This article is an extremely revealing report and carries some startling information such as information about: a copy of the formal indictment against Amaral, and his subordinates, the PJ inspectors Paulo Pereira Cristovao, Leonel Marques, Paulo Marques Bom and Antonio Cardoso. Obtained by the Daily Mail and also other information about one Michael Cook who was found guilty of murdering a child just outside Praia da Luz.
This report is long, but it is a MUST READ. (Thanks Christabel for giving us the link.)
Almost a year after Madeleine McCann disappeared from apartment 5A at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, signs on the ground in Portugal of the search for her or her body have become difficult to detect.
The posters and fliers bearing her photo are almost all gone.
All last week in Luz, I saw the police just once - two uniformed officers in a green 4x4, parked opposite the fateful flat from which she vanished during the evening of May 3.
The vehicle's doors were open and the two men peered at me listlessly while I made a few notes, before going back to their business: listening to a radio talk show.
The apartment gate was padlocked, but in the little paved front yard, a purple hibiscus and some dusty geraniums were coming into bloom. The Algarve spring is finally coming.
"It's a new season," said a British woman who works in a local restaurant.
"It's tragic they haven't found Maddie. But the time has come to move on."
Of course, moving on is one thing Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, cannot do.
They remain arguidos, official suspects, - as does Robert Murat, a British expat living in Praia da Luz who has strenuously protested his innocence - still supposedly being investigated on the grounds that they may have caused her death or disappearance.
"Intellectually, they have grasped what has happened," said Gerry's elder brother, John. "Emotionally, they have learnt, to an extent, to cope: one's psychology adapts.
"But they haven't really come to terms with it. There are times when they can seem cheerful, but then the devastation bursts through. Madeleine's disappearance is a cataclysm that is horrendous for them, and horrendous for all of us close to them."
"It's an intense, full-on existence for both of them," said the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell. "Gerry is back at work [as a cardiologist] full-time, but when he gets home the campaign to find Madeleine is like having a second job.
"Kate is determined to make family life for the twins, Sean and Amelie, as normal as possible.
"They celebrated their third birthdays in the way you'd expect - though since Madeleine went, they haven't celebrated anything else: Kate's recent 40th passed without being marked.
"But the truth is, it can't be normal. The whole situation dominates every aspect of their lives."
Last week, amid a bitter, public row between Mitchell and the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) over the leaking of Kate and Gerry's original interview statements to a Spanish television station, it became clear that the long-vexed relationship between the family and Portuguese detectives is close to breakdown.
Mitchell's insistence that the leak did not come from the McCanns sounds more than plausible: the statements' emergence overshadowed Kate and Gerry's visit to Brussels to call for a Europe-wide "amber alert" system to aid the hunt for other missing children.
Instead of their campaign, news coverage was dominated by the statements with the agonising detail that on the morning of the day she vanished, Madeleine asked Kate why she had not come to comfort her and the twins when they cried for her the previous night.
As on the evening of May 3, Kate and Gerry had been having dinner with their friends in the Ocean Club's tapas restaurant - in partial sight of apartment 5A.
However, the Portuguese police detectives' union, which has been a semi-official conduit for detectives' opinions about the McCanns for months, responded to Mitchell's demand for an inquiry to discover whether the leak had come from the PJ by calling him a "Machiavellian liar".
According to the union, the McCanns leaked the statements - with the sole aim of damaging the Policia Judiciaria.
Last autumn, after the McCanns were first made arguidos and sections of both the Portuguese and British Press were filled with untrue stories about them, apparently from police sources, relations with the PJ hit a low.
In October, after the first Madeleine investigation leader, Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, was fired from the case for telling a Portuguese reporter the British police were 'shielding" the McCanns, their trust in the PJ improved.
"For a while, the leaks and smears stopped," Mitchell said. Amaral, meanwhile, was last month committed for trial for alleged perjury arising from his conduct in another, earlier case of a disappearing child.
However, now the relationship is back at rock bottom. "The Portuguese justice minister needs to get a grip on his police force," Mitchell told The Mail on Sunday.
"We are confident those statements came from someone in the police chain. It's not just disappointing that after nearly a year, there is no sign of Madeleine: it's an absolute tragedy."
