Prison sentence for Amaral for covering up torture use in second missing child case
THE Portuguese police chief who accused the parents of Maddy McCann of being involved in her disappearance, has been found guilty of falsifying evidence in another similar case.
Goncalo Amaral, who was taken off the Maddy investigation after five months, has been given an 18-month suspended jail sentence by a court in Portugal.
He was found guilty of falsifying evidence to help cover up for three of his officers who were accused of torture in another missing child case.
He stood trial over the disappearance of eight-year-old Joana Cipriano from a village near Praia da Luz, in 2004.
Her mother, Leonor, and uncle, Joao Cipriano, were convicted of murdering her, although her body was never found.
They later claimed they were tortured into confessing but police said that Mrs Cipriano tried to commit suicide by throwing herself off a staircase.
Three inspectors – Leonel Marques, Pereira Cristovao and Paulo Marques Bom – were cleared of torture after a seven-month trial at Faro Court.
The jury nevertheless found Mr Amaral guilty of falsifying documents to help cover for them.
A fifth officer, Antonio Nunes Cardoso, was found guilty of falsifying documents and was given a two-and-a-half year suspended jail sentence.
Outside court, Mr Amaral blamed ‘political pressure’.
It was Amaral who came up with the theory that Maddie had died in an accident and her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, covered up her death and hid her body.
But he was taken off the case amid controversy over his handling of the investigation and took early retirement.
The McCanns were later cleared of any suspicion but Mr Amaral renewed his accusation in a recent book about the case which is now the subject of a libel suit from the McCanns.