Disappearance of Madeleine Mc Cann/Archive 1 - Criticism of The Parents

Criticism of The Parents

The parents have been criticised for leaving their children alone while they ate at a nearby restaurant despite the availability of a babysitting service and a creche. There has also been criticism of the parents in the Portuguese media. Diário de Notícias insisted that the McCanns were suspects and claimed that on the night Madeleine disappeared they had not checked on the children, contrary to what they told police. The Daily Telegraph has reported "Portugal has been stung by suggestions that the investigation has been handled ineptly, and while there is much sympathy locally for the McCanns they have also been criticised for leaving their children alone."

Police questioned the couple on 10 May 2007 about why the three children were left alone in an apartment, with the patio doors unlocked, while they dined at the restaurant. In an interview with the BBC on 25 May, the McCanns acknowledged the criticism, and spoke of the guilt they felt. In reply to questions posed to them on 6 June at a press conference in Germany, when radio reporter Sabina Müller suggested that their behaviour was not normal for people whose child had been abducted, they denied involvement in any abduction of their daughter.

On the 10 Downing Street website a petition to the Prime Minister was started on 12 June 2007 requesting that Leicestershire Social Services fulfil their statutory obligation to investigate the circumstances which led to Madeleine and her siblings being left unattended in an unlocked, ground floor hotel room. In response, Leicestershire County Council said it was "discharging duties in... a full and professional manner" but the family has declined to comment on the petition. The petition was rapidly rejected, with the reason given being the language it contained.

Following criticism in the Portuguese media of the behaviour of the McCanns, on 21 July 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service lawyers held "informal discussions" to consider whether any offence may have been committed under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, which deals with ill-treatment, cruelty, neglect and abandonment of children under 16. The family said the calls to prosecute the McCanns were hurtful and unhelpful.

The lawyer of Robert Murat, Francisco Pagarete, criticised the McCanns in late November. He said that they "deserve to be cursed" for leaving their children alone. Gonçalo Amaral, who had originally headed the police investigation, criticised the parents in his book Maddie, a Verdade da Mentira (Maddie, the Truth of the Lie), published on 24 July 2008. A Portuguese judge issued an injunction, on 9 September 2009, that stopped further publication or sales of the book and also banned Amaral from repeating his claims. The McCanns travelled to Portugal for Amaral's libel trial, but on 11 December 2009 it was postponed for a month due to his lawyer falling ill. The trial had originally coincided with the publication of a second book by Amaral, A Mordaça Inglesa (The English Gag). The McCanns are also asking Amaral for 1.2 million euros in compensation for defamation. On 19 October 2010, it was announced that the Court of Appeal had overturned the ban on Sr Amaral's book, which has now been returned to sale, stating that the ban had broken "a constitutional and universal right: that of opinion and freedom of expression."

Read more about this topic:  Disappearance Of Madeleine Mc Cann/Archive 1

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