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Sábado, 6 de Outubro de 2007

British police attack Portuguese 'dirty tricks' over Madeleine

British police entered the war of words over Madeleine McCann to deny Portuguese detectives' claims that she was killed in her family's holiday apartment.

 

The Leicestershire force said it did not back the theory put forward by Portuguese detectives that the four-year-old died in the care of her parents, Gerry and Kate, which was leaked to a Portuguese newspaper this week.

The daily Correio da Manha quoted unnamed sources as saying British officers believed the missing fouryearold's corpse was hidden in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

But the force refuted the claim, saying: "Leicestershire Constabulary have been careful not to offer an opinion as to what has happened to Madeleine as it is not party to all the evidence as it is not our investigation."

Such a statement is unprecedented for the British force, which has been reluctant to provide a "running commentary" on the five-month-old case.

The move also highlighted the deep divisions between detectives in the McCanns' home county and those in Portugal.

A British source linked to the inquiry said: "It appears that Portuguese police are resorting to dirty tricks to divert attention from their troubled investigation."

The stand-off between the two forces follows yet another controversial week in the search for Madeleine.

Portugal's most senior policeman admitted that the search for Madeleine has been hit by a fresh crisis every day.

Alipio Ribeiro, national head of the Policia Judiciaria, said the case lurched from problem to problem.

He spoke out after details emerged of souring relations between the former head of the investigation and the public prosecutor, Jose Magalhaes e Menezes.

Goncalo Amaral - who was sacked this week - wanted Kate McCann to be remanded in custody after she allegedly refused to answer questions about forensic evidence in the case.

He demanded she be charged with child abandonment but the prosecutor refused, saying he would not issue any arrest warrants in the case, the weekly Portuguese newspaper Expresso claimed.

Mr Menezes also refused to send a letter to Britain, asking for Portuguese police to be allowed to interrogate the McCanns.

The row damaged relations between the two men and contributed to the decision to sack Mr Amaral on Tuesday after he claimed British police only investigated leads which helped the couple.

Portugal's justice minister was forced to step in to insist there was good co-operation between officers in the Algarve and Britain.

It also emerged that the six-strong squad conducting the investigation in Portugal had been halved in less than a week, to just three officers.

In the weeks after Madeleine disappeared on May 3, there were up to 200 officers involved in the case.

A source told another Portuguese newspaper, 24 Horas: "This is too small a team for the demands of this case so the investigation will now slow down."

 

DailyMail 06/10/07

publicado por arco íris às 01:28

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