If the PJ had been "doing its job properly", Mitchell continued, the McCanns would never have felt compelled to engage the Barcelona private investigation agency Metodo 3, on which the Find Madeleine campaign has already spent £200,000. "Not a penny would have been spent on the private investigators," he said.
Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, who was fired from the McCann case
To Mitchell, the recent PJ visit to Britain to reinterview the McCanns' seven friends who were dining with them on the evening of May 3 was a diversion from what should be the inquiry's main thrust, finding Maddie:
"All of them put their case forcefully, saying nothing had changed from when they made statements first time around. The re-interviews suggest the PJ has nothing substantive to go on."
Mitchell said the PJ's performance meant the time had come for an "international inquiry" into their handling of the Madeleine case. "What we want is not just an investigation of this latest leak, but a much wider inquiry into their conduct.
"It's the sort of thing that could be done peer to peer - maybe by officers from Europol, someone senior from Scotland Yard, or the FBI. It's not about blame, but learning the necessary lessons."
It is an extraordinary demand, born of exasperation, which is certain to be resisted in Portugal. Yet an examination by The Mail on Sunday of the PJ's record --not only in its failure to find Madeleine, but in the previous two Algarve cases where children have disappeared or been murdered - suggests it may well be justified.
"You have to remember: until 1974 Portugal was a dictatorship," said a veteran Algarve journalist, who asked not to be named. "That was the climate in which the PJ was created. Their methods were pretty rough."
Brutal treatment of suspects was routine. One expatriate British woman told me how a friend of her mother had been arrested in the late Eighties on suspicion of breaking and entering a house - only to be savagely beaten in custody.
"She was bruised all over her body. Of course, the police said they hadn't done anything, and were never called to account," the woman said.
"This is Heartbeat country," another expat said. "People talk to the police, and so often they think they know who's guilty, but can't prove it. So they make an arrest and turn up the pressure in the hope of getting a confession."
In the Portuguese criminal justice system, confessions are still regarded as they were in the days of the Inquisition - as the "queen of proofs". British police, it has to be said, sometimes used to operate in a similar way.
But it has its drawbacks, as shown by the succession of miscarriages of justice based on false confessions, such as the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six IRA cases.
The abduction of a child by a stranger is, mercifully, a rare event: in Britain, there have been about seven cases a year since records were first kept in 1970. But it poses daunting challenges to investigators.
"In these circumstances, having close contacts in the community may be of limited help," said Mark Williams-Thomas, a former Surrey police detective and an expert in paedophile crime. "You need to progress scientifically. Above all, you must preserve the scene and every scrap of physical evidence."
It has been widely reported that in the hours and days after Madeleine went missing, the PJ failed to do this, reacting sluggishly to her disappearance and allowing apartment 5A to become contaminated. It was not the first time the PJ has made such mistakes.
Thirty miles east of Praia da Luz lies the resort of Albufeira, where a collection of clifftop villas known as Val Novio was once a thriving development, favoured by British expats.
Now largely abandoned, it was there, on November 19, 1990, that Rachel Charles, aged nine, went missing.
Neil McKay, a Bafta-winning TV scriptwriter who has specialised in factual dramas about crime, was on holiday nearby with his father at the time. "We were sitting in a bar having a beer one evening," he recalled.
"This English guy came in, saying a little girl had disappeared two days earlier but the police were refusing to mount a proper search. He said her family wanted every British tourist or expat to meet on the beach at seven next morning to try to find her.
"So we went. There must have been more than 200 of us. Tragically, it didn't take long to find her body, hidden among some pines."
Len Port, now an Algarve publisher who covered the case for The Portugal News, said: "The police search was highly inefficient, as, frankly, was everything else about the case. The way the police handled it was desperately amateurish - and ultimately, a travesty of justice."
Just as they would later do with the McCanns, the PJ soon hit on a suspect who knew the victim and her family. But according to Port, who attended his trial, it had "no real evidence. It was an unjust trial".
The defendant was Michael Cook, a British expat businessman who had taken part in the search, and in 1992 he was convicted and sentenced to 19 years. Having protested his innocence, he was released in 2002. Last week, he told of his ordeal for the first time.
