This excellent well researched synopsis written by English solicitor (lawyer) Anthony Bennett prior to the recent court ruling (Faro Portugal) in the case concerning Dr Goncalo Amaral, former coordinator of the Polícia Judiciária. (Portuguese Police)
This tale could be said to be about a barking mad lawyer, Marcos Alexandre Aragao Correia, a mother involved in an incestuous relationship with her brother who together murdered and subsequently chopped up the body of her own daughter.
And we can add to the mix, a compliant British Media, high level political interference from both UK and Portuguese governments, a corrupt and politically motivated Portuguese justice system, the misuse of the "Find Madeleine Fund" to pay for a firm of crooked Spanish private investigators to use whatever underhand and illegal methods to discredit former PJ co-ordinator Goncalo Amaral.
This story is about all these things and other things too numerous to mention in this introduction, but most of all it is about injustice, a three year old girl called Madeleine McCann who's existence in life seemed to have so little worth, but now in death her only worth is to be used in the vilest of ways in order to facilitate the ongoing self preservation of the two people responsible for her death, responsible for disposing of her body and responsible for the most widespread fraud and deception in living memory.
Those two people, NHS Doctors Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann.
I am pasting the article in it's entirety and I don't consider it a breach of blogger ethics as I lifted it from a board as opposed to a blog and it really is too important a piece of documentation that it's wider distribution must take precedent over such niceties.
I shall leave sufficient but not an overwhelming amount of links at the end of the article.
h/t Tony Bennett for researching, assembling and creating this article.
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The McCanns, a dodgy Portuguese lawyer called Marcos Alexandre Aragão Correia, and a brilliant detective, Gonçalo Amaral
by Tony Bennett
Have the McCanns been using the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Trust Fund’ to pay a dodgy Portuguese lawyer, Marcos Aragão Correia, (a) to promote the theory that Madeleine was abducted by a gang of paedophiles and (b) to bring a politically-motivated prosecution against Gonçalo Amaral, the detective who brilliantly solved the murder of Joana Cipriano and who for the first five months led the investigation into why Madeleine McCann was reported missing?
There is no evidence that Madeleine McCann was abducted. However, there is much forensic and circumstantial evidence that she died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz, the McCanns’ apartment, and that her parents, possibly with help from some of their friends, hid or disposed of her body.
A dodgy, possibly corrupt, Portuguese lawyer called Marcos Aragão Correia was contacted by the private detective agency, Método 3, allegedly investigating Madeleine’s disappearance and supposedly trying to find her. Between them, Método 3 and Mr Aragão Correia cooked up a story saying that they had received information from the underworld that Madeleine had been abducted, raped and killed - and her body dumped in a ‘murky lake’. Mr Correio then also claimed to have had a ‘supernatural indication’ or ‘vision’ that pointed to the Arade Dam as a place to look for the body. A very public search was conducted there with the media on hand to record every discovery, for example a 17-foot ‘knotted cord’ and the ‘a bag of bones’. These ‘discoveries’ helped to promote the theory that Madeleine was abducted by a paedophile. Later - in mysterious circumstances - the same dodgy lawyer was appointed by Leonor Cipriano, the evil murderer of her 8-year-old daughter Joana Cipriano, to represent her in her claim that she had been tortured and beaten by four police officers under the control of Gonçalo Amaral, who was the senior investigating officer who secured her conviction for murdering - together with her brother and the girl’s own uncle - her own daughter. The lawyer told a court in Faro that he had been asked by Método 3 to represent Leonor Cipriano and in particular to ‘get’ Gonçalo Amaral. Método 3 denied this.
The Helping to Find Madeleine Fund was ostensibly set up to find Madeleine. It raised millions of pounds from the general public. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were used from that fund to pay Método 3, on the pretext that they were using that money to try to find Madeleine. In fact some of that money was being used to fund Aragão Corriea (a) to make a bogus claim that he ‘knew’ Madeleine had been raped, killed and then thrown into a reservoir (b) to conduct a bogus search for Madeleine with the media on hand to record discoveries allegedly made during the search and (c) to use every endeavour to ‘nail’ Gonçalo Amaral on a bogus charge of being directly involved in torturing and beating Leonor Cipriano.
It is probable that the McCanns knew how the Helping to Find Madeleine money was being spent and that they knew it was being used to fund the various activities of Mr Aragão Correio.
Madeleine McCann wasn’t abducted
First, some context – and I’ll assume that some of you reading this will not be acquainted with many of the background facts which are relevant to this particular matter.
We need to say first of all that we don’t believe the McCanns’ claim that Madeleine McCann was abducted, for the reasons we’ve already set out on our website in our ’30 Reasons’ article, and which we develop further in our forthcoming book on the case: “What really happened to Madeleine McCann?- 60 reasons which suggest she was not abducted”. We think that she died in Apartment 5A at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, the apartment the McCanns stayed in from 28 April to 4 May 2007 - and our view is precisely the same as that of the first senior investigating officer in the case, Mr Gonçalo Amaral.
And that immediately brings us to the focal point of this story, which centres on a Portuguese lawyer, Marcos Aragão Correia, who at the time of writing (November 2008) has been representing a lady - if we can call her that - who claims that she was beaten up by police under Mr Amaral’s control, and that Mr Amaral covered up this beating. The question we shall return to and discuss in detail is: who was directing and funding Mr Aragão Correia to become involved in this action?
Before we go any further, who is this ‘lady’ who claims to have been beaten up by Amaral’s detective? Well, her name is Leonor Cipriano, a name that should send shivers down all our spines.
Solving the murder of Joana Cipriano
Back in 2003, Ms Leonor Cipriano was the mother of an 8-year-old girl, Joana. According to her, Joana went missing, though it was a day or more before she actually got round to telling everyone she was missing. Her story was that she had gone down to the village shop to buy one or two provisions, and gone missing, probably abducted by an opportunistic predator. The media soon became involved and there was a nationwide hunt for Joana.
But she wasn’t missing. She had in fact been brutally murdered in her own home. In fact, Joana had been out of the house, and returned to find her mother together with her mother’s brother - her uncle in other words. As she did so, she realised an awful truth, that her mother and her uncle were having an illegal, sexual, incestuous relationship. She tried to run out of the house, only to be pulled back inside by a now-furious uncle who was determined that Joana should not find out their guilty secret. The police later found Joana’s fingerprints on the front door jambs as she frantically tried to make her escape, only to be pulled back in again by her far more powerful uncle.
Within minutes, she was first tortured and then brutally killed. The wicked uncle then used a saw to chop up her body, and stored it in a freezer whilst he and Joana’s mother worked out how to get rid of it. They did so in the end by placing what was left of Joana’s body in an old secondhand car, then ordering a Spanish car-crushing company to take the car away and destroy it.
The detective who investigated Joana’s ‘disappearance’, who painstakingly accumulated forensic evidence, and who eventually secured a frank, full and unforced confession from little Joana Cipriano’s uncle, was Goncalo Amaral.
The case came to court in 2005. The court unanimously proved that her mother and uncle had deliberately killed Joan, and sentenced them to 16 and 20 years’ imprisonment.
Less than two years later, Goncalo Amaral was to become the senior investigator once again in the case of a young child who was supposed to have been abducted - three-year-old Madeleine Beth McCann.
Gonçalo Amaral is stopped from investigating the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine McCann
And, as we now know from Gonçalo Amaral’s recently-published and best-selling book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, he was suspicious from ‘Day One’ of the McCanns’ claim that Madeleine had been abducted. The ‘Lie’, says Mr Amaral, was the claim that Madeleine had been taken from her apartment at around 9.15pm on Thursday 3 May.
What we also know as a fact is that on 2 October 2007 - exactly five months after Madeleine was reported ‘missing’ - Mr Amaral was removed from the investigation into Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. It happened to be his birthday. By that time he had formed the view - we believe correctly - that powerful forces within the British government were actively working to sabotage his investigation. He had spoken out about it not in a press interview, but in what he regarded as a private, off-the-record chat with a journalist. And that was the reason he was quietly removed from the investigation. We now know that two hours before Amaral himself was told, a top Portuguese official rang Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, to tell him the news that he and the British government had been expecting and hoping to hear: “We’re removing Amaral from the Madeleine McCann investigation later today”.
If we and Gonçalo Amaral are right in thinking that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A, and that the McCanns, possibly with the help of some of their friends, covered up her death and hid the body, then it is understandable that very soon in the police investigation, the McCanns and their many PR and legal advisers soon recognised that Amaral was not actively pursuing the abduction theory but was working on the assumption that something very different had happened.
That, of course, had become crystal clear by July, when experienced Leicestershire detective Mark Harrison spent a week researching the case in Praia da Luz, and came to the conclusion, like Amaral, that Madeleine had died in Apartment 5A and her body hidden or disposed of. Mark Harrison recommended that two highly trained sniffer dogs, both springer spaniels, be brought in. One, Eddie, was trained to detect only human cadaverine - the scent of a human corpse - while Keela was trained to ‘alert’ only to human blood’. Eddie had already been used on some 200 occasions, and had never given a ‘false positive’. To put it more plainly, he had alerted to the smell of a corpse 200 times, and on every single occasions, there was definite proof that a corpse had been in exactly the spot where he sniffed the scent of cadaverine.
