Maddie McCann: Portuguese and British Police reassessing abduction case
Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Notícias has reported that a new team of investigators of the Portuguese PJ police are working with Britain’s Scotland Yard in reassessing the evidence in the high-profile case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann – even though the case has not been officially reopened.
What's New — 09 March 2012 by Pedro Carreira Garcia
The high-profile case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from a tourist complex in Praia da Luz in the Algarve is being reevaluated by Portuguese and British police forces nearly six years after the events.
In partnership with Britain’s Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard), the Portuguese crime investigation police – Polícia Judiciária (PJ) – has been asked to review the case which was shelved in 2008 by the Portuguese Attorney General. A new team of PJ investigators has been appointed to sift through the evidence and eventually proceed with the reconstitution of the events in the run-up to Maddie’s disappearance, according to Friday’s edition of the Portuguese daily newspaper Jornal de Notícias.
The newspaper highlights the fact that British authorities are still actively working on the case, with a team of 37 investigators, after spending €2.2m on the case in 2011. According to the newspaper, Scotland Yard concluded that the investigation could only proceed in collaboration with the Portuguese police. After a controversial 14-month investigation that ended with multiple criticisms directed at both countries and the media, and several people being given arguido (formal suspect) status – including Madeleine’s own parents, Gerry and Kate McCann – , the case was closed by the Portuguese Attorney General Pinto Monteiro in 2008 due to the absence of conclusive evidence.
Even if the case has not been officially reopened by Portugal’s Attorney General, both police forces are already working together in a reassessment of the evidence gathered. Jornal de Notícias says that after the 2007 investigation led by the controversial PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral, who was replaced by the PJ’s former deputy national director, José Rebelo, a team from the northern city of Porto with experience in abduction cases, and with no prior connection with the original investigation, has been appointed to review the case.
The newspaper also reports that Scotland Yard have already made four trips to Portugal during the last few months to work with the new team. It is thought that one of the aims is to work on a possible reconstitution of the events of the evening of 3 May 2007. The newspaper stresses that this was not possible at the time of the occurrence, as both the McCanns and their friends – referred to by the British media as the “Tapas Seven” – refused to do so.According to Portuguese news agency Lusa, the current deputy national director of the PJ police, Pedro do Carmo, admitted that the Portuguese police “was the first to form a working group to reevaluate the elements” of the case, one year ago.
The McCanns reacted to this development by saying in a statement sent to Lusa: ”this is exactly what we were asking for. We hope that this reevaluation will lead to a reopening of the case in due time.”
The McCanns’ Portuguese lawyer, Rogério Alves, later told Lusa he viewed “this return to the investigations as a very positive sign in the expectation that it can shed light on what really happened to Madeleine, which is what really matters.”