Madeleine McCann's father Gerry returns to Portugal court for libel case

Gerry McCann has applied to give evidence in case against Goncalo Amaral over book making allegations about Madeleine's disappearance

Madeleine McCann’s father Gerry arrived in Lisbon today to attend the libel case regarding a book written about their daughter’s disappearance by a former Portuguese police chief.

The court heard from Mr McCann’s sister, Trish Cameron, who said that the book The Truth Of The Lie had multiplied the family’s distress “100 times”.

The McCann’s say the book written by Goncalo Amaral, who at one time led the investigation into Madeleine’s case, makes claims that they hid their daughter’s body after she died in an accident and faked an abduction – suggestions which the family says damaged their hunt for the young girl.

Speaking about the alleged exacerbation of the McCanns’ pain and suffering, Mrs Cameron said her brother and his wife Kate had been “vilified and demonised” as a result of Mr Amaral’s book and a subsequent TV documentary.

She said the claims it made were even more damaging than when the pair were named as “arguidos”, or formal suspects, in the case.

“This was a different thing,” Mrs Cameron said. “It was much more conclusive and demonising them, dehumanising them, saying they did not care for their children, that they were responsible.

“It makes it out that they weren't truthful and they have been vilified and it's very hard to turn round opinion about them that has been so widely spread.”

She told the court the Portuguese people had “turned against” the McCanns, adding: “Maybe people like a solution and an end to things, they were fed up with the McCanns, they wanted them to go away, but they weren't going away. They still had a missing child.

“This perhaps gave people a conclusion, but it's not the right conclusion, it's all lies.”

If successful in the case the family stands to be awarded around £1 million in damages. The McCanns were paid £550, 000 in damages in 2008 after Express Newspapers settled a libel case over reports of Madeleine's disappearance. The money was used to fund the Find Madeleine campaign.

Mrs Cameron, whose voice cracked as she described the effect on her family by the publication of the book, said: “They were vilified in this book so their distress was multiplied 100 times.

“This pain was felt by all of their family because we still have a missing child and we knew that what is in there is not true.”

Mrs Cameron, from Glasgow, travelled to Lisbon with brother Gerry, who has applied to give evidence in the case.

Mr McCann still does not know whether he will be able to give evidence at the trial, and no decision was taken today.

Other legal teams are thought to have until October 16 to make submissions on his application, ahead of the judge making her final decision.

As Mr McCann left court at lunchtime, he said: “Obviously it's disappointing, but we will just keep going.”

Madeleine, who was then nearly four, disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on 3 May 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant with friends.

Mr Amaral, the detective who initially led the inquiry into her disappearance, was removed from the Portugese investigation in October 2007 after criticising the British police.

He has also applied to give evidence at the trial and is awaiting a decision.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions