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

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam