Detectives have reportedly “apologised” for handling of case
In a statement issued today, Portugal’s PJ judicial police have clarified that “steps are continuing” as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, “to fully clarify the situation”.
The statement comes after the BBC in UK reports that “Portuguese police have apologised to the parents of Madeleine McCann for the way they handled the three-year-old’s disappearance”.
None of this is mentioned in the PJ statement*, which simply explains “that, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of an English child in the Algarve in 2007, steps are continuing to be taken to fully clarify the situation”.
The short text continues: “In this context, and as has been made public in due course, in close liaison with the German (BKA) and English (Metropolitan Police) authorities, formal investigation and forensic tests have been carried out in Portugal and abroad, as well as sharing information and revisiting testimonies.
“As is also normal in this type of situation and in line with good practice, face-to-face contacts were made with the relatives of the missing child, providing – only – the procedural situation within the scope of the ongoing inquiry pending before the Faro District Public Prosecutor’s Office”.
According to the BBC, “a delegation of senior officers travelled from Lisbon to London earlier this year. They met Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s father, and apologised for the way detectives investigated the case and treated the family.
“The McCann family has not commented on the apology and their daughter’s disappearance remains unsolved.
“Portuguese police now say their initial investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance was not handled properly, there was insufficient importance given at the time to missing children and that her parents’ position as foreigners in an environment they did not understand was not appreciated”, the BBC’s report goes on.
Anyone who remembers those days and weeks following Madeleine’s disappearance will recall the massive press pack camped in Praia da Luz, and the apparent extreme importance given by authorities, both Portuguese and British, to the child’s disappearance. Thus why this reference to “insufficient importance” comes now – 16 years after the little girl went missing without apparent trace – is unclear. There do not appear to be any new leads in this mystery in spite of the flurry of activity around the Arade dam earlier this year.
Reiterating that the Portuguese police “have now admitted that the investigation was not conducted correctly”, the BBC’s report ends with the information that “after years of investigation, Portuguese officers this year backed the German authorities, who believe that German Christian Brueckner (sic) murdered the child”.
The BBC’s report concludes that “Hans Christian Wolters, the German prosecutor in the case, welcomed Portugal’s apology, saying: “It’s a good sign. It shows that there is progress in the McCann case in Portugal”.
Again this observation is not immediately borne out by the content of the PJ statement.
*SIC Notícias on Monday evening carried a news item to insist that Portugal’s PJ police did NOT travel to UK to apologise to the parents of Madeleine McCann. They went, as the statement issued earlier today explains, to update the couple on the situation as of ‘now’.
‘Close liaison’ with the German (BKA) and English (Metropolitan Police) authorities can also not be interpreted as PJ police ‘backing’ the German authorities theory that Christian Brückner murdered Madeleine McCann.