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UK 'developed evidence' against McCanns for Portuguese

Original Source: BRISBANE TIMES: WED 15 DECEMBER 2010
Ben Quinn
December 15, 2010
Cleared ... Gerry and Kate McCann. Photo: AFP

BRITISH police helped to ''develop evidence'' against Madeleine McCann's parents

as Portuguese police investigated them and labelled them formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter, the US ambassador to Portugal was told by his British counterpart in 2007.

The meeting between the US ambassador, Al Hoffman, and the British ambassador, Alexander Wykeham Ellis, took place a fortnight after
Kate and Gerry McCann were declared suspects.

In a diplomatic cable marked confidential, the US ambassador reported: ''Ellis admitted that the British police had developed the current evidence against the McCann parents, and he stressed that authorities from both countries were working co-operatively.''

Madeleine McCann. Photo: AFP

The comments attributed to the ambassador appear to contradict the widespread perception at the time that Portuguese investigators were the driving force behind the treatment of the McCanns as suspects.

In one of two cables referring to the McCann case, the US ambassador notes: ''Madeleine McCann's disappearance in the south of Portugal in May 2007 has generated international media attention with controversy surrounding the Portuguese-led police investigation and the actions of Madeleine's parents.''

His British counterpart thought ''that the media frenzy was to be expected and was acceptable as long as government officials keep their comments behind closed doors''.

It was not until July 21, 2008 that the Portuguese authorities shelved their investigation and lifted the suspect status from the McCanns.

Responding to the contents of the cable, a
spokesman for the McCanns told The Guardian: ''This is an entirely historic note that is more than three years old. Subsequently, Kate and Gerry had their arguido status lifted, with the Portuguese authorities making it perfectly clear that there was absolutely no evidence to implicate them in Madeleine's disappearance whatsoever.''


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