At the libel trial in Lisbon’s Palace of Justice this morning, Kate and Gerry McCann insisted the book A Verdade da Mentira (The Truth of the Lie) by the former lead detective Gonçalo Amaral had caused great harm. They are seeking damages of more than €1 million.
Kate McCann gave evidence for almost an hour. She claimed that Mr Amaral’s book hampered efforts to find her daughter, Madeleine, who disappeared while the family were on holiday in Praia da Luz in May 2007.
She also claimed the book had caused her family enormous personal anguish by suggesting that Madeleine had died accidentally and that she and her husband had hidden the body and fabricated an abduction theory.
When she read extracts from the book after the Portuguese investigation into her daughter’s disappearance had been shelved, she felt distressed and defeated, she said.
After giving evidence, Gerry McCann told reporters outside the courthouse that whoever took Madeleine must have been laughing these last six years at the book’s claim that “there was no abduction and that there is no predator out there.”
He said he and his wife were “really pleased” with the action currently being taken by British and Portuguese police to find Madeleine.
They do not know whether she is alive or not, but “there is no evidence that she is dead,” he said. “We still do have hope.”
The court will reconvene on Thursday for closing arguments from Mr Amaral’s new lawyer, Dr. Miguel Cruz Rodrigues, and those of his publisher and the makers and presenters of a TV documentary based on the book.
No verdict is expected until after the court returns from summer recess.