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Madeleine McCann: Parents 'making things worse'

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: 22 SEPTEMBER 2007
By Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 2:13am BST 22/09/2007
The head of the Portuguese police federation hit out at Kate and Gerry McCann today, accusing them of hampering the investigation into their daughter’s disappearance.

Carlos Anjos, head of Asfic, said there was little point interrogating the couple again because they would, as they are entitled to, refuse to speak.

And he warned the investigation into the missing four-year-old girl could end up taking a "very long time".

"This is a difficult and complex case made worse by Madeleine’s parents attitude who do not facilitate or help the investigation," he said. "There is no sense in scheduling other interrogations as Kate and Gerry have already said they will speak no more.

"They are arguidos, a status which allows them to remain silent and they have already said that they will make no more statements.

"This case is here for a long time because there is no apparent motive and it will be very difficult to prove if it was homicide if Madeleine’s body is not found."

However, Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' spokesman, dismissed claims that the McCanns were using their right to silence to withhold co-operation with police.

Mr Mitchell said: "We are not prepared to comment on Mr Anjos's remarks but Kate and Gerry have always said they are willing to return to Portugal at any time to help the police with their investigations."

Mr Anjos's comments came after the McCanns added another top legal name to their defence team.

Rogerio Alves, President of the Portuguese Bar Association, will work alongside the couple’s first lawyer Carlos Pinto de Abreu. The married 45-year-old who has two children, has been a lawyer for two decades and worked on a number of high profile cases.

Confirming his appointment, Mr Alves said: "I am delighted to be helping the McCanns in their current situation and look forward to working closely with Carlos Pinto de Abreu."

He said the most important part of the case was to "restore justice and of course if possible discover the child."

It is understood the McCanns will have separate lawyers to deal with the allegations which have been put to them by Portuguese police.

Detectives in the Algarve are apparently working on the theory that Mrs McCann may have accidentally killed Madeleine and relied on her husband to help cover it up. The McCanns have vehemently denied the allegation.

The appointment of the two leading lawyers is thought to be one of Portugal's most expensive defence teams for people who are only arguidos, or suspects.

Mr and Mrs McCann met the two men with their British lawyers in London yesterday.

In Portugal, detectives were still waiting of the results of a toxicology report being carried out by the Forensic Science Services in Birmingham. There has been repeated speculation, dismissed by her parents as ludicrous, that Madeleine may have died from an overdose of drugs or sedatives.

A spokesman for the McCanns said: "We are not prepared to comment on Mr Anjos' remarks but Kate and Gerry have always said they are willing to return to Portugal at any time to help the police with their investigations."


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