In the latest of a series of extraordinary claims about the
case, Goncalo Amaral, says he believes that Maddy died
accidently in the McCann's rented flat as the result of a
fall and that her father disposed of the body.
The disgraced detective - who has sold 120,000 copies of a
book he has just published a book about the case - says an
Irishman had claimed that he had seen Mr McCann with a child
in his arms walking towards the beach on the night that
Maddy reportedly disappeared.
The McCanns dismissed the claims, made in an interview with
a Spanish newspaper, as "ridiculous".
Clarence Mitchell, the family's spokesman, said: "As Kate
has said today Mr Amaral is a complete disgrace.
"His comments are grossly defamatory and utterly without
Mr Amaral, who has now retired from Portugal's Judicial
Police investigation force, says in the El Mundo newspaper:
"The Portuguese police, like the British [police], and also
the prosecutor, who has now changed his opinion, thought the
same. We are talking of a death involving third parties, not
"In the bedroom blood and the smell of a body were found
just below a window where there was a sofa. The father was
there for a short time just outside this window having a
conversation with a friend.
"The parents said the girl did not have a bad dream. Maybe
the girl heard the father and climbed onto the sofa under
the window. But the parents had pulled it away from the
wall. so that the girl would not get out, and Madeleine
could have fallen."
The former policeman talks about the Irish witness seeing Mr
McCann carrying a child towards the beach and about sniffer
dogs finding traces of blood and the scent of a body on the
wall of the apartment and in the boot of a car the couple
hired 23 days after Maddy disappeared.
This prompts the interviewer to ask: "Gerry McCann buried
his daughter on the beach and then disinterred her and put
her in the boot 23 days later?"
Amaral replies: "We don't know. The Irish witness I have
spoken about saw on television Gerry with a child in his
arms arriving in the United Kingdom and declared it was the
same image that he had seen in May in Portugal. This man
went two days without sleeping when he realised what he had
The interviewer says that Amaral's claim implies that the
Tapas Nine - the McCanns and their friends who dined
together on the night of Maddy's disappearance - had all
ageed to lie.
Amaral says: "All of them. Because, in case you don't know,
British legislation covering negligence in caring for
children is very hard...In the United Kingdom, if you leave
a child alone for half an hour you will lose custody. After
the death of Madeleine, if it had been made public that it
was an accident, all of them would have lost custody [of
The former detective describes how on one occasion during a
meeting Kate McCann had lowered her head and seemed to be
totally distracted for several seconds before coming back to
being her usual self. "It appeared that she had escaped from
the role that she was interpreting," he says.
Asked how she reacted when she was asked if Maddy had been
killed by falling from the sofa he replies: "She didn't say
anything, she just lowered her head for a moment as if she
was on the point of fainting. She had an emotional crack
that lasted for just a moment."
Amaral adds: "For me, Gerry hid the body of Madeleine on the
beach. And after some days he transfered it to his car. We
were working in this direction.
"We lacked establishing the date, some details, but we were
on the way. The Irishman was on the point of coming to
Portugal, but it took too long, and there were external
pressures. In the end he didn't make a statement to the
A friends of the McCanns dismissed Amaral's claims as
"nonsense and legally extremely dangerous", and said that
Kate and Gerry would sue Amaral if he published his book in
Mr Mitchell said: "Mr Amaral needs to be very careful in
repeating those allegations. Kate and Gerry's lawyers are
watching his words very carefully.
"He is also completely at odds with with his own
Attorney-General who, in lifting Kate and Gerry's "arguido"
- official suspect - status, made it clear that there is no
evidence to suggest they are guilty of any crime