Within 11 days, the British fighting fund set up to help the former policeman dubbed by UK media as the “Maddie Lie Cop” has reached over €13,000.
The target – set by young psychology student Leanne Baulch who was only 14 at the time Madeleine McCann went missing – is now less than €11,000 away, and donations are coming in bit by bit every few hours.
The extraordinary aspect of this latest appeal is that it has been taken up by so many and no matter what the size of donations, people show their feelings that Amaral has been “badly treated” for reasons no-one appears able to fathom.
Indeed, the €500,000 damages set by judge Emília Melo e Castro, plus the further €106,000 in interest – all destined to compensate the parents of Madeleine for the distress Amaral’s book The Truth of the Lie caused them – are reported to be the highest ever awarded against a Portuguese citizen.
With questions constantly appearing on the fund website asking “what is being covered up”, Brits are giving in droves, with donors ranging from grandparents to young people who were teenagers at the time Madeleine went missing.
One of the most recent of the 819 givers was grandmother Kathleen Conell who deposited her £50 saying: “I worry about your safety and only wish someone wealthy with courage would adopt your cause. The corruption in both the UK and Portuguese establishments must be stopped. Democracy is finished otherwise.”
As this latest example of “people-power” righting what they see is a wrong plays out, the mainstream British media is making much of the so-called string of burglaries that appears to have taken place on the resort from which Madeleine went missing just over eight years ago.
Sunday Express writer James Murray has written that British police “have established a pattern of attacks on children in the Algarve… which could lead to a host of other sordid crimes being solved”.
It’s a line that has surfaced every now and then in this infinite mystery and which many query, as if there truly had been a spate of attacks on children in the Algarve, the feeling is that local and national media would have heard about them.
As a source told us this week, what were originally described as “five or six cases, then morphed into over a dozen and suddenly exploded into 30 cases or so, if we are to believe the UK media”.
Meantime, the instigator of the British appeal fund raising money for Amaral’s appeal tells us she has been approached by a number of UK newspapers, but none of them are keen to write about her effort until it reaches the €25,000 target.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]