A former solicitor could be jailed for repeatedly accusing Kate and
Gerry McCann of covering up the 'death' of their daughter Madeleine.
Lawyers for the Rothley couple are taking civil action against Tony
Bennett to try to stop him making allegations that they were involved in
Madeleine's disappearance from the Portuguese resort of Praia de Luz in
Tony Bennett could be jailed for repeatedly accusing Kate and Gerry
McCann of covering up the 'death' of their daughter Madeleine
Bennett could be jailed for repeatedly accusing Kate and
Gerry McCann of covering up the 'death' of their daughter
Mr Bennett is secretary of an organisation called the Madeleine
Foundation, which repeatedly claimed the three-year-old was not
The 64-year-old, of Harlow, Essex, signed a High Court agreement in
November 2009, to say he would not persist with his accusations.
Court papers say: "The Defendant (Mr Bennett) undertakes not to repeat
allegations that the Claimants (The McCanns) are guilty of, or are
suspected of, causing the death of their daughter Madeleine McCann:
and/or disposing of her body and/or of lying about what happened and/or
of seeking to cover up what they had done."
Mr Bennett is accused of being in contempt of court for breaching the
agreement in leaflets, books and internet postings.
There will be a hearing at The Queen's Bench Division of the High Court
in London next week.
The McCann's spokesman Clarence Mitchell yesterday told the Leicester
Mercury: "The matter is in hand with Kate and Gerry's lawyers. It has
been pretty distressing for them.
"He has accused them of lying and that is a prima facie libel.
"Kate and Gerry do not want this but he (Mr Bennett) has persisted with
making hurtful and untrue allegations about them and they want it to
"They feel enough is enough.
"It is the case that he could face jail."
Madeleine's parents were considered suspects in her disappearance by
Portuguese police in the early stages of the investigation, but were
subsequently completely cleared of any wrongdoing.
In 2007, Mr Bennett launched a private prosecution against the McCanns,
alleging child neglect, but it was thrown out by magistrates. In summer
2009, the Madeleine Foundation delivered leaflets around Rothley
relating to the youngster's disappearance.
Mr Bennett was unavailable to comment yesterday.
In a story about his prosecution in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Bennett
said: "I have done my best to comply with the undertaking but I would
argue to the courts it was an unreasonably wide undertaking to sign.
"In the last two years, I have not written specifically about the
details of how she (Madeleine) might have died or how the body was
"Three of my colleagues in the Madeleine Foundation distributed a small
quantity of leaflets in Rothley. I would honestly say perhaps that was a
leaflet distribution too far."
He added on the Madeleine Foundation website: "It will be a strange
thing if the court decides that in this land noted for its commitment to
free speech, I am not allowed to discuss what is freely available to be
distributed, and debated, in most of the rest of Europe."