Eddie found the scent of cadaverine, which is only emitted after a body has been dead for two hours or more, in two places in the McCanns’ apartment, in the Renault Scenic car they hired three weeks after Madeleine went ‘missing’, on two articles of Dr Kate McCann’s clothing, on a T-shirt belonging either to Madeleine or her younger brother Sean, and on the soft cuddly pink toy, Cuddle Cat, which Dr Kate McCann was always clutching whenever in sight of the media.
This devastating evidence of Madeleine’s death in Praia da Luz was strengthened when the tests on the blood detected by the blood-hound Keela showed a 99.9% certainly that the blood was from Madeleine McCann. In other words, there was only 1 chance in 1,000 that that blood was from someone other than Madeleine.
Gonçalo Amaral had brought the mystery of Joano Cipriano’s disappearance to a successful conclusion. He was not, however, going to be allowed to bring the mystery of Madeleine McCann’s ‘disappearance’ to a successful conclusion. The British government had seen to that.
Amaral was a marked man so far as the McCann camp were concerned. He then became the target of a vicious smear campaign, based largely on the testimony of little Joana Cipriano’s mother, the murderer, Leonor Cipriano.
The allegations against Gonçalo Amaral by Leonor Cipriano
What was Leonor Cipriano’s allegation against Amaral?
Whilst in prison, she appeared to suffer two black eyes. Her photo has been shown frequently in the British press, with two obvious black eyes.
Leonor Cipriano’s allegation, for what it is worth, was that four of Amaral’s team had beaten her up, apparently in order to extort a confession. The allegation against Amaral, in broad terms, was that he had either authorised this beating or, failing that, had got to know about it and then covered it up, instructing his office to lie about the beating.
And that is what the court case this month has been about. The person representing Leonor Cipriano in court - and who was leading the prosecution of Amaral and his fellow officers on charges of assault, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office – was Portuguese lawyer Mr Marcos Aragão Correia.
It is time now to learn something more about him, and in particular how he became interested in the Madeleine McCann case and about his dramatic search for Madeleine in a large Portuguese reservoir.
Marcos Aragão Correia says he knows how Madeleine died from an underground source
It was in late January 2008 that Mr Aragão Correia came forward with the dramatic news that he was sure that Madeleine’s body was lying in the reservoir. He added various details that suggested that he ‘knew’ - as he had ‘been told’ - that Madeleine had been stolen to order by a gang of ruthless paedophiles, who had then killed her and dumped her body at the bottom of the reservoir.
One thing is very clear about Mr Aragão Correia’s claims - they chimed in perfect harmony with the repeated claims of both the McCanns and their team of PR advisers that Madeleine had been abducted by evil men - paedophile predators. Story after story appeared in the press claiming that Madeleine had been stolen to order by paedophile gangs. Sometimes it was said that the paedophile gang was operating in Belgium; more commonly it was said to be paedophile gangs based in Morocco or elsewhere in North Africa. Another version was that Madeleine had been stolen to order to satisfy the need of a wealthy North African families who wanted a white child. It was said that young white children were very much in demand by middle class North Africans, a claim which has little foundation.
So how did Mr Aragão Correia - up until now an obscure lawyer hailing from the Portuguese island of Madeira - burst on the scene? - and what did he have to say for himself?
The Press Association Report of 4 February 2008
What we will do next is examine a crucial news agency report on Mr Aragão Correia, namely the Press Association’s report dated 4 February 2008.
The Press Association has the highest possible reputation in the U.K. as an authoritative news source. The British broadsheets - and other British media - routinely rely on their detailed and fully researched reports. What made this particular report of outstanding value to the Press Association was that it has an ‘exclusive’ tag – meaning that the news they were breaking had not been revealed to anyone else. It is well known that to develop a story in the British media, a Press Association report is one of the best ways to break it. Those who are media savvy will cultivate their Pres Association contacts and use them. As we read the press agency report, which we’ll reproduce here in full below, we can see how cleverly Team McCann and Mr Aragão Correia had conveyed to the Press Association exactly what they wanted to say. The report was ‘by-lined’ to Emily Nash, who was reporting direct from the Arada Dam at Silves, Portugal. It is clear she must have talked to Clarence Mitchell and to Mr Aragão Correio at length before filing her exclusive report. Here’s the full report, which we’ll comment on below:
DIVERS HUNT FOR MADELEINE MCCANN’S BODY IN A REMOTE RESERVOIR (filed 4 February 2008 by Emily Nash)
EXCLUSIVE: Underworld tip-off leads to fresh search
The search for Madeleine McCann took a grim twist yesterday as divers trawled a remote reservoir for her body.
The hunt, near the Algarve resort where she went missing in May, followed an underworld tip-off to lawyer Marcos Correia. Marcos, 32, said: “They told me she was thrown into a deserted lake with murky waters. I'm convinced this is the place”. It was a search that began in hope but gave way to heavy-hearted resignation as the weeks and months went by.
Now there are fears the hunt for Madeleine McCann could end in the murky depths of a reservoir 40 miles from where she went missing.
Good Samaritan Marcos Aragão Correia, 32, is paying for a team of British divers to trawl it after an underworld tip-off that she was dumped in a lake just days after being abducted.
And they have unearthed a 17ft cord he believes was used to tie up the four-year-old.
The desolate reservoir in Barragem do Arade - 150ft deep (45m) in places - has a beach and a walkway leading to a tower. It matches clues the Portuguese lawyer was given. Marcos said: “I am convinced this is the place. My sources told me Madeleine was thrown into a deserted lake with murky waters, a beach and lots of trees. “I believe this would have been the best place for someone to have dumped the body, based on my investigations. It's not overlooked, has easy access by car and if you threw the body from the tower the water is 55ft deep (17m) there”.
The site is also a short drive from Silves, where a trucker has told police that on May 5 - two days after Madeleine went missing - he saw a woman hand a man a child looking like her. News of the grim lead came as Portugal's top cop conceded his men acted with ‘hastiness’ in making the McCanns suspects. And Marcos believes Kate and Gerry had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance.
He is funding the dive search - at an estimated £1,200 a day - after he told Portuguese detectives eight weeks ago about the tip-off, but was ignored.
The lawyer said: “I was able to identify the site on December 10 and immediately informed police, who did nothing. I got tired of waiting for them to act on my information, so I decided to act. I will stay here as long as is necessary to try to solve this mystery. I don't care how much the divers cost, what matters is that my conscience will be clear”.
Six frogmen, working seven hours a day, are searching by touch alone as there is almost zero visibility in the lake's dark depths. Marcos is convinced the nylon cord they retrieved - of a type used on window blinds - was tragically connected to Madeleine's abduction. He said: “They have found a cord tied in knots down there, right below the tower. I have given it to police. It's logical that if you throw a body in the water, you would tie it to something to weigh it down. There's no other rubbish there. There is no reason for it to be there”.
Arade Reservoir, accessible via a dirt track, is a few hundred yards from a derelict hilltop diner and a car park used as an unofficial caravan camping site. The divers are focusing their search on the base of the tower - 15ft (4.5m) from the shore - as Marcos believes the body may have been thrown from there.
He explained: “I don't have enough money to pay for the entire lake to be searched. That would take many divers and many weeks. But because of the clues I have I decided to pay for searches in this area”.
The underwater unit began their grim task last Thursday. Alan Wilson, who heads the team based in Lagos, Portugal, said: “You can't see anything down there. Everything is black because there is no light. The divers are searching entirely by touch, feeling in the silt for anything suspicious that shouldn't be there. It's a long, slow process”.
The woman said to have been seen in Silves passing a girl to a male accomplice is said to have looked like Mikaela Walczuch - girlfriend of suspect Robert Murat.
Ms Walczuch has never been an official suspect and dismissed the claim as ‘ridiculous’.
However, both Marcos and Método 3, the Spanish detective agency hired by the Mc-Canns, believe the sighting of the girl could be a crucial clue. The lawyer said: “Método 3 believe this lead is quite credible. They told me their investigations indicated that Madeleine was switched from one car to another, precisely in Silves”.
He added: "I don't believe Kate and Gerry did it. It could have been a single madman or a gang, I don't know."
Marcos, who was first given his tip-off three days after Madeleine went missing from Praia da Luz, visited the reservoir with Método 3 detectives in December. Last night [3 February 2008] the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell welcomed the possible breakthrough.
He said: “We're grateful to anyone who feels they have important information in the search for Madeleine. If his search produces significant results, he must, of course, share that information with the police and our investigators”.
Meanwhile, Portuguese police chief Alipio Ribeiro conceded at the weekend his officers showed a ‘certain hastiness’ in making Kate and Gerry, both 39, suspects.
He admitted there “perhaps should have been a different evaluation... I have no doubt about that”.
Kate and Gerry believe it could be a key step in clearing their name. A friend revealed: “They're not punching the air as they know there's still a long way to go, but it's a step in the right direction”.
Mr Mitchell added: "There was no air of celebration, but it's the sort of thing we have been waiting for. We hope that his comments are an indication police realise there's no case against Kate and Gerry and that it leads to them being eliminated from the inquiry”.
