'Madeleine is dead' claims ex-police chief in charge of the case

Goncalo Amaral

Goncalo Amaral says he is 'convinced' Madeleine McCann is dead

The former detective in the Madeleine McCann case has claimed the four-year old is dead.

Goncalo Amaral, 48, said he was convinced Madeleine will not be found alive and said that British officers only chased leads Kate and Gerry McCann wanted following up.

Amaral quit the force and handed over his gun and badge to bosses on Monday evening after 28 years as a police officer. He is now preparing to publish an "explosive" book on the case.

The father-of-three was in charge of the Madeleine investigation for five months before he was kicked off the probe for publicly criticising his British counterparts.

'I am not saying that the English police were under the command of the McCanns, but they were influenced', he said.

'In a way, we were all influenced by the campaign that they organised, according to which the girl was alive and had to be found.'

Amaral was thought to be the source behind many of the stories in Portugal suggesting the McCanns were involved in their daughter's disappearance.

He was also photographed enjoying long boozy lunches while in charge of the country's biggest ever missing persons case.

Gerry and Kate McCann

Gerry and Kate McCann influenced the investigation into their daughter's disappearance, it is claimed

On his final day as an officer he enjoyed a two-hour lunch in the seaside town of Portimao, newspaper 24 Horas reported.

He later marked his early retirement with a dinner with two police colleagues from Lisbon.

The disgraced former chief has finished writing a book, True Lies, which he plans to publish as soon as a judge lifts a secrecy order surrounding the case.

Amaral told 24 Horas the book "is ready" and said he plans to "carry on working in the area of criminal investigation, perhaps as a consultant."

He added: 'I am proud to have worked with the Judicial Police and to have worked with so many good people and excellent professionals.'

Amaral's book is said to contain "explosive elements" about the police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance.

Madeleine McCann

Amaral's book claims to contain 'explosive elements' about missing Madeleine

The detective's lawyer Paulo Santos said previously: 'It's not going to be speculative, but rather factual, with accounts from someone who lived the case one hundred per cent.'

Amaral told colleagues he quit the force in order to recover his "freedom of speech".
His book, the first inside account of the investigation, is certain to be an instant best-seller.

Amaral was kicked off the case last October 2 after accusing British police of being too close to Gerry and Kate McCann.

He claimed British officers only chased up leads Madeleine's parents wanted following up.

He was also overheard in a cafe accusing Gerry and Kate McCann of accidentally killing their daughter.

He was replaced by current chief investigator Paulo Rebelo.

Strict Portuguese judicial secrecy laws mean the Maddie case files have never been made public.

But attorney general Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro has said the secrecy will be lifted this month.

As well as being kicked off the Madeleine investigation, he was also removed from his post as head of the Judicial Police in the Algarve town of Portimao and transferred to nearby Faro.

Amaral, who lives in Portimao, is facing trial for allegedly covering up the torture of a woman who was later convicted of killing her daughter in 2004.

He will be tried for allegedly lying about the treatment of Leonor Cipriano following her daughter's disappearance from the village of Figueira near to where Madeleine went missing.

Leonor claims officers beat her into a false confession by punching and kicking her repeatedly, placing plastic plastic bags over her head and forcing her to kneel on glass ashtrays.

Leonor and her brother Joao were subsequently convicted of Joana's murder after a trial and jailed for 16 years.

Amaral is charged with negligence and perjury.

His close friend and former Judicial Police inspector Paulo Cristovao has become a media star in his native Portugal after taking early retirement from the force.

He writes regularly for Portuguese newspapers and magazines and has penned two novels including a fictional account of the Madeleine McCann investigation called The Star of Madeleine.

Fictional officers bring the 180-page novel to a close by staring out at the Atlantic Ocean after a massive land search for Madeleine.

Cristovao is also due to stand trial with Amaral and three other men in the Leonor Cipriano case.