Kate and Gerry McCann are to sue Gonçalo Amaral, the former chief police investigator in the case of the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.
In response, Gonçalo Amaral has countered the action by saying he will be seeing them in court as he intends to sue them for defamation.
In a statement, the McCanns said: “We, together with our three children Madeleine, Sean and Amelie, are taking legal action against Gonçalo Amaral over his entirely unfounded and grossly defamatory claims, made in all types of media, both within Portugal and beyond, that Madeleine is not only dead but that we, her parents, were somehow involved in concealing her body.”
The statement comes after Gonçalo Amaral has made claims in newspapers, television documentaries and through his book, The Truth About The Lie, as to what he believes has happened to Madeleine McCann.
The McCanns continue in their statement: “The primary reason for our legal action is simple: to stop any negative effect that these absurd and deeply hurtful claims may be having on the ongoing search for Madeleine.
“We can no longer stand back and watch as Mr Amaral tries to convince the entire world that Madeleine is dead. Nor can we allow this blatant injustice to Madeleine, with its obvious risk of hindering our attempts to find her, continue.
“Mr Amaral´s entirely unjustified claims have not only brought indescribable devastation and suffering to our lives, they have hugely compounded the already immense pain and anxiety we have endured since Madeleine’s abduction.”
Gonçalo Amaral is quoted in Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manhã, as saying about the McCanns: “I am not scared. Let´s talk about the case.”
Speaking on Portuguese TV station TVI he added: “My lawyers are working on the case to take the McCanns to court for defamation, slander or perhaps false testimony.”