THE VERDICT in the Joana case, the little girl who disappeared from the village of Figueira (Portimão), on September 12, 2004, was announced last Friday to a packed gallery at the court of Portimão, with the jury finding both defendants guilty of the charges.

According to the ruling, sufficient proof existed to convict the defendants of the crimes they were accused of perpetrating – murder, abuse and concealing a body. However, the motives for the crimes were not proven. Prosecution witnesses had claimed that the girl was murdered because she had caught her mother, Leonor Cipriano, having sex with her brother, João Cipriano.

Leonor Cipriano was given a prison sentence of 20 years and four months, while João Cipriano was sentenced to 19 years and two months. The defence team has already announced that it will appeal against the sentences.