Cleared ... Gerry and Kate McCann. Photo: AFP
BRITISH police helped to ''develop evidence''
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
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
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
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.''