Let us briefly summarise what this remarkable Press Association report told us:
· that this 32-year-old lawyer, Mr Aragão, was in touch with ‘underworld sources’ - career criminals, in other words – just three days after Madeleine ‘disappeared’. In other words, on Monday 6 May
· that he visited this reservoir with detectives from Método 3’in December’
· that he had finally identified the site where he thought Madeleine’s body had been dumped on 10 December and informed the Portuguese police about his ideas that day - but they had ‘done nothing’
· that his ‘underworld sources’ had told him that Madeleine’s body had been d ‘thrown into a deserted lake with murky waters, a beach and lots of trees’
· that Mr Aragão Correio, by his own brilliance, had identified the Arade Dam as the only place which matched the description of ‘a deserted lake with murky waters, a beach and lots of trees’ (!)
· that again, through his deductive powers, he had located the area near the tower as the only one to be searched
· that he was a ‘good Samaritan’ who was shelling out thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of pounds out of the goodness of his heart, and based on his underworld sources. The cost of the search was at least £1,200 a day. Some estimates put the cost a great deal higher
· his ‘team of British divers’ had found a 17-feet long piece of ‘knotted cord’ that ‘could have been used to tie up Madeleine
· that Madeleine’s body could well have been thrown into the lake from the top of a tower by the lake
· that Método 3 ’s investigations had apparently indicated to them that Madeleine was switched from one car to another, ‘precisely in Silves’, very close to the Arade Dam
· that ‘a woman said to have been seen in Silves passing a girl to a male accomplice looked like Mikaela Walczuch - girlfriend of suspect Robert Murat’.
The effect of the 4 February Press Association article
Next we may note the reaction of the McCanns and their official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, to this grim news that Madeleine’s body may be at the foot of a murky lake in Portugal. Most parents - and their advisers - would be utterly distraught at the possible news that their daughter had been cruelly snatched and her body dumped in a reservoir. But here are their reactions:
Kate & Gerry McCann: “…believe it could be a key step in clearing their name. A friend revealed: ‘They're not punching the air as they know there's still a long way to go, but it's a step in the right direction’.”
Clarence Mitchell: “…welcomed the possible breakthrough: ‘We're grateful to anyone who feels they have important information in the search for Madeleine. There was no air of celebration, but it's the sort of thing we have been waiting for. We hope that his comments are an indication police realise there's no case against Kate and Gerry and that it leads to them being eliminated from the inquiry’.”
To sum up their reaction to this dreadful news of Madeleine possibly being dead at the bottom of a lake, both the McCanns and their chief spokesman appear to be pleased, very pleased in fact - but not quite ‘celebrating’ or ‘punching the air’. But not far off maybe.
Now let us look at the other elements in this Press Association report and see how it assisted the ‘spin’ of the McCanns and their PR advisers on the investigation into Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. The report conveniently promulgated the following suggestions:
(a) that the Portuguese police had acted ‘hastily’ in making Dr Gerry McCann and Dr Kate McCann suspects
(b) that the Portuguese police had deliberately ignored the vital evidence of Mr Aragão Correia’s underworld sources that Madeleine had been dumped at the bottom of a murky lake - and ignored his apparently unshakeable conviction that this ‘murly lake’ was the Arade Dam
(c) that the possibility that Madeleine’s body had been dumped in the Arade Dam tied in with the suspicious sight of a woman transferring a young child to another car in the Silves area, the woman looking like Mikaela Walczuch, the girlfriend of Mr Robert Murat. This nearly linked Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, once again, to the ‘one-eyed oddball’, Robert Murat
(d) that Gerry and Kate McCann were not responsible; Aragão Coerreio said: “I don't believe Kate and Gerry did it. It could have been a single madman or a gang”.
Finally, in our analysis of this Press Association article, let us raise a few queries about Mr Aragão Correio’s account:
1) Did he really receive inside information about Madeleine having been abducted within three days of Madeleine being reported ‘missing’?
2) What did he do with the information?
3) He says he first contacted the Portuguese Police in December. Why the apparent 7-month delay in telling the police?
4) Why did his information about the ‘murky’ lake lead him to the Arada Dam?
5) Is it just a coincidence that this location, near Silves where a woman had apparently been spotted with a child soon after Madeleine ‘disappeared’, linked Madeleine to Robert Murat and his girlfriend
6) Aragão Correio claimed in his statements to the Press Association that ‘Método 3 believe this lead is quite credible. They told me their investigations indicated that Madeleine was switched from one car to another’. Really? Have we heard anything more from Método 3 about that theory? Do they still adhere to it?
To sum up, the Press Association newswire story was perfect for the McCanns and their support team. It gave ‘legs’ to the McCanns’ repeated claim that Madeleine had been snatched by an evil abductor. It gave the impression that the dubious private detective agency, Método 3, was really on to something. The article had the bonus of making the Portuguese police look stupid on two accounts - making the McCanns’ suspects ‘too hastily’, and ignoring Aragão Correio’s fervent claims that Madeleine was in the reservoir. And then there was that extra detail that gave apparent credibility to the story - the alleged finding of the 17-foot knotted cord. No wonder the McCanns and Clarence Mitchell were very pleased and only just a tad short of celebrating by punching the air. Mitchell had been able to capitalise on the story by issuing an immediate statement in which he ‘urged the Portuguese authorities to act humanely by removing their arguido status as swiftly as possible’.
This story was just what they wanted - in a case where public perception was everything.
Other newspapers added other details to Mr Aragão Correio’s claims; here are some of them:
· The ‘knotted cord’ was found five days into the search, which was made by British divers from the local firm ‘Dive Time’
· Mr Aragão Correio said that underworld sources had told him that ‘Madeleine was raped, murdered and then dumped in a lake…’
· Mr Alipio Ribeiro, the national director of the Policia Judiciaria (PJ), had told a radio interviewer at the weekend that “perhaps there should have been another assessment” before the McCanns had been declared ‘arguidos’vanished.
The strong and continuing links between Mr Aragoa Correia and Método 3 became crystal clear in March. One newspaper, for example, reported:
“Barcelona detectives from Método 3 are now also at the site on the Algarve. A team of detectives from the Barcelona firm, Método 3, arrived there yesterday as there were reports that a local reservoir, the Arade, is being dragged again in the search for the body of the missing British youngster, Madeleine McCann. A team of seven divers have been at the reservoir since Monday, in what is the second search of the site. An earlier search proved fruitless five weeks after Madeleine disappeared.
The report continued: “Lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia has said that he is sure that the body of Madeleine, who vanished from Praia da Luz, on May 3, will be found there”. The report went on: “There are reports that objects found there already are strengthening his ‘deep conviction’.” It was not said at the time what those object were.
The report concluded: “The office [of Mr Aragão Correia] claims that there is ‘a 99% possibility’ that the body will be found there and the Portuguese paper ‘Correio da Manha’ claims a child’s white sock has been found at the scene”.
The 99% possibility was a very bold claim to make. But as we now know, it wasn’t substantiated.
Two bags of small bones
The belief that Madeleine’s body could yet be found in the Arade Dam was strengthened by reports surfacing on 15 March that ‘a bag of small bones’ had been found in the reservoir. Here are some of the points made in Tom Worden’s report that day in the Daily Mail, which was accompanied by several shots of divers in the lake and of items apparently being recovered from the lake:
· Divers searching a reservoir for Madeleine McCann yesterday [14 March] found two small black plastic bags containing small bones.
· Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia, who sponsored the dive, says he was acting on an underworld tip-off that Madeleine was murdered and her body thrown in a lake within 48-hours of being snatched.
· Mr Aragão Correia said: “We found two bags, one of which contains some small bones. We don't know at this stage if they are human bones. If they are, they look like they come from a child's fingers. They are too small for an adult. I can't tell you how many we found, because we didn't count them. As soon as we made the find, we handed them over to the Portuguese authorities and the private detectives working for the McCanns” [NOTE: We might pause here to question how a set of bones could be ‘handed over’ to two agencies at once. What is likley is that since Mr Aragão Correio, the divers and Método 3 were all working hand-in-glove, the Método 3 detectives initially examined the bags of bone and then passed them to the Portuguese police]
· John Fellows, a frogman with the Lagos-based dive school Dive Time made the discovery
· Divers had previously recovered ‘several lengths of cord’, some plastic tape and a single white, cotton sock
· Madeleine's parents have previously dismissed Mr Correia as a self-publicist and said there is ‘no evidence to suggest there is any link between their daughter and the reservoir’
· A byystander said: “We're told one of the bags is empty but the other one contains small bones. We don't know if they are the bones of a child or not”.
· The divers first searched the reservoir five weeks ago and resumed again on Monday morning (10 March).
Now we come to the present, and to a dispute between Método3 and Mr Aragão Correio over how Mr Correio came to be involved in representing Leonor Cipriano, the evil co-killer of her own daughter, in a legal action against Gonçalo Amaral and his fellow detectives who carried out the investigation into Joana Cipriao’s death. The prosecution had outlined the following charges: against Gonçalo Amaral, for perverting the course of justice by covering up torture methods used by his colleagues, against three detectives accused of torture (Leonel Marques, Marques Bom and Pereira Cristóvão), and a fourth detective (António Cardoso), accused of making a false report.
