Portugal orders re-opening of Madeleine case

By Brendan de Beer, in News · 24-10-2013 07:46:00 · 6 Comments
Portugal orders re-opening of Madeleine case

Interest in the case of Madeleine McCann, missing since 3 May 2007, has gained renewed impetus following news on Thursday that the Portuguese Attorney-General’s office had ordered the re-opening of the case it shelved in July 2008 due to lack of evidence.

Portuguese authorities have ordered the re-opening of the case into disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It has also emerged that police in Portugal have excluded the possibility of Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, of having had any involvement in their daughter's disappearance.

A statement sent to The Portugal News explained: “The Public Prosecutor’s Office has determined the re-opening of the inquiry relating to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann following a proposal by the Polícia Judiciária and due to the presentation of new elements which justify the continuation of the investigation.”

While a case review has been underway in Portugal since January 2012, led by leading missing persons detective Helena Monteiro and her team in Oporto, official lines of inquiry were closed in the summer of 2008 by the Attorney-General’s office. At the time, the office said that the case would only be re-opened “should new evidence emerge.”

Reports this week had indicated that the PJ Police, perhaps as a result of headway made following last week’s Crimewatch programme on the BBC, felt they now had enough new evidence to initiate an official line of inquiry that could include the questioning of persons of interest and possible suspects.

It is believed the PJ team in Oporto uncovered shortcomings in the initial investigation conducted by their counterparts in the Algarve and were now actively pursuing the theory that Madeleine McCann was abducted from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. Helena Monteiro and her four-man team of detectives, who were handed the case due to their expertise and neutrality, having never worked on it before, are also reported to be keen on speaking to a number of people who were never questioned during the first investigation led by inspectors in the Algarve.

At the time, sources close to the case in Portugal told The Portugal News that they support the Portuguese review in that they hope it will conclude “an investigation which was ended while still in its infancy.”

Any new leads into Madeleine’s disappearance can only be considered by Portuguese police detectives once the case is active once again, which might explain the call by the PJ to have the case re-opened.

While Oporto detectives have been working on a review of existing evidence, six detectives from the PJ’s branch in Faro have been assisting their colleagues from Scotland Yard in the ambit of an international co-operation request based on the issuing of rogatory letters. PJ police in Lisbon stressed in comments to The Portugal News that at this stage of the review, the PJ branches in Oporto and Faro are “working independently.”

Following the heightened interest in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance following last Monday’s Crimewatch programme, detectives from Operation Grange said this week they had received over 2,400 calls and emails into the Incident Room since their appeal for information. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood travelled to Holland and Germany to appear on programmes there to repeat the appeal he issued in the UK.

He said on Monday: “I appeared on the programmes to directly appeal for the public’s help on the significant lines of enquiry. Over 350 people have phoned into the studio of Opsporing Verzocht in Holland and 500 in Germany through Aktenzeichen XY. He added: “Those enquiries are now being assessed and prioritised. Any deemed high being actioned. We have been very pleased with the information that is coming into the Incident Room. All of that material will be prioritised and actioned by the Operation Grange team.

The next stage of the appeal will be in Ireland later in the month.” It is estimated that Operation Grange has cost British taxpayers more than five million pounds and reportedly boasts 37 officials who are working on the review. According to the remit issued at its launch, investigators were told “to examine the case and seek to determine, (as if the abduction occurred in the UK) what additional, new investigative approaches we would take and which can assist the Portuguese authorities in progressing the matter. Whilst ordinarily a review has no investigative remit whatsoever - the scale and extent of this enquiry cannot permit for such an approach.”

In a related story, Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has this week admitted it would have been “very difficult” for officers in Praia da Luz to know whether they were dealing with a serious crime immediately after the little girl vanished. Speaking on LBC 97.3, he said: “I think sometimes these things at the beginning can be very difficult to deal with, you don’t know exactly if the child has just wandered off. It can be very difficult to know if you’ve got a very serious crime. “I’m sure for them that must have been a challenge. Anybody can go back after two, three, five, six years and say ‘why didn’t you do that’? That’s easy in hindsight. “We don’t like it when it happens to the Met, and I’m certainly not going to do it to the Portuguese. What I’m determined to do is to work together to make sure we’ve got the best chance to now try to get to the bottom of this terrible tragedy.

“There is a poor family there who’ve got the torture of not knowing whether their daughter is alive or not.” Madeleine McCann disappeared from Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007 from an apartment where she was sleeping with her younger twin brother and sister while her parents dined at a nearby restaurant.


The parents are not the first to leave their children alone while they are 50 metres away and wont be the last, only a fool thinks every parent is perfect.Lets hope Praia da Luz resort and alike have security put in place to deter further children taken.No country is any safer than the next.

by Troy from UK on 30-10-2013 11:07:00

The last part of the article bother the Heck out of me.

“There is a poor family there who've got the torture of not knowing whether their daughter is alive or not.”

They should NEVER have left their children unattended. Its this blatant negligence that led to poor Madeleine disappearance.

by Andy from Lisbon on 25-10-2013 12:12:00

It is sad that Portugal News aren't informative enough. To re-open the inquiry it requires new evidence worth investigating - the fact that recently some leads pointing to the possible presence of paedophile networks operating in the Algarve gave fuel to request a re-opening.
If it was the lack of information, than it would have been maintained open all along - but as we know in the first trimester of 2008, with the refusal from the main witnesses to help, the investigative team and the PM faced a wall.
It's re-opened now because the abduction thesis was not fully investigated.
However, the investigation has to be based on the previews existing data, and both hypothesis: abduction and death in the apartment are very much in the table, since none has been totally investigated.

by Kat from Algarve on 24-10-2013 07:34:00

Look forward to seeing the new evidence that reopens the case after five years.

by julie from Algarve on 24-10-2013 07:17:00

At last Portugal something positive for Madeleine and her family.

(Then we have Goncalo Amaral:- Well what have you to say for yourself-------OH DEAR - OH DEAR - OH DEAR)!

by Graham Perry from UK on 24-10-2013 02:58:00

Mr Amaral can write another book
titled `The Truth Of My Mistakes`

by Troy from UK on 24-10-2013 01:43:00
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