Portuguese police have apologised to Madeleine McCann's parents for the way they investigated her disappearance, according to the BBC.
A delegation of senior officers travelled from Lisbon to London earlier this year to meet the missing Brit's heart specialist dad Gerry and said sorry for the way detectives probed the case and treated the family, the broadcaster's news show Panorama has claimed.
Madeleine vanished from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007 aged three while her parents dined with pals in a nearby tapas bar. She remains missing and would now be 19.
READ MORE: Madeleine McCann suspect 'entered holiday apartment using special lock pick kit'
For the latest news and updates on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, click here.
Four months after she vanished Gerry and his wife Kate were made "arguidos" – or suspects – in the Portuguese investigation. Both were questioned by detectives who believed they had staged an abduction and hidden their daughter's body.
Kate said she was offered a deal to admit covering up Madeleine's death in exchange for a shorter sentence. The couple's arguido status was lifted in 2008 but they remained under suspicion in Portugal for years.
Goncalo Amaral, the senior detective who led the case, was later removed from the investigation but went on to write a book accusing the McCanns of being involved in their daughter's disappearance.
He said he was defending his professional reputation. The McCanns' libel case against the former detective over his claims was thrown out by the Portuguese supreme court. The couple appealed to the European Court of Human Rights but lost that challenge last September (2022) and have been subjected to a vitriolic online trolling.
Portuguese police now say their initial investigation into Madeleine's disappearance was not handled properly, there was insufficient importance given at the time to missing children and that her parents' position as foreigners in an environment they did not understand was not appreciated, the BBC claim.
They broadcaster said the officers also briefed the McCanns on their ongoing investigation which supports the German police's theory convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner is prime suspect. The 46-year-old is serving a jail sentence in his native Germany for rape.
He has vehemently denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance and has not been charged with any crime relating to it.
Yesterday Portugal's Policia Judiciaria confirmed they had met with Madeleine's family to update them on the investigation but did not comment on claims they had apologised to them.
A force spokesman said: "The Judiciary Police clarifies that, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of an English child which occurred in the Algarve in 2007, steps continue to be taken aiming to fully clarify the situation.
"In this context and as has opportunely been made public, in close coordination with the German (BKA) and English (Metropolitan Police) Authorities, formal acts of investigation and expertise have been carried out, in Portugal and abroad, information has been shared and evidence has been revisited.
"As is also normal, in this type of situation and in line with good practice, face-to-face contacts have been made with the relatives of the missing child where only information on the current status of the judicial case, within the scope of the ongoing inquiry at the Public Ministry of the District of Faro, was transmitted.''
Hans Christian Wolters, one of the German prosecutors on the case, said a Portuguese apology would be a "good sign". "It shows that, in Portugal, there's development in the McCann case,'' he said, adding he believed Madeleine was murdered there and Brueckner remains the sole suspect.
Scotland Yard said it was a matter for the Portuguese police. The McCanns had not commented by Monday night. The latest update on the Find Madeleine Facebook page, which supports the police probe, said on October 19: "My apologies for not posting in a while. There isn’t much to report at this time. "The search for Madeleine continues.
"We will never give up until she is home or we know what happened to her. Thank you for continuing to be by our side and keeping Madeleine in your heart.'' The post contained a message reading: "A single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing.''
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.
Source: Read Full Article