Marcos Aragão Correia - from ‘Good Samaritan’ who funded a diving team, to prosecutor of Gonçalo Amaral, funded by the Helping to Find Madeleine Fund
After his efforts to find Madeleine’s body in the Arada Dam, little was heard about him, until the dramatic opening of the trial of Gonçalo Amaral and his four fellow detectives at Faro, on the Algarve Coast, in October this year. For on the first day of the trial, there was a dramatic announcement. Leonor Cipriano, the person bringing the allegation against the five detectives that she had been tortured in prison, announced that she was dropping her legal team and that she would now be represented by the dodgy lawyer from Madeira, Marcos Aragão Correio.
There was a sensational revelation early in the trial. During the early days of the trial, Mr Aragão Correia said on the record that Método3 themselves, acting on behalf of the McCanns, had asked him to get involved in the Joana Cipriano case. He went on to claim that the McCanns, via Método 3, “ordered him to do an investigation” into allegations regarding the accusation by Leonor Cipriano. In short, the allegation was that she had been ‘tortured’ by Gonçalo Amaral’s detectives, and that Gonçalo Amaral had covered it all up. At the same time, Aragão Correia - who, it will be remembered, was described as a humble ‘good Samaritan’ in article about him privately funding the search in the lake - claimed on oath that no-one was currently paying him to bring the case against Amaral and his fellow-detectives.
This sensational revelation was put by the Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manhã, to Método3. It must be remembered that the enormous payments to Método 3 - said to total hundreds of thousands of pounds - were provided by the Helping to Find Madeleine Trust Fund. And in turn, the Helping to Find Madeleine Trust Fund had obtained its funds on the pretext using them to ‘find Madeleine’. Pensioners had given their weekly pension. Children had given their weekly pocket money. People in their thousands had donated money based on emotive stories of how Madeleine had apparently been abducted.
According to Correio da Manhã, the private detective agency denied any connection whatsoever to the lawyer, and also denied making him any payments. As Correio da Manhã was understandably quick to point out to their reaaders, Método 3’s denial was simple not credible, since, they said: “Aragão Correia has already admitted that he received money from Método 3 to pay his 'expenses' when he made the searches to find Madeleine's corpse in the reservoir. Though they didn’t say in in so many words, there is only one interpretation that can be put on Método 3’s denial of involvement with Aragão Correia and denial of paying him. They are lying.
Aragão Correia had earlier told the press that he had received a ‘vision’ or a ‘supernatural indication’ as to the whereabouts of Madeleine, which had prompted his interest in the first place. It was not clear from this whether this came before or after Monday 6 May 2007, the day that Mr Aragão Correia claimed he had been told by underworld sources that Madeleine had been abducted, killed, and thrown in a lake.
He claimed that he had gone to the Algarve ‘at his own expense’. He told the court on oath: “Método 3’asked me to try to get involved in the Joana case to obtain statements from Leonor and her brother to try to understand if she was tortured by the police, nothing else”.
Dealing with suspicions that in agreeing to defend Leonor Cipriano, he was being paid by someone who is very interested in ensuring that Gonçalo Amaral is convicted of a crime, or at least that his reputation is damaged - because of his public comments about Madeleine probably having died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz – he retorted to the court: “I don't get paid in pounds or in euros. I am here for principles, and my objective is to set free Leonor Cipriano”.
During the court session held on Monday 3 November, it emerged that Marcos Aragão Correia had made efforts to do a deal with the four detectives under Amaral’s command. The lawyer defending the four detectives said he had received an approach from Aragão Correia, proposing a very dirty deal.
Aragão Correia, he said, had asked him to consider a deal whereby, in exchange for the four detectives all agreeing to testify against Goncalo Amaral, and state that it was Amaral who gave the order to torture Leonor Cipriano, he woud ensure that the charges against the four detectives were re-drawn so that their sentences would be greatly reduced. Hey would not get a custodial sentence, he promised.
In court he blustered that to offer such a deal was ‘normal procedure’, adding that although he had been paid by the McCanns, via Método 3, in the past, he was ‘no longer’ being paid by them. But by then - by all accounts - he had lost all credibility with the court. So had Leonor Cipriano, with members of the public openly laughing at her preposterous lies and constant changes of story.
The defence lawyer for the four detectives, Pragal Colaço, commented: “This proposed deal was not ethically correct. Resorting to a deal of this nature results from an attitude which that demonstrates a certain dementia” - in other words, he was saying that the deal proposed by Mr Aragão Correia was due to his ‘madness’. Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer, António Cabrita, was not of course notified about this dirty deal
The lawyer for the four detectives, Pragal Colaço, didn’t deny the conversation with Marcos Aragão Correia. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Mr Aragão Correia was frustrated that he could not clinch his propsoed dirty deal with Mr Colaço and Mr Cabrita. The word ‘cabrita’, in Portuguese, means ‘goat’. On one occasion, Mr Correio snapped and called Mr Cabrita ‘a goat ’.
Questioned about the deal, Pragal Colaço preferred not to comment, saying that he feared possible ‘reprisals’ from the Portuguese lawyers’ association, the Laywers’ Order.
He said on the record: “I don’t want any more disciplinary processes. I was notified by the Lawyers’ Order about an issue where I made a statement four years ago, and this happens. II don’t want any problems because I know that the Lawyers’ Order keeps persecuting me and I don’t want any further trouble. Any lay person is able to understand that a proposal to cut a deal that is made in order to condemn Dr Gonçalo Amaral means that this process is being used for purposes that are not part of the process”.
The deal to ‘get’ Amaral was preceded by news of an e-mail. Mr Aragão Correio, before proposing his dirty deal, said to Mr Colaço: “I possesses an e-mail that incriminates Gonçalo Amaral. It accuses him being present at the torture and beating of Ms Cipriano”. He said: “I hold information that Mr Paulo Cristóvão sent an e-mail to a friend of mine at the Policia Judiciária, in which he confessed that there was torture, not by him, but by Mr Gonçalo Amaral himself. We may get to the point where we have to present this e-mail in court”. It seemed to most observers in court a desperate ploy to worry Amaral and his legal team. He had claimed that the alleged e-mail was sent approximately 3 years ago [in 2005] by one of the detectives (now a former detective) now on trial, Paulo Pereira Cristóvão, to a common friend who works at the Policia Judiciária.
Aragão had said that he was not ready to reveal the document ‘yet’. In it, Pereira Cristóvão allegedly confirmed that ‘four days before Leonor’s confession’ there was indeed ‘torture and beatings’ and that it was the Portimão Police team, led by Gonçalo Amaral, who were responsible for the assault. Amaral, it was claimed, would not only have known about the details of the torture and beatings facts but was also responsible for issuing orders “for every possible method to be used in order to force a confession from Leonor”.
It was following the revelation of this supposed ‘trump card’ by Mr Aragão Correia to Mr Colaço that he proposed a deal, apparently something that is not permitted by the Portuguese penal law process. Correia is alleged to have offered the four defendant detectives the prospect of suspended sentences. If they confessed, stating that Gonçalo Amaral gave the order to assault Leonor Cipriano, and that he had also persoanlyy participated in the torture and beatings of Leonor Cipriano, he would guarantee a reduced charge for each of the four and a suspended sentence. He made this offer despite the fact that the accusation is brought by the Public Ministry, not by Aragão Correia himself - and the penalty is decided by the Court that is constituted by three judges and four jurors, a panel of seven.
The Police Officers of Portugual (the Policia Judiciara) have a trade union - or perhaps more correctly, a staff association - the Association of Criminal Investigation Employees (ASFIC). Its President, Mr Carlos Anjos, was quick to speak out against the dirty deal and in support of Gonçalo Amaral and his four detectives.
Carlos Anjos, speaking about the case, recalled that: “The only people [throughout this case] to always maintain the same version of events - because they are the truth - are the four detectives. [By contrast], just look at the contradictions in Leonor Cipriano’s various statements - as well as the evidence given by the Prison Governor, the Chief Prison Officer and the Consultant Prison Doctor on the health of Ms Cipriano.
It was clear, said Carlos Anjos, that Gonçalo Amaral was the real target of this trial. He was the one individual in all this that the prosecution really wanted to crucify, he explained to the media. Carlos Anjos said that the official response of ASFIC to this grubby, dishonest deal, was a firm ‘No’. He said: “I refused straightaway because I don’t cut deals. The five are all innocent. We stand or fall together. This lawyer - Marcos Aragão Correia - worked for Método 3”.
The former Director of the National Judicial Police (PJ), the ‘Judge-Adviser Mr Santos Cabral, also spoke out and said there had been no culpability by Gonçalo Amaral in the conduct of the complex investigation into the ‘disappearance’ of Joana Cipriano.
The dramatic revelations about the McCanns having paid Marcos Aragão Correia, via Método 3, to pursue Gonçalo Amaral, and the news that there had been an attempt to persuade the four detectives to say that they had been ordered to torture Leonor Cipriano, prompted respected Portuguese University Professor, Dr Franciso Moita Flores, to pen an article in a Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manhã, about this court case agaisnt Gonçalo Amaral. Amongst other robust comments, clearly uttered with real feeling, he wrote:
“The trial of the possible torture on the mother of Joana is revealing episodes of a perversion that do not cease to amaze us…the Police are not angels, nor were they sent by Christ to Earth. Their profession hardens them, makes them stubborn, suspicious, and determined…and a crime so heinous as this one [the murder of Joana Cipriano] can lead even a Police officer to lose his head and to commit an unforgivable foolishness [like an assault on the perpetrator] .
