotten that the couple are suspects in the death of their daughter."


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