PORTUGAL’S TOP policeman has said detectives were “hasty” in making Madeleine McCann’s parents suspects in her disappearance.
Kate and Gerry McCann were named as arguidos four months after their daughter vanished from their holiday flat in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
Alipio Ribeiro, national director of the Policia Judiciaria (PJ), revealed he believes there “perhaps should have been another assessment” before this happened.
The PJ is leading the investigation into what happened to Madeleine, who was aged three when she vanished on the night of May 3.
In an interview with Portugal’s Radio Renascenca, broadcast today (Sunday), Mr Ribeiro said there was a “certain hastiness” in making the McCanns suspects.
The couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell welcomed the senior officer’s comments and called for the couple to be formally cleared.
He said: “Now that the national director of the Policia Judiciaria apparently accepts that they should not have been made arguidos, it follows that there is no case for Kate and Gerry to answer.”
Mr Mitchell said the couple’s arguido status not only damages “their reputation in the eyes of the world” but “is also directly hampering the search for Madeleine”.
“Many people who may have vital information have possibly not been coming forward because they have wrongly suspected the McCanns,” the spokesman said.
“If the Portuguese police, under Mr Ribeiro, now do the only proper thing by eliminating Kate and Gerry from their inquiry, they and our own investigators can work together rapidly and effectively to find Madeleine and to bring those responsible for her abduction to justice.”