“Now the trial has arrived and the evidence is unfolding...Leonor Cipriano has confessed that she helped to kill her daughter on a given day, and that the beating by the police was on the day immediately following [her confession]. It is an absurdity.
”The astonishment [at this absurdity] only increases when we learn that Leonor Cipriano cannot even identify any of the Police officers who allegedly attacked her.
“Gonçalo Amaral is clearly being persecuted, not because of the Leonor Cipriano case, but by the agents of Método 3, the detective agency hired by Madeleine's parents. This simply confirms that this case is not about justice. In fact, it is an abuse of the court process, a disgrace, a heinous farce. And all of this is happening for the e ugliest of reasons - reasons which are also part of our human condition”.
One final question might be asked about Correio’s dirty little proposal. How would it serve the cause of justice and good policing in Portugal to convict only someone – Amaral - who is no longer with the force, and leave working as serving police officers two men (Marques Bom and Cardoso) who were either willing to torture a witness, actively cover it up, or both?
The other two inspectors, Chief Inspector Leonel, one of the most respected men ever to have worked for the PJ, and Paulo Pereira Cristovao, have already resigned from the Portuguese police over the affair.
The involvement of the Lawyers' Order
A further indication of sinister forces at work in this case came with the involvement of The Portuguese Lawyer’s Order, or the Portuguese Bar (the Ordem dos Advogados). They requested the status of ‘Assistente’ in this case - similar to the role of ‘Amicus Curia’ in the English courts - a ‘friend of the court’ who is supposed to assist the court to achieve the ‘right’ result. Their request - which was granted by the courts, was to become involved in the proceedings against Amaral and his four fellow detectives “in order to assist the public prosecution (Ministerio Publico) in finding out the truth”.
The head of the Portuguese Lawyer’s Order, Mr Marinho Pinto is a man that has often made public statements to maintain and strengthen the abduction theory in the Madeleine McCann case. Many Portuguese lawyers have regarded him as guilty on many occasions of exceeding his role by his forthright criticisms of the Policia Judiciara in the McCann case.
In this particular case, it appears that Marinho Pinto himself has been proposed in a list of possible witness to come and make a statement in court about the Cipriano case. Although Mr Marinho is always keen to come and make statements on TV, it appears that he was somehow less comfortable giving those statements in a court of law. Therefore this status of ‘Assistente’, granted to the Lawyer’s Orderr, means that he cannot be heard as a witness anymore - very convenient for Mr Marinho Pinto as he continues his attacks against the PJ in the media.
There are many concerns here. For a start, the obvious links between Metodo 3 and Cipriano's lawyer, Aragao Correio? Then there is the likely link between the extreme statements made by Marinho Pinto about the McCann case and Goncalo Amaral, and his sudden unwillingness to speak personally in court on the Joana Cipriano case. Add to that the fact that the Lawyers Order in Portugal, which represents the country’s lawyers, continues to deliberately prefer to attack the PJ at the expense of truth and justice. On top of all that is the fact that the judge in charge of the process accepted the Lawyer ‘sOrder's application to become an ‘Assistente in the Cipriano process.
This case just gives us great insights into who was interested, for whatever reason, in having the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case collapse. Maybe Mr Marinho Pinto would have something to say about that.
RTP reported on 18 November 2008:
The Directorship of the Prison Service has acted after the denouncement of her made by the Chief Prison Officer over the pressures on her to change her report on Leonor Cipriano’s injuries. After the Chief Prison Officer of Odemira Penitentiary, António Maia, told the court that the Prison Governor suggested to her to change the report about Leonor Cipriano’s bruises, from a likely fall off the stairs to torture and beatings, the General Directorship of the Priso Service has acted.
The Prison Governor, Ana Calado, is already facing a disciplinary process, after the Prison Service requested the Court in Faro to send a copy of the statements made by António Maia in the court session of 28 of October. The Chief Prison Officer said he suffered pressure from the Priso nGovernor to frame the policemen. The lawyers defending Goncalo Amaral have already announced their intention to bring proceedings against Ana Calado.
In the Court at Faro on 18 November, the Doctor who assisted Leonor Cipriano at the Odemira Health Centre, only a few hours after the alleged beatings, said in court that the lesions that he saw on her legs didn’t match those that are visible on one of the photos that were taken.
While recognizing that he is not an expert in forensics medicine, because he is a general practitioner, the Doctor, who gave his deposition through video link, stated that the lesions that were visible on the photo that he was shown through that equipment did not match the ones that he had seen on Leonor Cipriano at the time.
The Doctor was the second witness to be heard during the fourth session of the trial, after the court finished the questioning of the prison employee who photographed Leonor Cipriano. The questioning of that photographer had been interrupted in the previous trial session, two weeks ago.
According to the Doctor, Joana’s mother Leonor Cipriano presented lesions in the right facial, frontal and temporal areas, but not on the left side, as revealed on the photograph that was showed to him by the court. In that photograph, Leonor Cipriano clearly shows lesions on both sides of the face, in the eye area.
According to the clinician, despite it being possible that a drainage of blood in the descending direction could have taken place a few hours after the beatings were inflicted, that is most unlikely to happen, unless Ms Cipriano had been lying on her left side for hours.
“What I saw was one single, very strong, blow on the right side”, he asserted, observing that, in his opinion, it would be ‘impossible’ for the lesions to spread into the left side of the face, even more so because Leonor must have been sitting or standing up during that day, and never lying down.
The doctor from the Health Centre in Odemira also said that Leonor Cipriano adamantly refused to show her her body, alleging that she had no further lesions apart from those that she presented in her face and that it ‘wasn’t worthwhile’ for the medic to observe her in a more detailed manner.
According to the clinician, despite at the time tending to trust the information given to her by the patient, at the same time she did not trust the explanation that was given to her for the lesions – namely, that she had bumped her head into a wall when she tried to throw herself off the stairs in an attempt to kill herself. She reasoned that a fall of that nature would inflict bodily lesions as well. But Leonor Cipriano said she had no other bruises or injuries, and refused to show her body
During the morning of today’s session, Ferreira Leite, who was the Director of the Serious Crime Unit of the Polícia Judiciária at that time, was also heard, confirming that a team was sent [from Lisbon] into the Algarve to reinforce the investigation in the Joana Cipriano case.
Ferreira Leite further stated that he didn’t know who was responsible for the coordination of operations in the Joana case, whether in fact it was Gonçalo Amaral or the national joint director, Guilhermino da Encarnação, given the fact that it was the Faro Directorate that decided about actions on the ground.
At the end of the hearing’s first part, Rodrigo Santiago, from the Lawyers’ Order, which made itself an ‘Assiente’ (‘friend of the court) in the proceedings, made a request for the President of the National Institute for Forensics Medicine to be heard in court, given the fact that he possesses specific knowledge of forensic medicine.
On leaving the court on 18 November, Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer, Marcos Aragão Correia, reinforced his intention for the Public Ministry to file an accusation against Gonçalo Amaral, in an autonomous process, over alleged torture, given the fact that he is the ‘main responsible person’ over the torture and beatings that Leonor allegedly suffered.
“The prosecution was incomplete and I cannot accept that the main person responsible for the torture of Ms Cipriano goes unpunished”, he told journalists. He also recalled the other alleged false statements that were offered in court by Gonçalo Amaral and which were the subject of a criminal complaint by Leonor’s defence team at the time.
Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer, António Cabrita, stated that he prefers to wait to see whether or not any new accusation is filed, and underlined that during the trial he believed there had been no change in the facts nor the production of any new evidence that would in any way justify new proceedings.
An article by Hernâni Carvalho
For the sake of the record, and because valuable additional detail is recorded - though there is a substantial amount of repetition involved – I reproduce here an article by Hernâni Carvalho, published in on . I have very slightly revised the English translation for the benefit of the English reader:
Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer proposed to help the Policia Judiciara’s inspectors, who stand accused of torture, if he was ‘given the head of Gonçalo Amaral’. The news was confirmed by himself to Tvmais.
Gonçalo Amaral’s head, against the absolution of the other inspectors - such was the proposal that was made by Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer to one of the lawyers for the PJ inspectors. The information hit the newsroom at TVmais like a bombshell.
“I confirm it”, TVMais was told by Carlos Anjos, the President of ASFIC, the union for the PJ’s Criminal Investigation staff. “Our colleagues’ lawyer (Pragal Colaço) has informed us about the said proposal that was made by Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer, Marcos Aragão. He wanted Gonçalo Amaral’s head. Concerning the others, he said that a way would be found to clear them”.
If we in the newsroom found this strange, any doubts were dismissed when we contacted Marcos Aragão Correio himself. “Yes, indeed I spoke with Dr Pragal Colaço and I confirm that I proposed to help him in the defence of the other inspectors if they were prepared to stated that they acted under Gonçalo Amaral’s direction. A reduction of the sentence would be achieved for them”, the lawyer told our magazine. Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer confirmed to us that he is ready to defend the inspectors who stand accused of torturing his client, if in exchange, he can obtain from them an unequivocal condemnation against the PJ’s co-ordinating inspector, Gonçalo Amaral.
