Madeleine: Police say they are taking 'significant' steps to find her
hunt for Madeleine McCann was engulfed in a war of words yesterday as
criticised her parents' spokesman.
Detectives denied Clarence Mitchell's claims that police had deliberately
leaked statements from Kate and Gerry McCann and said they regretted his
an astonishing attack today Portuguese police union chief Carlos Anjos told
respected Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias: "Mr Mitchell wants to
discredit the Policia Judiciaria and invent excuses so the McCanns do not
come to Portugal
to participate in the reconstruction of the night she disappeared.
lies with as many teeth as he has in his mouth.
"Finally we know what side truth is on.
"While the Policia Judiciaria were fulfilling their duty of investigating
what happened to Madeleine, her parents' spokesman was manipulating public
outspoken head of
Portugal's Police Federation, who has
previously claimed his force has better things to do than look for Madeleine
McCann, added: "The person who hatched a plan was Clarence Mitchell.
needed to find an excuse for the McCanns not to take part in the
reconstitution, saying that he doesn't trust the Policia Judiciaria."
an extraordinary turn of events, Anjos told Jornal de Noticias his union was
offering advice to officers who felt they had been identified by Mr
Mitchell's leak claims and wanted to take legal action.
Yesterday, in a rare public statement - only the fifth in the 11-month
investigation - the Policia Judiciaria said Mr Mitchell should not have
spoken out, because the police operation had reached a 'significant' stage.
last night Mr Mitchell insisted he stands by his claims that the statements
were 'shamelessly' leaked to overshadow the McCanns' high-profile visit to
the European Parliament to
promote a missing child alert campaign last week.
Coverage of the visit was dominated by the revelations that on the morning
of May 3, just hours before she disappeared from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz,
Madeleine asked her mother: "Mummy, why didn't you come when we were crying
Mitchell said: "I'm not retracting a word of what I said. The Portuguese
police have yet to explain how these statements came to be leaked.
"Their criticism of me doesn't explain how that confidential material came
to be made public, and with very curious timing."
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Spokesman: Clarence Mitchell makes a statement on behalf of Kate and
McCann last year
warned police last week that 'the gloves were off' following the leaking of
the couple's police statements, and branded the leak 'brazen, shameless and
Detectives hit back yesterday after a meeting between the head of the
investigation, Paulo Rebelo, and public prosecutor Jose Cunha Magalhaes e
statement posted on the force's website, a spokesman said: "The spokesman
for the couple, Clarence Mitchell, publicly expressed the view to diverse
media outlets, that he was certain the Policia Judiciaria was responsible
for the leaks.
PJ want to make it clear that it is entirely false that this report included
material from the inquiry, which is covered by the secrecy of justice.
PJ regrets the baseless intervention of the spokesman, above all at a moment
when significant moves were being made in the investigation."
police refused to reveal what was meant by 'significant moves'.
There has been speculation that the named suspects in the case, the McCanns
and British expatriate Robert Murat, could be cleared soon. They have always
denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
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for Maddie: Portuguese police search the area around Priai da Luz where
Madeleine disappeaered. Tensions between the police and the McCann family
have grown since Kate and Gerry became formal suspects in the case
Mitchell said: "We had hoped the meeting (between Mr Rebelo and the
prosecutor) would result in something positive, not in them trying to blame
don't want to get into a row with them. None of this helps to find
Madeleine. We just want them to concentrate on that."
Since the disappearance of Madeleine - who would now be four - the police
have refused to comment on their investigation on an almost daily basis.
Police in Portugal
supposedly operate under strict secrecy laws which ban officers, witnesses
or suspects from speaking about ongoing investigations.
in practice the laws have meant there have been a series of anonymous leaks
and wild allegations from inside the police operation.
McCanns' wealthy benefactor Brian Kennedy hired Mr Mitchell in September, in
part to counter the anti-McCann smears circulating in Portugal.
46-year-old former BBC correspondent was initially sent to Portugal by the Foreign Office in
May, to help the couple deal with the intense media interest in their
forged a close bond with the McCanns, both doctors from Rothley,
Leicestershire, and quit his job with the Government's media monitoring unit
to become their full-time spokesman, on a reported £75,000-a-year salary.
Meanwhile, Portuguese police have yet to make any official comment about the
outcome of last week's interviews with the 'Tapas Seven', the friends who
dined with the McCanns on the night Madeleine vanished.