Libel case pay-out for McCann parents

The parents of missing child Madeleine McCann have been awarded €500,000 in damages after a Portuguese detective accused them of being complicit in their daughter’s abduction.

Gonçalo Amaral, who led the search for the three-year-old in 2007, was on trial at the Palace of Justice in Lisbon over claims he made in his book, The Truth of the Lie.

In the book, Mr Amaral alleges that Gerry and Kate McCann intentionally covered up the death of their daughter and faked the sensational abduction that made headlines in Britain and Portugal for years.

He was found guilty on Tuesday of libelling the pair, and further sales of his book have been banned.

Sales of the book were originally banned in a court battle in Lisbon in 2010, but the ruling was overturned later that year.

The book has never been published in the UK, but Mr Amaral expressed an interest in recovering the copyright to self-publish the book in English in 2009.

It has sold hundreds of thousands of copies across mainland Europe.

The family originally sought €1.25 million in compensation, claiming the book’s publication could hurt the chances of finding their daughter as people could fail to come forward with important information if they believed the girl was dead.

A statement from family spokesman Clarence Mitchell stated: “We are delighted with the judge’s verdict today.

“We want to emphasise the action was never about money. It was entirely focused on the effect of the libels on our other children and the damage that was done to the search for Madeleine.

“A lot has changed in the six years since we launched the action and we are pleased that there is still an active investigation in both Portugal and the UK.

“We would like to remind people that there is still an innocent little girl who is missing and that those responsible for her abduction remain at large.”

The McCann parents were awarded £55,000 in a separate libel payment last year after the Sunday Times alleged they deliberately interfered with the investigation into their daughter’s disappearance.

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