Aragão Correio told TVmais that he is in possession of an email that was written by Paulo Cristóvão to another PJ inspector where he states that he was given ‘carte blanche’ by Gonçalo Amaral to beat up Leonor Cipriano. We contacted Paulo Cristóvão. The former PJ inspector told us, laconically, that Correio’s claim ‘doesn’t even deserve a comment. We shall see what happens in the appropriate location, which is a court hearing’.
Concerning the deal, António Cabrita, Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer, told us: “I don’t know about these proposals [of Correio’s]. Dr Gonçalo Amaral trusts the Portuguese justice system that he served for 27 years. Those deals have no validity whatsoever in the Portuguese penal system. Here, the court only appreciates facts, not deals”.
He continued: “An inspector sits on the bench, accused of forgery, but it was the Chief Prison Officer who went to court to state that the director of the prison of Odemira (Ana Maria Calado) ordered her to change a document, which she refused to do” Carlos Anjos from ASFIC/PJ finds this strange. “I have yet to understand what stands behind all this. Marcos Aragão Correio is more committed to ruining the credibility of Gonçalo Amaral and the PJ in the Madeleine McCann case than concerned about Leonor Cipriano’s pain”, he said.
The truth is that contradictions and requests for new ‘certificates of application’ is what has been mostly seen at the Court in Faro. During the various trial sessions of the five PJ inspectors who stand accused of torturing Leonor Cipriano, requests follow upon requests for certificates to be allowed to file new complaints. These come both from the prosecution and from the defence.
Due to the sheer volume of accusations and counter-accusations, the combined judgment panel of judges, which is led by Henrique Pavão, and consisting of three judges, four jurors, has already complained about the fact that bureaucratic issues are delaying and lengthening the trial..
What is known for certain is that on 13 October 2004], Leonor Cipriano confessed to murdering her daughter Joana. It is also known that she did so in the presence of her lawyer, Célia Costa, who confirms on oath that she didn’t see anyone assaulting Leonor.
The process begun by the Public Ministry (PM) over alleged assaults on Leonor Cipriano commenced two days later, on 15 October. But the PM failed to determine who committed the assaults.
The PJ inspectors and Gonçalo Amaral stand accused of having created the circumstances in which the assaults to be carried out. Then, Leonor Cipriano was detained awaiting questioning in Odemira prison and the Policia Judiciara was searching for her daughter Joana, or what was left of her.
Two days after she had confessed to killing her daughter Leonor, in the presence of her lawyer, Leonor Cipriano returned to the prison in Odemira with hematomas to her face. At that time, she stated that she had fallen, whilst in police custody, and the prison guards wrote a report. Now, she says that she was assaulted by the PJ inspectors with fists and kicks and with a cardboard tube.
Why did Leonor dismiss he former lawyer, Grade?
Grade simply said: “I don’t know.” Leonor Cipriano’s former lawyer told TVmais that he heard about his dismissal “from a journalist who asked me if I had been removed from the case. As I knew nothing about it, I denied it. It was only later that I read an e-mail from my colleague Marcos Aragão Correio. That was how I found out that I had been dismissed from the defence of Mrs Cipriano. She had apparently signed a document revoking my power of attorney and had hired another lawyer. I know through my colleague that she stated she was not happy with me because I didn’t attack mount a full frontal attack on Dr Gonçalo Amaral frontally. She said that she felt better supported while being defended by my colleague”.
Leonor sometimes remembers and sometimes forgets.
First, she said that she had seen who had assaulted her, but later she denied this.
Second, she said that there was a blue plastic bag over her head, but soon afterwards she changed this to saying it was ‘green or blue’.
During the inquiry, she said that she had been tortured and assaulted ‘more than once’, but now, during the trial, she stated it that it happened only once.
Furthermore, she said she knew the time of the beating - around 8.00pm - because she had looked at the clock in the room where she had been beaten. However, during the trial, she was asked to describe the room and did so without referring to any clock.
There were several major contradictions from Leonor, but one of her sentences has stuck in everyone’s memory. “I don’t remember having confessed”, she told the court.
More on Leonor Cipriano’s contradictions
1. It is understood that no confession is admissible in court in Portugal unless the defendant repeats it in open court. It is understood that Leonor Cipriano did repeat her confession in her trial in 2005. So what made her change her mind, over two years later?
2. Leonor Cipriano originally said she had been beaten by PJ inspectors, but when asked to pick them out of a line-up, she could not. She then changed her story to say that the PJ inspectors ‘must have arranged for a person or persons unknown to come into the police station and beat her’. She then changed her mind again to say she was beaten by the PJ – but she claims she cannot identify them because a bag was placed over her head during the beating.
3. Leonor had never said that Goncalo Amaral had laid a hand on her until the court hearing in Faro. Indeed, he is ‘only’ so far been charged with the Portuguese equivalent of ‘criminal malfeasance’ for the alleged actions of men under his command. Yet, in the Faro court, Leonor Cipriano changed her storysonce again and now says, yes, Amaral personally had hit her after all. However, there has been no evidence presented that Goncalo Amaral was even present when she was being questioned.
(4) In her original statement, Leonor Cipriano said she knew the time the assaults on her took place because there was a clock on the wall in the room, and that it was approximately from 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Yet three of the named PJ inspectors accused of torturing her were not even in the building at that time; they did not sign into the police station until 8.00 pm on the day in question.
4. Leonor Cipriano at one point said that she was forced to kneel on broken glass. But there appears to be no record of damage to her knees or legs that would be consistent with such a serious incident.
5. We must ask how anyone, suffering the injuries that Leonor Cipriano now claims she has suffered, namely being beaten about the body, head and face for two hours and yet not have injuries such as cracked ribs or bruises all over her body, cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth, split lip, broken or blo*dy nose, or bruises below the level of her cheekbones?
6. According to press reports, when asked by the Prison Governor at Odemira Prison to explain her injuries, Leonor Cipriano did not implicate anyone in the police. We must ask then under what circumstances the Prison Director asked her Chief Prison Officer to change the account Ms Cipriano originally provided.
7. When she was asked in court to give the names of the people she was accusing, Leonor Cipriano had to pull a piece of paper out of her purse. One would think that four years after she claimed to have been tortured, she would have had the time to learn their names. It begs the question of who wrote that list. Did someone else write it out for her?
False evidence by the authorites to help frame Gonçalo Amaral
The weakness of the prosecution case was clear from early on in the trial of Amaral and his colleagues.
The sequence of events leading up to the injuries sustained by Leonor Cipriano were soon established. Leonor Cipriano had apparently made her confession to the Policia Judiciara on 13 October 2004. She had then been taken to prison. What was clear was that the main injuries she suffered to her face and knees, quite probably caused by a fellow inmate, were probably sustained days afterwards, certainly no earlier than 16 October, i.e. after she made her confession to the Police. The probable date of the assault on Ms Cipriano was the date she was seen by the Consultant Prison Doctor, namely 18 October.
The Consultant Prison Doctor who was giving medical evidence to support the alleged torture of Leonor Cipriano contradicted herself on one important detail. A report written on the 18 October 2004 mentioned no lesions to the knees of Joana’s mother, who didn’t complain about any either. Yet on 29 October, she requested an X-ray to be performed on these lesions.
According to the medic, when she observed Leonor on 18 October 2004, she presented lesions on several parts of her body. She had ‘red swollen eyes’, ‘the left eye shut’, ‘minor cuts on both knees, superficial but symmetrical’. And she presented lesions to her back, to her chest and on her arms. Bit on 18 October the Doctor reported no ‘lesions’ on her knees.
Evidence was then heard by the court that the Prison Governor of Odemira Prison, where Ms Cipriano was being held, had ordered the Chief Prison Officer to materially alter a report about Leonor Cipriano’s health - yet, said Mr Carlos Anjos - it was a ‘stupefying fact’ that [instead of the Prison Governor being on trial] the person on trial for allegedly falsifying a document is António Cardoso, one of the four detectives.
There was a reference to Ms Cipriano having suffered injuries before she arrived at the prison. A former prison guard of Odemira prison, Ana Paula Teixeira, was heard during the trial on a videoconference link. She confirmed that Leonor Cipriano arrived at the prison with injuries, and explained, in the presence of the detectives, that she had suffered them as she fell off the stairs. However, social worker Adélia Palma explained during a later court session during the trial that Leonor Cipriano had told her that she had been assaulted during the questioning she was subject to at the Policia Judiciara and that the detectives had ‘ordered’ her to say that she fell. However, whatever these injuries might have been, the clear evidence heard by the court was that Leonor Cipriano suffered her main set of injuries on 18 October whilst she was already in prison.
One of Leonor Cipriaon’s lies in court may have been her denial that she was visited in prison by her lawyer, Mr Aragão Correia, on 30 October, during the trial. Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer, António Cabrita, asked for Leonor Cipriano to be heard again, as he wanted to clarify what he said was ‘a lie’ either by her or from her dodgy lawyer.
Cabrita referred to an article that was published in a national newspaper, where Mr Aragão Correia admitted to having visited Ms Cipriaono in prison on the night of the 30 October, after she had been giving evidence on Day One of the trial. He had told the press that it was necessary visit her to ‘calm her down’ as she had been ‘very nervous’ following questions earlier that day from the Policia Judiciara’s lawyers.
