UPDATED – Kate and Gerry McCann have arrived at court in Lisbon today. The couple were expected to deliver an emotional statement to describe how the accusations by the former police chief have affected them. Speculated to be their final appearance in the libel trial against the former police chief, Gonçalo Amaral, who led the initial investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
However, Mr Amaral’s Legal team has submitted a letter to the judge asking for postponement as he sacked his lawyer.
Mrs McCann was visibly distressed as she announced in a statement: “The hearing has been cancelled once again at Mr Amaral’s request. This is the fourth time that this has happened and we’ve travelled to Portugal.Every time he postpones the case like this it brings us more pain and distress. Every time we come here we have to make arrangements for our children to be looked after, we have to book flights, we have to book hotels, and we have to take time off work.”
Mr Amaral’s 2008 book ‘The Truth of The Lie,’ included allegations that Madeleine McCann died in an accident in her family’s Algarve holiday apartment, and her death was covered up by her parents. These allegations were presented to the court on the first day of the hearing in 2010, although the final ruling is not expected until later in the year.
“She died in the apartment as a result of a tragic accident and the parents simulated an abduction after failing to take care of their children,” former chief inspector at Portimao police station told the court in Lisbon.
The Portuguese police and Scotland Yard officers carried out searches in areas around the Algarve resort town last week, but the failure to find evidence relating to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann reinforced the belief that their daughter could still be alive.
If the court rules against Mr Amaral, the McCanns could receive over €1.25 million (£1 million) in damages.
The search teams looking for missing Madeleine McCann have called off their latest search after failing to find any evidence in the areas they had been investigating.
Search teams had used sniffer dogs and radar devices in the investigation of three different sites in Praia da Luz, close to where the three-year-old went missing during a holiday with her family.
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that no evidence relating to Madeleine McCann had been found after an eight-day search, but that “more activity has been agreed.” A statement released by the police said there was “still a substantial amount of work yet to be completed in the coming weeks and months.”
It continued: “This recent work is part of ensuring that all lines of enquiry are progressed in a systematic manner and covers just the one hypothesis that she was killed and buried locally.This is the same as would be done in the UK for a murder or high risk missing person inquiry.”
It is expected that requests for further investigations will be submitted to the Portuguese authorities shortly.
Police in Portugal has stated that a number of suspects are due to be questioned when the operation has concluded.
Kate and Gerry McCann have issued a statement in relation to the new status of the search, they are reportedly “very pleased” with the digs carried out in Praia da Luz over the last 10 days.
“We are further encouraged that despite the intensive searches, no trace of Madeleine has been found and this reinforces our belief that she could still be alive. As parents of a missing child, we have always wanted all reasonable lines of inquiry to be followed and it is gratifying to know that a substantial amount of work will take place over the coming months with the close co-operation of the British and Portuguese authorities.
“We would like to thank all those involved for their efforts and the members of the public who have come forward with information.”