By ELOÏSE WALTON [email protected]
In a controversial documentary aired on Portuguese television on April 13, former police investigator Gonçalo Amaral presented viewers with evidence which, he believes, indicates that Madeleine McCann died from a possible accident at the Ocean Club apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
The documentary entitled Maddie: the truth from the lie, based on the book written by the former Polícia Judiciária investigator, was the most viewed programme on Portuguese television that evening.
This programme, made by production company Valentim de Carvalho Filmes, accompanied the police investigation following the disappearance of Madeleine and led the viewing tables with a 53 per cent share of the audience, which corresponds to more than 2.2 million people.
During the 50-minute documentary, narrated by Gonçalo Amaral, viewers were shown original police footage of the two British sniffer dogs which appeared to signal the smell of blood and cadavers in the McCann’s holiday apartment. The dogs were taken to all of the Tapas seven apartments but only signalled to their handler behind the sofa (scent of blood) and in a wardrobe (smell of human remains) in the McCann’s apartment.
Martin Grimes, the handler of Keela, the sniffer dog that can detect the scent of blood, said in the documentary: “She is very, very good and when she indicates there is human blood, there always is.”
The programme also showed how investigators tried to corroborate the evidence with forensic tests, but the samples were too small to produce conclusive results.
Statements made by the McCanns and their friends were also discussed in the programme, with Gonçalo Amaral insinuating the flaws in the accounts of the events, which led the investigating team to abandon the theory of kidnap. He added that from all of the evidence that was collected by the team, “the most likely scenario was for Madeleine to have died accidentally in the apartment and for her body to have been hidden”.
According to Gonçalo Amaral, there was a lot of political and diplomatic pressure, aimed at changing the focus of the investigation away from the McCanns, which led ultimately to his removal from the case. In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã (CM), the former PJ inspector added: “I have no doubts that Maddie is dead. I hope one day to discover Madeleine’s body.”
Following the showing of the documentary, McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell told CM that he, Kate and Gerry McCann were aware of the programme but had not watched it. He added that Kate and Gerry “are not going to make any comment on the actions of Gonçalo Amaral”.
Clarence Mitchell also told that newspaper that Madeleine’s parents are not going to take legal action following the airing of the documentary in Portugal.
“They are concentrated on the search for their daughter and on collecting information about the case. The second anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance is coming up. This type of thing would only distract them from what is really important,” he said.
The Algarve Resident tried several times to speak to Clarence Mitchell, but at the time of going to press, he had not returned our calls.
According to Manuel Fonseca, the producer of the documentary, it will be sold to the international market and “we have proposals from most European countries including France, Holland, Sweden and Poland”.
At the time of going to press, UK media reported that the McCanns were due to appear in a one-hour special with American chat show queen, Oprah Winfrey, which is to be broadcast on May 3.
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