Yet before that newspaper article appaeraed, during the second day’s session, when António Cabrita had asked Leonor Cipriano if she had received any visits at the prison, she replied that she had not.
“So someone is lying”, said Cabrita, merely stating the obvious.
A further contradiction between Leonor Capriano’s evidence and that of others occurred when the photographer who took the photographs of Ms Cipriano’s injuries in the prison reported that he was called immediately after the injuries were sustained and that he took the pictures ‘during the afternoon and with daylight’. But Ms Cipriano had claimed that the photographs had been taken ‘at night, in a room without light’.
Another official admitted that the prison had destroyed the photographs taken of Leonor’s knees because ‘the alleged injuries to her knees were not very visible’.
Given these examples of lies, contradictions and attempts to falsify documents and cover up certain matters, it was scarcely surprising that some of the four jurors asked a lot of questions of the witnesses during the trial.
One interesting statement made by Mr Aragão Correia to the court was that British Police officers had been ‘investigating’ Gonçalo Amaral. This is probably yet another fabrication by this dodgy, dishonest lawyer. It will be interesting to see if the trial judge asks him for their names, ranks, collar number and their place of employment. It would be a truly sensational revelation if it could ever be proved that any paid British security officer had actually been used in what Mr Aragão Correia was clearly suggesting was a ‘private investigator’ role, trying to get any ‘dirt’ on Amaral.
The failure of the British press to report the trial
It is just possible that the case against Gonçalo Amaral and his fellow detectives, being brought by Portugal’s equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service, is being brought to clear Amaral and to prove him innocent. The chief prosecutor is thought by many to have a good relationship with the Portuguese Police. Did he perhaps bring this case knowing that Leonor Cipriano’s allegations would be exposed as bogus and that the facts about her lawyer’s direct links with Método 3 - and thereby to the McCanns - would become exposed?
That seems most unlikely, given that the alleged misconduct of Gonçalo Amaral in
the Cipriano case provides an all-too-convenient excuse for sidelining him from the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, and given also that the British press has made hay with endlessly recycling pictures of Leonor Cipriano with black eyes. So much so, in fact, that many people I have spoken to in England believe that it was Amaral himself who was the one who personally beat up Ms Cipriano, never mind being the detective who was supposed to have covered up things his team of detectives is supposed to have done.
Certainly some interesting information has come out of the trial of Amaral and his colleagues, for example:
(1) The involvement of Método 3 in their close association with Mr Aragão Correia
(2) The apparent funding of Aragão Correia by Método 3 - though clearly we do not yet know the full extent of this
(3) The claim that the Prison Governor ordered the alteration of an initial report of the beating and of a medical report
(4) The alleged special treatment that Leonor Cipriano was accorded by the Prison Governor after the beating
(5) The fact that Leonor Cipriano appears to have been beaten some days after her confession, when probably all the other inmates in the prison already knew about her confession
(6) The dirty and possibly illegal proposed deal to give the four detectives light sentences in order to ‘get’ Gonçalo Amaral.
A French journalist who has closely covered the Madeleine McCann case, Duarte Levy, appeared on TV in October (2008) and claimed to have interviewed an ex-convict who was doing time in the same prison as Leonor Cipriano at the time of the events. When asked if she knew who had beaten Leonor Cipriano in prison, the female ex-convict is said to have replied: “Of course I know. I was one of them”.
That account seems far more credible than what Leonor Cipriano asks us to believe, namely that four police detectives, none of whose identities she can recall, beat her up days after she made her confession to the Police.
Now we need to consider why two parents of a missing child would criticise the Police Officer leading the hunt for her, almost from ‘Day One’ of the investigation. If the McCanns had genuinely believed that Madeleine had been abducted, they might possibly have had grounds for thinking that he may not be doing all that he could to search for Madeleine. But to discredit Mr Amaral from the offset seems to demonstrate that the McCanns simply wanted to blame everyone but themselves for Madeleine’s fate. They wanted to smear him and make out they were being framed – a clever tactic, and one for which their chief PR adviser. Mr Clarence Mitchell, had been well trained, as one of the government’s chief ‘spinners’. He had been Head of the ‘Media Monitoring Unit’ at the Central Office of Information on the day Madeleine had been reported ‘missing’.
More likely, given the overwhelming evidence that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz and was not abducted, they recognised in Gonçalo Amaral, from the start, that he would be a threat to their having staged a hoax abduction.
It must have been clear to them soon after the early days that Gonçalo Amaral was a determined pursuer of the truth and was most unlikely to be capable of being bribed.
Did the Portuguese government and the higher judicial authorities there who approved this ill-judged trial of Gonçalo Amaral and his colleagues badly over-reach themselves? Perhaps they thought that they could clinch a verdict against Amaral, with the help of the Prison Governor and others giving false evidence? No doubt they were hoping that Amaral would be convicted at least of ‘perverting the course of justice’, or something like that - if not actual torture - with the pliant British press on hand to report ‘Disgraced Maddie cop guilty of torture cover-up’, or words to that effect.
After all, the British press and the British and Portuguese authorities seemed to have laid the groundwork Amaral's name only appeared in the British press prefixed by the phrase ‘disgraced cop", preferably with a mention of the Cipriano case and ‘torture’ thrown in for good measure, along with that iconic photo of a miserable-looking Leonor Cipriano with two black eyes.
During the past year or so, every time bad news about the police investigation surfaced, the McCanns and their PR team would be quick to seize on ‘corruption’, ‘beatings’ etc. that were supposedly ‘rife’ in the Portuguese judicial system.
Perhaps this court case was intended by the Portuguese government to be the ‘final vindication’ of the reputation of the two Doctors - providing ‘proof’, if it were needed, that the person who had disgracefully smeared them by making them suspects was a man with a track record of corruption and brutality. That would in turn confirm that the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends were absolutely correct not to co-operate with him and his team, and totally justified in hot-footing it out of Portugal - despite promising to stay there ‘until Madeleine was found’ - and refusing to go back for a reconstruction. How fortunate for the British and Portuguese authorities that the British press seem to have lost all interest in Madeleine, and have to date failed to report on the remarkable events at this trial.
As one person on one of the many Madeleine McCann forums pointed out: “Odd, isn't it? ‘McCann friends get out-of-court payout from newspaper’ is front-page news in several national papers, while ‘McCann private detectives accused of paying lawyer to frame Maddie cop’ doesn't get a mention. Clearly I have no nose for what makes a powerful front-page story”.
A book by Marcos Alexandre Aragao Correia
In December 2008, there was a remarkable interview given by Aragao Correia to a Portuguese journalist, José Leite, from the magazine O Crime. In this interview, he spoke about a book he was writing that ‘mixed truth and fiction’ (perhaps a bit like himself in real life), titled: “The Little Girls that Came from the Stars”. He said it contained references to the hunt for Madeleine McCann.
Aragao Correia told the journalist: “I mix true facts with imaginary ones, dealing with new aspects of the private investigation that Maddie’s parents carried out into their daughter’s disappearance. In the book I speak about my powers as a medium - and how those powers were useful to develop a private investigation that counted on the support of the Método 3 Detective Agency. I wanted to employ that gift of mine to help discover hard truths about the disappearance of Maddie, without in any way using my gift for material gain. My goal was not to earn money - especially as I am fortunate enough to lead an economical life in Madeira without any financial difficulties - but simply to help those parents who were so distraught and living in such a distressed state. One of the major teachings of spiritualism is that it is only through helping others that we are able to help ourselves. That was what I intended to do in this case: to help this little girl, showing her my all-conquering, precious love”.
Pausing there, we see that Aragao Correia states boldy that he is a spritualist, claiming the psychic powers of a medium. Now people have different views about claims like these, some dismissing them as complete fantasy, others by contrast emphasising that these are dangerous occult powers and not to be tampered with (the Christian view). One thing that can safely be said is that a procession of psychics (over 150, it was reported) offered their help to the McCanns and the Portuguese police - and from the records we have of the claims they made, it seems that every ‘psychic’ had a different ‘hunch’ or ‘feeling’ about what might have happened to Madeleine. In short, without wishing to unduly hurt the feelings of mediums and those who claim psychic powers, they are unreliable. Therefore we can place no trust whatsoever in what inforamtion Aragao Correia claims to have divined from his claimed powers as a medium.
Aragao Correia then went on to give the journalist an account of his ‘vision of Madeleine’. The journalist asked: “How did that premonition of yours about the Maddie case happen?”
Here is Aragao Correia’s reply - if you can believe it:
“On 5th May, on returning from a spiritualist meeting in Madeira, immediately after going to bed, but just before falling asleep - at around midnight - an extraordinary thing happened to me, for the first time in my life: I saw the image of a little girl that must have been around four years of age, with blonde, shoulder-length straight hair, blue eyes, very disturbed, visibly unable to understand what was happening to her, accompanied by a female being of great beauty and great spiritual standing. Then, other images appeared to me, concerning what had happened to this girl. I saw a strongly-built man, blue eyes, somewhat balding and with blondish hair, brutally raping that girl and then strangling her with his hands, throwing the cadaver into a lake. I perceived by a map that was shown to me [he does not say by whom - T.B.] , that this happened in the Algarve, but I couldn’t read the name of the village. I stress that I hadn’t seen any photo of Maddie before. I only knew, from what I’d heard on the radio, that she was 3 years old”.