"This has ruined my life," he said. "I still carry the scars from the six times I was stabbed in prison; as for the times I had the s*** kicked out of me, I long ago lost count."
Following Cook's conviction, his then-Labour MP, Bob Spink, became involved in his campaign. In a Commons debate in 1992, he said: "The only hard evidence linking Cook to the murder was bogus" - a claim by an elderly gardener that he had seen Cook bundling Rachel into his car.
However, Spink said, the police had hidden the fact that tyre tracks left by Rachel's abductor "were of an entirely different type" from those that would have been made by Cook's vehicle.
The PJ, Spink told the Commons, claimed Cook confessed - something he has always denied - and that they had tortured him: "Cook appeared in court, with black eyes and a missing tooth, and he was deeply bruised.
"It is claimed that Cook was hung from an upstairs window by his feet, that his feet were beaten until he could not stand, that he was tied to a chair and beaten, that he was deprived of sleep and that a revolver was forced into his mouth and the trigger pulled in a mock execution."
The PJ also claimed Cook had a record as a paedophile, Spink went on. This, too, was "entirely bogus". The trial judge had asked a PJ witness how he knew this: "The officer replied that someone, unnamed, had told him. The judge accepted that so-called 'evidence' as clear and unequivocal."
It emerged at the trial that while there was no forensic link between Rachel or her clothes and Cook's car, blood had been found under her fingernails - presumably that of her attacker. But when Cook's lawyers tried to obtain it to test it for DNA, they were told the samples had been "lost".
Cook told The Mail on Sunday: "I was with the PJ four days and they gave me no food nor let me go to the lavatory - I literally s*** myself and p****d myself. I was in that state when they first brought me to court.
"What I learnt about Portugal is that once convicted, you never get the chance to get it reversed, because they destroyed the evidence."
Spink, who is still MP for Castle Point, Essex, said yesterday that as the Madeleine case had unfolded, he had become increasingly concerned by the "disturbing parallels' between the way the PJ had dealt with Maddie and the murder of Rachel Charles.
"In both cases, there was incompetence at the outset. And then, having become convinced they had the right suspects, the police seem to have ignored other avenues of investigation - especially the possibility that both were abducted by a stranger."
After the death of Rachel Charles, it was not for a further 14 years that another girl went missing on the Algarve.
On September 12, 2004, Joana Cipriano, aged ten, failed to return to her home in Figueira, near Praia da Luz, from a shopping trip. The parallels with the McCann case are again disturbingly close.
Like the McCanns, Joana's mother Leonor mounted a campaign for her daughter's return. And like them, she and her brother Joao became arguidos. As with the McCann investigation from May until October last year, the man in charge of the hunt for Joana was Chief Inspector Amaral.
According to the Portuguese Press, one factor that influenced his desire to make the McCanns arguidos was Kate's supposedly "cold" demeanour in dealing with police and on television.
In fact, as the photo published on Section 2's Page 1 today makes clear, the first known image taken of Kate on the morning after Madeleine's disappearance, she was distraught.
With Leonor and Joao Cipriano, a similar cod psychology was evident. "Amaral said he made them suspects because when Leonor was on television, she was wearing black, and speaking of her daughter in the past tense," said Sara Rosado, Joao's lawyer.
"But the camera only showed the top part of her body. In fact, she was wearing red trousers.
"The reason why she was speaking of Joana in the past tense was that she was being asked questions in the past tense. For example, the interviewer asked, 'How did your daughter do at school?' And Leonor answered, 'She was bright, she was doing very well.'"
There was a further parallel with the McCann case - leaks, apparently from police sources, to the media. One of the most damaging, Rosado said, was the suggestion that human blood, probably Joana's, had been found in the Ciprianos' fridge.
It was only when Leonor and Joao went on trial for murder that it emerged that this had never been DNA-matched to Joana and might even have come from some meat.
The Cipriano case, which ended in 2005 with Joao and Leonor being sentenced to 21 years, made Portuguese legal history: it was the first murder trial where, as with Madeleine, no body was found.
According to Rosado, the direct evidence was weak - "all they had against Joao was a witness who said he saw him going up the street carrying a plastic bag . . . the prosecution said that inside was part of Joana's dismembered body."
