A former German detective with years of experience working on murder investigations has added his voice to the legions of people backing “disgraced” Madeleine cop Gonçalo Amaral.
Ulrich M., 60, was in Praia da Luz on the day Madeleine went missing in 2007. He has been following the various investigations ever since with the eye of a trained professional.
His “exasperation” at the way things have been handled down the years is one of the reasons for his decision to put pen to paper.
He writes to Amaral as the latter waits on tenterhooks to hear the judge’s final decision over whether or not he is liable for the €1.2 million defamation claim taken out against him by Madeleine’s parents five years ago.
Ulrich M. does not mince his words. Amaral’s theory, given the details available at the time, was “completely valid”, he tells the policeman.
The theory that burglars could have abducted Madeleine simply “does not fit the profile”, he claims – and indeed, in his opinion as a criminal investigator, Ulrich M. does “not believe in an abduction” at all.
Social media support for Amaral since he was “disgraced” – particularly by the British media – and removed from the original Portuguese investigation has been resounding, but this is perhaps the first time a trained police investigator has come out on record in this way.
Non-English speaking, Ulrich M. is unconcerned.
He claims the case is unique in that the Portuguese government “has allowed itself to be pushed around” by Britain, currently conducting the “Operation Grange” investigation into Madeleine’s almost eight-year-old disappearance.
“The way this case has been handled is particularly unique because your conclusions differed from those of the British government,” he told Amaral, stressing his “exasperation” at seeing a fellow policeman’s work “denigrated”.
The Resident learnt of Ulrich M’s letter as it was handed to us to pass on to Amaral. We cannot go into the details of Ulrich M’ theory as a criminal investigator with specific experience in murder cases as it would undoubtedly see us in legal hot-water.
As Portuguese news media has long pointed out, Amaral’s theory, expounded in his book “The Truth of the Lie”, has seen him financially-strapped since its publication.
Bank accounts have been frozen, the book ‘seized’ and withdrawn from sale for months, and his “civil position”, as the former detective refers to it, made untenable.
In an open letter to his supporters as the long-running trial for defamation came to a close, Amaral reiterated his belief that the parents of the missing child have “sought to ‘asphyxiate’ him financially and push him to a civil death” – a position from which he would be “unable to react judicially”.
“After five years, the parents of the child that mysteriously disappeared on the 3rd of May of 2007 in the Algarve were not able to fully achieve what they intended. I am alive, I’m able to financially sustain the civil suit, although not much more than that…”
Since that message, Projecto Justiça Gonçalo Amaral has issued a new bulletin saying the judge’s decision on the McCann parents’ suit should come after the judicial holidays which close on April 6.
“We trust in justice and serenely await the judge’s decision,” the message came to its close.
“God’s windmills move slowly,” Ulrich M. concluded in his letter to Amaral. “You are in a trap made by bad people, but I know that when someone shares the knowledge of the deed, the conscience always come out – even if it is unintentional.
“I have strong hope in your complete recovery and rehabilitation,” he tells the Portuguese “colleague” whom he has never met.
Endless column inches have been devoted to this eternal mystery but the truth is that Gonçalo Amaral has been fighting for his professional credibility in an arena bereft of mainstream support.
It is this reality that prompted Ulrich M’s hand-written letter which comes in the wake of rumblings from the UK that the Metropolitan Police may at last be considering a renewed scale back of the multi-million pound investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance.
By NATASHA DONN firstname.lastname@example.org