MADELEINE McCanns’ parents were seething
last night after a top criminologist called
for a probe into claims they were swingers.
inspector Jose Barra da Costa urged detectives to investigate
rumours that the couple indulged in wife-swapping.
professor, who has assisted in several murder investigations,
admitted that the line of inquiry was “dark”.
But he said
Portuguese police should have checked it out in case it was
relevant to their inquiries into the disappearance of Madeleine
on May 3, just before her fourth birthday.
the detective in charge of the case, has now vowed to undertake
a “root and branch” review of the entire case, wherever it might
comments sparked outrage from Madeleine’s parents Kate and
Gerry, both 39.
weekend, Kate wept in church while hearing priests pray for the
“miracle” return of her daughter.
spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “This is extremely offensive,
deeply hurtful and completely ludicrous. It is not true to
suggest they are or ever have been swingers.
obviously defamatory and he – and all those who spread rumours
like this – had better be aware that our lawyers are watching.
Gerry are extremely angry. It almost defies belief that anyone
could cast such an obscene, entirely false slur on a couple so
devastated by the loss of their daughter.”
claimed he had been passed the “swinging” allegations by a
former police colleague who was working on the case.
had no evidence to back up the allegation, it had circulated on
said the couple’s home town of Rothley, Leics, was not far from
Loughborough – dubbed the “swingers’ capital of Britain”.
even sent undercover investigators to a swingers’ club in the
town to ask if anyone knew the McCanns.
though the couple have been named official suspects in the
disappearance, detectives have at no point suggested
wife-swapping has played any part in their inquiries.
Costa told Portuguese newspaper 24 Hours that police had bungled
by refusing to look into the rumours.
He said: “I
mentioned the swinging matter, because it was what people were
speaking about on internet sites and in the coffee shops of
Praia da Luz where the McCanns used to go.
given as one example of a point in the investigation that should
have been cleared up.
it’s dark, it’s an aspect which had to be checked out – just
like many others.”
blasted police for failing to pinpoint the “minute by minute”
movements of the McCanns and their pals the night Madeleine
He added that
the McCanns should have been charged with “gross negligence” for
leaving Madeleine and twins Sean and Amelie, two, alone in their
yesterday hit back by pointing out that 285 children had been
reported missing in Portugal since Madeleine disappeared – and
all had been found safe and well.
accused Kate of accidentally killing her daughter after giving
her sedatives. Police allege that the couple then disposed of
vehemently deny any involvement, insisting Madeleine was
On Saturday –
exactly six months since her daughter vanished – Kate sobbed
uncontrollably during a prayer vigil at the Church of St Mary
and St John near her home.
Catholics Kate and Gerry had earlier taken Sean and Amelie to
the church “for a few moments of solitude” before the service.
Sean ran up to a collage of photos of his missing sister,
touched each one and said: “My Madeleine!”