However, Joao and Leonor both made confessions, which they later tried to retract.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained a copy of the formal indictment against Amaral, and his subordinates, the PJ inspectors Paulo Pereira Cristovao, Leonel Marques, Paulo Marques Bom and Antonio Cardoso.
On March 26, all five men were committed to jury trial by Joaquim da Cruz, an investigating judge. It is expected later this year.
The indictment, the result of an investigation triggered by a complaint filed by Leonor's lawyer in 2004, alleges that having been questioned for 48 hours, she confessed only as the result of a brutal assault.
The indictment states: "They threw her to the ground, kicked her and hit her with a cardboard tube. They put a plastic bag over her head, made her kneel on glass ashtrays . .. The accused believed that by causing her intense suffering, they would force her to tell them how she killed her child and where she put the body". This she finally did.
The police, it says, later took her to a clinic where her injuries were recorded. But the PJ officers claimed she had sustained them by throwing herself down the stairs, in an apparent suicide attempt.
Amaral faces charges of negligence and falso testimunho - perjury --under Article 360 of the Portuguese penal code, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
Cardoso is accused of fabricating a document. Marques, Bom and Cristovao are charged with torture, for which the maximum penalty is five years.
In Britain, it seems unlikely that officers facing charges of this kind would still be on duty, but last week Amaral was at work in the PJ office in Faro. Through his lawyer, Antonio Cabrita, he refused to discuss either the Joana or Madeleine cases.
As for Cristovao, he left the PJ after the Joana case to become a writer. Last year, as a columnist for Diario de Noticias, he became a prolific commentator on the Madeleine inquiry, writing a series of articles apparently derived in part from conversations with his former colleagues.
Last month, with the publication of his book The Star Of Madeleine, currently the Algarve's No3 bestseller, he has mounted a robust defence of the PJ in general and Amaral in particular.
"In the PJ's opinion, everything written about Amaral in the British Press had one purpose - to get him taken off the case," Cristovao's book says.
"He was a piece of meat on the barbecue of the British media, which accused him of drinking too much, dressing badly, having a prominent belly and spending too much time at lunch.
"He was too much the normal Portuguese policeman ... when what the British wanted was the British way of doing things."
The book, much of it composed of a fictional dialogue between two fictional PJ officers, Francisco and Joao, recycles some of the cruelest smears against the McCanns, such as the claim that Gerry did not get sufficiently involved in the children's routines. Such information, it claims, gave the police "an idea how the family functioned".
It also contains details that can have come only from inside the investigation: as a view of PJ thinking, it may well be as authentic an account as has yet been given.
If so, its conclusions are shocking, among them the view that Madeleine is dead and that if her parents did not kill her physically, they did so by their public campaign to find her.
"The publicity given to her face was her death warrant - that's if she really left that apartment still alive," he writes.
Cristovao refused to meet me, saying that too many British journalists were "racist".
But I managed to ask him whether he was not worried that the McCanns might sue him for libel, pointing out that they had been awarded £550,000 against four newspapers last month. "I'm expecting that," he replied. "I've no fear. It will be a big joy."
Visitor numbers on the Algarve are down this year, especially from Britain: since November, said Elderico Viegas, president of the region's tourist board, the fall has been about 12 per cent - not because of Madeleine, but because of the pound's fall in value against the euro.
"I don't think Maddie has anything to do with it," he said. "And that's my view as someone who has worked in tourism for the past 40 years."
At the same time, Viegas admits that the case has done little for Portugal's image.
"I do think it has been mishandled, especially in terms of the way the police and other authorities dealt with the media. Everyone here would like this problem solved, for there to be an answer."
Meanwhile, in Leicestershire, Cristovao's claims notwithstanding, Kate and Gerry McCann get through their days with their hope and belief that in the absence of any evidence of her death, Madeleine is still alive.
"Gerry copes by being active," Clarence Mitchell said, "throwing himself into his work and the campaign."
Kate, he said, was more vulnerable. "She takes the twins to nursery, and much of her time is then taken up with campaigning, too - dealing with emails; meetings with children's groups and supporters.
"But she does have her ups and downs. It might be a particular media report, or some new claim by the PJ that gets to her, and it can take some time to pick herself up."
