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Maddie: Portuguese police 'came within an inch of jailing Kate McCann'

Original Source: MAIL: 15 DECEMBER 2007
By REBECCA CAMBER Last updated at 00:17am on 15th December 2007
Police came within an inch of jailing Kate McCann over her daughter's disappearance, a new book has sensationally claimed.

Detectives questioning the mother allegedly wanted to charge her with "homicide with eventual intent" - a crime that allows a suspect to be remanded in custody until their trial.

But the night before she was interrogated for the second day, the public prosecutor in the case advised the detective then in charge - Goncalo Amaral - that they did not have enough evidence, it was claimed.

The revelation comes as one of Portugal's top crime reporters states that if the McCanns were Portuguese they would be in jail by now.

Hernani Carvalho suggested that the couple, who are suspects in their daughter's disappearance, only escaped custody as they were given privileged treatment because they are British.

He said: "Many people are up in arms with the privileged treatment that was given to the McCann couple. If they were Portuguese they would have been in jail by now."

His comments follow the publication of a new book called A Culpa dos McCann - the guilt of the McCanns.

It claims that police were torn over whether to accuse her of "negligent homicide" - the equivalent of involuntary manslaughter - which does not allow police to remand a suspect in custody, or the more serious "homicide with eventual intent" - manslaughter.

The author, Manuel Catarino, editorial chief of Portuguese daily newspaper, Correio da Manha said Kate was "one step away from prison" on the eve of her interrogation on September 7 when she was officially named as an arguido.

He wrote: "The coordinator of the investigation, Gonçalo Amaral, and the prosecutor Magalhães e Meneses, discussed the possibility of serving Kate up to the criminal instruction judge for him to apply for her to be remanded in custody.

"But both men were consumed by doubts on the telephone: they did not know whether it was a case of 'negligent homicide' which did not allow remanding in custody, or whether to accuse her of 'homicide with eventual intent', a more serious crime, enough to remand the suspect in custody while they await trial.

"The prosecutor, with little trust in the solidity of the arguments they had to convince the instruction judge, preferred to wait for better evidence."

Goncalo Amaral, who was later sacked as head of the inquiry, brought Kate McCann in for questioning after sniffer dogs detected specs of blood in their apartment and the scent of a corpse on Kate McCann and in the hire car they rented after Madeleine vanished.

Kate McCann denied any involvement in her daughter's disappearance, claiming that the stains were caused by a nose bleed and she said that any scent of death may have come from her work as a family doctor in Rothley, Leicestershire.
No charges were ever brought against the couple who were allowed to leave Portugal days later.
Mr Catarino also claims that police and the McCanns had a heated row about whether to release photographs of Madeleine after she disappeared.

Police were said to fear that distributing the images may put her life in danger as any abductor would panic and kill her, but the McCanns insisted a publicity campaign was their best hope of finding their daughter.

But yesterday the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell dismissed any suggestion of a row and he hit out at the new book.

He said: "This appears to be another shameful attempt to make money out of the situation.

"I would refer any fair-minded person to the fact that neither Kate or Gerry have been charged with any offence and there is one good reason for that - there is no evidence because they are not involved in any shape or form in their daughter's abduction."


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