Kate McCann 'contemplated suicide' after detective's book on Madeleine's disappearance

Psychologist said that following publication of Gonçalo Amaral's book, Kate McCann 'thought about not being around anymore'
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The devastated mother of missing Madeleine McCann considered suicide and told her psychologist of 'dark thoughts' after a Portuguese detective published a book alleging she faked her daughter's disappearance, a libel trial has heard.

Psychologist Alan Pike said Kate McCann spent days weeping after the book was released alleging that she and her husband Gerry hid Madeleine's body after she had died in an accident at their apartment in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve.

Mr Pike told Lisbon's civil court that following publication in 2008 of Gonçalo Amaral's book 'The Truth Of The Lie', Kate McCann "thought about not being around anymore".

The psychologist, who met with Kate and Gerry McCann two days after their daughter's disappearance on May 3 2007 to offer them psychological support, told the court: "Kate talked about not being around anymore, and referred to killing herself as an option.

"I deduced it was an indication of how she felt rather than something she ever intended to do."

The McCanns have repeatedly and strongly denied the accusations levelled against them Mr Amaral's book that they hid their daughter's body after she died in an accident and faked an abduction.

He also claimed the couple cashed in on £2 million of public donations. The McCanns say his claims damaged the hunt for Madeleine and exacerbated the anguish suffered by her relatives.

Mr Pike, who was assigned to the McCanns by tour operator Mark Warner after Madeleine’s disappearance, said: “She spent many days in tears and sobbing at the injustice done to Madeleine by the very people who should be helping her.”

Mr Amaral, 56, was removed from the Portuguese investigation in October 2007 after criticising the British police.

The book was released just three days after the McCanns - made suspects over their daughter's death in September 2007 - had that status formally lifted by Portuguese police.

The former detective denies defamation and says his claims are already contained in police and court case files on Madeleine which have been made public.

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

British detectives launched a fresh investigation into her disappearance in July - two years into a review of the case - and believe she could still be alive.

The Portuguese investigation into Madeline's disappearance is officially closed.

Mrs McCann, who was not in attendance today, travelled to Portugal for the start of the trial last week to "stop the damage" she believes is being caused to the search for her daughter by a former local police chief.

She could have been called as a witness but is not expected to give evidence.

The case, reportedly due to finish hearing evidence in November, continues.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.