The twins, Mitchell added, knew what had happened, and sometimes they "called" Madeleine on their toy telephones. "Nothing is hidden from them, and the house is full of pictures of Madeleine."
John McCann said he usually found himself thinking about Madeleine on first waking up. "You do your best to live a normal life, but in the end, you can't. And I'm her uncle. One can only imagine what it's like for Gerry and Kate."
I asked him how Kate and Gerry dealt with the error for which they have paid so heavily.
"Of course they can't help but go over last May in their minds. But in the end, you can't change what happened. What you can do, and what they have been trying to do ever since, is to change the future: literally to keep turning over stones until Madeleine is found.
"Kate and Gerry don't talk about their emotions much. Maybe it's their Scots-Irish and Liverpudlian backgrounds: stoicism is part of our upbringing.
"I don't mean the stoicism where you're ready to accept any old s*** but the stoicism where you try to deal with a problem and get on with it - that dogged determination.
"That's what Kate and Gerry have, and their ability to stay focused and try to help other families who may face a similar plight in future is inspiring."
The Daily Mailvv http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=560696&in_page_id=1879
Who do you think was the source for this leak?
If the culprit/s are found, what should be done about them?
What do you think? Do you think there should be an international inquiry held into the appalling blunders and the absolutely disgraceful way lies, smears and innuendos have been leaked throughout this investigation?
The McCann’s and Clarence Mitchell may be correct, it may not be about blame, but I am not so charitable as they. I want to see the PJ blamed for this shambles, this fiasco and I want them punished and the lessons learned, because if they are not punished, how will they learn?
If God forbid another child is abducted from her bed in Portugal while on holiday, how will the PJ cope?
Despite all what has happened this past year, they appear to have learned absolutely nothing and appear to worry more about their egos, their tourist industry , do you think the PJ are just plain incompetent and have inadequate training or could they be protecting and covering something else? Who knows?
Do you think the PJ have learned any lessons?
Apparently according to this report, another child went missing and the Portuguese police acted in much the same way as in Madeleine case.
How can we be assure that Portugal has a proper police force equipped for the £2.8 billion tourist industry, when it has show a remarkable and unjust attitude to such a serious crime as a child abduction?
Looking at the case of Leonor Cipriano and another case of Micahel Cook, it concerns me greatly that Portugal seem to be blind not only to the mistakes of their Polcia judiciaria (PJ), but they seem oblivious as to what needs to be done to correct such a barbaric and archaic system, what do you think should be done about the PJ and Portugal’s archaic Laws?
Look at the similarities of the torture claims between Leonor Cipriano and Michael Cook. Look at the similairties and the polorization between the Michael Cook case, The Leonor Cipriano case and the Madeleine McCann case and then try to think about the Casa Pia childrens home case that rocked Portugal and is now being heard in SECRET in Portugal.
- Ask if you agree with Kate and Gerry McCann, that there should be an International Inquiry held into the alleged mishandling of the abduction of Madeleine McCann, from her bed in Praia da Luz, Portugal on the night of May 3rd 2007.
- Maybe you could write a letter or send off an email to your MP, your MEP, the Prime Minister, The Foreign Secretary David Miliband, The Minister for Justic Jack Straw and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and ask that pressure be brought to bear in the European Parliament for an International Inquiry held by Scotland Yard, the FBI and Europol?
Something Needs To Be Done and Remember, Nothing Worthwhile Was Ever Easy! Just giev up an hour of yout time to do this for Madeleine McCann and all other innocent missing children. Because if we work together, something good can come out of this tragic situation.
Dear Kate and Gerry and the entire family,
if you by chance read this, please remember that there are a great many people that believe in you and support you in your efforts for Madeleine to be returned home to her loving family. Please do not, NOT EVER, pat any attention to the sick and twisted minds of some people who have issues of their own to deal with, they are mentally ill and need psychiatric help.
It may be some comfort to you to know, that I have never, not once met anyone in person that believes that you harmed Madeleine is any way and I know that this applies to most of the people that contribute to this blog.
Keep strong Kate end Gerry and you nans, granddads, aunts and uncles, one day soon Madeleine will be home with you, we pray for Madeleine and for you and send you our love and positive thoughts. xxx