reveals British police helped Portuguese create
Maddy cover-up allegation
Although Portuguese police were always blamed by
Gerry McCann for suggesting they were somehow
involved in a cover-up over the disappearance of their daughter,
Madeleine McCann, it now transpires that British police helped their
opposite numbers on the Algarve build the case against the couple.
the months following Madeleine's disappearance in May 2007, the
Portuguese police were branded "imbeciles" by furious relatives of the
McCanns, who later threatened to take legal action against the force
after they were cleared.
revelation that police in Britain "developed the evidence" that led to
the McCanns being treated as formal suspect – or
arguidos - comes with the latest leak of US embassy cables
cable detailing a meeting between the British ambassador to Lisbon,
Wykeham Ellis, and US ambassador
two weeks after the couple were declared
arguidos in September
2007, is published today by the
"Without delving into the details of the case, 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 cooperatively," Hoffman said in the confidential report back to
Ellis also urged Hoffman to keep any comments regarding the case "behind
cable sheds new light on the fraught months following the disappearance
of Madeleine from a holiday
in the Algarve resort of
Praia da Luz.
the time, the McCanns claimed that Portuguese police were turning their
focus on them to protect the region's tourism and deflect attention away
from their failure to find the three-year-old.
couple were monitored and questioned by investigators, who believed that
they had discovered sufficient forensic evidence to suggest that Maddy
had died in their apartment, before being stowed away in a
case against the parents was finally dropped in July 2008 and their
daughter's disappearance remains a mystery.
for the McCanns played down the significance of the WikiLeaks
revelations, telling 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
Dozens of British police officers and forensic specialists were drafted
in after Maddy's disappearance, but it is still not clear exactly what
role they played.
spokesman for the Leicester police, in the McCanns' home county, told
the Guardian they
simply coordinated the Portuguese investigation on a local level.