Madeleine McCann’s parents speak out after defeat in legal fight with detective

Madeleine McCann’s parents have said they are “disappointed” to have lost their legal battle over comments made by a former Portuguese detective.

Goncalo Amaral claimed in a book, a documentary and a newspaper interview that Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in their three-year-old daughter’s disappearance.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed the couple’s complaint that Mr Amaral had failed to respect their right to a private life.

The ECHR ruled there had already been extensive publicity about the claims against them, before Mr Amaral’s book was published in July 2008.

In a statement released by their lawyers, the McCanns said: “We are naturally disappointed with decision of the European Court of Human Rights announced today.

“However, much has changed since we started legal proceedings 13 years ago against Mr Amaral, his publisher and broadcaster.

“We took action for one and only one reason: Mr Amaral’s unfounded claims were having a detrimental impact on the search for Madeleine.

“If the public believed that we were involved in her disappearance, then people would not be alert for possible clues and may not report relevant information to the relevant law enforcement agencies.”

They also expressed their gratitude for the work of the British, German and Portuguese police, before adding their hope that those responsible for their daughter’s disappearance would be brought to justice.

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