Correia Aragao developed his story further, as the journalist asks him if his ‘vision’ of a ‘strongly-buily blond man’ corresponded with anyone who featured in the Portuguese investigation:
“Yes, there were references about a strongly built individual of British appearance as a suspect. Still, as this was my first vision in my entire life, there was, on my part, a certain reluctance to divulging it. So I let a few days pass, to see whether or not the little girl showed up. Eventually I gave this lead to the Policia Judiciara (PJ), on 9th May, but after that they never contacted me. Later on, I received information from a PJ insider in Portimão that the investigation was no longer based on the working hypothesis of abduction. So it was then that I decided to carry out my own private investigation. I travelled over to continental Portugal, and visited the various lakes and dams of the Algarve, until I reached the Arade Dam, which was the only one that precisely matched the scenery that I had seen in my vision. I decided to contact a senior official at Método 3, the detective agency that had been hired by the McCanns to investigate their daughter’s disappearance. When I mentioned that the dam was located in Silves, I noticed that they were surprised and immediately wanted to speak with me”.
Again, let us pause to evaluate these words from the unreliable Aragao Correia. He tells us he had this vision on a Saturday night (5 May), after a spritualist meeting. Then he claims he gave the information to the PJ four days later. What information? And how? - by e-mail? Or by ’phone? Then we get to an interesting snippet - that he recieves inside information (from a PJ police officer, presumably) that the investigation is no longer working on abduction as a theory, but presumably on the possibility that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A and her body hidden or disposed of. That ties in with inforamtion received by Belgian journalist Duarte Levy that there was indeed a Portuguese detective who was leaking information about the investigation to Métetodo 3 who in turn, of course, were leaking it to the McCanns and to their team of lawyers and PR advisers.
Then we are asked to believe that Aragao Correia only decided to contact Métetodo 3 after he had finally located the Arade Dam as the one which matched his ‘vision’. The claim that he only contacted Métetodo 3 after visiting the Arada Dam must be put alongside his admission that he had been paid ‘expenses’ for searching the Arade Dam by Métetodo 3, after he had earlier claimed that he had been funding the search out of the cahritable goodness of his own heart. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that Aragao Correia was in bed with Métetodo 3 and the McCanns well before the searching of the Arade dam and that the Arade dam searches were a well-rehearsed attempt to divert attention away from the McCanns and on to the possibility that Madeleine had been snatched by a predatory paedophile. It was the discovery of items that might belong to Madeleine in the Arade Dam that was, quite unbeleiveably, hailed by the McCanns as ‘fantastic news’.
Aragao Correia takes up his story: “Two detectives [from Métetodo 3] met with me and told me that they had already received thousands of leads, but that mine was corroborated by a physical case that they had already established. It involved a Portuguese truck driver, M. Gautier, who only two days after the disappearance of Madeleine, at around 4pm to 5pm, while driving down the IC1 road, near the Arade Dam, saw two cars parked by the road, an Audi A3 that was driven by a man - and a green car (of a very unuual green) that was driven by a blonde woman. The two vehicles were separated by a small metallic fence, and while driving by in his truck, the driver saw what seemed like an inanimate child to him, being passed from one car to another, wrapped up in a blanket”.
Aragao Correia claims, then, that Métetodo 3 had a credible report of a child in a blanket being passed from one car to another on Satrurday 5 May in the afternoon - two days after Madeleine ‘disappeared’. He goes into detail, claiming that Metodo 3 had established from M. Gautier, the Portuguese truck driver, that he “knew the blanket conatined a child by the manner in which the body stood out from the blanket. The bent legs and small dimensions made him conclude, without hesitation, that it was a child. On the other hand, the extremely protective way in which the couple held the blanket, on a hot day, was suspicious”. He adds the claim that M. Gautier contacted the police the very same day - Saturday 5 May. Correia says: “I spoke to M. Gautier myself. He told me that the PJ had ridiculed him as soon as he called them, on the very same day that he had witnessed the body being transferred from car to car near the metal fence”.
“It was all extremely strange”, continues Aragao Correia, “and because of that, in November, the truck driver reported everything to the detectives at Método 3”.
Let’s pause there. November? Six whole months after Madeleine went missing. Are we to take seriously the claim that this Portuguese truck driver, M. Gautier, waited for six whole months to contact Métetodo 3, and tell them about the child being passed from one car to another - one of them a vivid green?
Correia continued: “Métetodo 3 detectives showed M. Gautier the photos of some of the main suspects in the disappearance of Maddie, and found some physiognomic similarities with at least two of them. The PJ were given this lead once again in November, but discarded it once again, after analysing the triangulation points from the suspicious couple’s mobile phones, and after questioning the owners of a plot of land on that plot. The PJ committed a gross mistake by investigating only that suspect and his girlfriend. The truck driver said that he couldn’t be certain that it was that precise suspect, but rather that it was a person with similar physiognomic features, mainly in terms of body mass”.
So what are we left with here? A truck driver, M. Gautier, says he saw a ‘suspect’ with a similar body shape and body mass to two ‘suspects’ apparently identified by Métetodo 3. A truck driver, moreover, who waits six months after he says he first reported this to the PJ, to contact Métetodo 3. It all sounds hugely unlikley. And as it is Aragao Correia telling the story, we can probably dismiss this whole account as a fabrication.
And if all that sounds unlikely, what can we make of the next part of Aragao Correia’s account? He said: “Métetodo 3 submitted me to a test in order to prove beyond all dount whether or not my medium abilities and my accounts were credible. They were fed up with following false leads. The fact is that the test gave totally positive results, according to what was confirmed to me personally by the Director of Métetodo 3 in Barcelona herself. Following my medium abilties passing Métetodo 3’s stringnet tests, Método 3 offered full support to my research. But given the fact that Maddie’s parents preferred to spend the decreasing money from the Helping to Find Madeleine Fund mainly following leads based on the belief that their daughter was still alive, they dismissed the possibility of paying professional divers to search the dam. So I offered myself to pay for the first phase of the searches in the dam, having later received much support, including financial support, from mediums and spiritualists who believed in and corroborated my theory”.
Well, what can we take from that account? We are left in amazement at the nature of the ‘stringent test’ that Metodo 3 could have devised to ‘prove’ Mr Correia’s mediumistic abilities. And now we have yet another story on who paid for those expensive dam searches. First, Correia told us he had generously funded the searches himself, out of the goodness of of his heart, then we were told tha Metodo 3 had ‘helped him with expenses’. Now we get a third version, namely: “I was given money by a group of mediums and spritualists who corroborated my theory”. If anyone still thinks that Corrreia just might be telling the trutt, here surley is another absurd claim which absolutely clinches the fact that this man is con-man and a fraud.
Correia then returns to the dam searches and tells the journalist: “The dam searches found items of relevance, but these were not sufficient as evidence. Maybe I made some mistakes, which might have alerted the possible abductors of the little English girl: On 11th January, before the diving in the dam started, Lux magazine published my suspicions in a front page article. Yet it was almost two months later that the searches were started at the dam. That was more than enough time for the criminals to hide any incriminating residues. Nevertheless, we discovered a girl’s sock that was Maddie’s age. I believe the sock might have been used by Maddie, although the lab tests failed to detect any human residues, due to the fact that it stayed underwater for such a long time. We also found several knotted lengths of rope, over five metres [16 feet] long, which would have been ideal to tie up the body at the bottom of the dam. All of this was recovered by the divers in an area where there was no other rubbish. Método 3 were always closely involved in the searches, monitoring them closely, and took all of those objects back to Spain for examination”.
The journalist then asks Correia to comment on the PJ investigation. he answered: “The information that I received as a medium didn’t allow for me to understand what the criminal’s motivation was. But information that I obtained later on - especially from consulting an excellent book by criminologist Barra da Costa - led me to believe the theory, admitted by the former PJ Chief Inspector, that the police wasn’t interested in finding Maddie nor in catching the real culprits over her disappearance. Dr Barra da Costa said in his book that there was something like a tacit plan to induce a general sense of insecurity across society, to allow for the micro-chip (a device implanted in human beings that gives out signals to track down where they are) to be produced on a major scale. At the beginning I had some reservations concerning that issue, because I had never heard about it, but I was interested careful enough to go on the internet and to consult several credible websites, including FBI and CIA sources, where I found some amazing things: the micro-chip was indeed being promoted as the ideal weapon to prevent crime. These sources added that the population should be induced into accepting this technological revolution, even if at the cost of deliberatley promoting mass insecurity policies. Well, the Maddie case fell like ‘manna from heaven’ for the promotion of the microchip, especially as far as children are concerned”.
And on that interesting note, the interview with Correia ends.
madeleinefoundation.org Website of the author of the above and co-compiler and writer of:
What really happened to Madeleine McCann?
60 reasons which suggest that she was not abducted. (30 available online)
Joana Morais. Portuguese blogger who writes in English, the best informed and least excitable blog dedicated in the main to the dissaperance of Madeleine McCann.
mccannfiles.com (Nigel Moore) The definitive archive for all things McCann.
gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk Web site of Pamalam, another great source for articles photo's and McCann blog pages.