Madeleine McCann case: Has an Australian documentary team really uncovered a 'sensational new twist'?

Australian TV news show releases trailer of forthcoming documentary promising "major new developments" - without revealing what they are

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The Independent Online

With the disappearance of Madeleine McCann approaching its tenth anniversary while losing none of its tabloid fascination, an Australian TV news show has managed to generate headlines in the UK about a “new clue” and “sensational twist” in the case – without yet revealing what the “new clue” and “sensational twist” are.

Australia’s ‘Sunday Night’ programme has released a 40-second trailer of what it promises will be a “groundbreaking TV event” revealing “major new developments” that could “finally reveal the truth about what happened to little Maddie”.

The cinematic-style trailer, complete with dramatic drum beat soundtrack, also promises: “Those closest to it, [the case] speak exclusively to Sunday Night’.”

The trailer, which has been released on social media, shows a Sunday Night reporter asking Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry: “Did you kill your daughter?”

This is a clip from an interview conducted in 2011.  The trailer does not include Gerry McCann’s reply: “No.  That’s an emphatic no.”

The trailer does feature comment from Pat Brown, a US-based criminal profiler and television commentator whose book casting doubt on the McCann’s account of the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter was published six years ago, in 2011.

Ms Brown, who has also appeared on documentaries about Jack the Ripper and “the mysterious death of Cleopatra”, has blogged extensively about the McCann case and given numerous interviews about it.

The trailer also features Goncalo Amaral, the Portugese police officer who led the initial hunt for Madeleine after she went missing in the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Mr Amaral was removed from the investigation after criticising British detectives, but in July 2008 he published a book, The Truth of the Lie, in which he claimed the McCanns faked the abduction of their daughter after she died in the family’s holiday apartment.

Three days after the book came out, Kate and Gerry McCann were officially told they were no longer regarded as formal suspects in the case.

Seeking to have the book banned, the McCanns won an initial libel case against Mr Amaral in 2015, but his was overturned on appeal in a judgement that reportedly left Madeleine’s parents “seething”.

Their lawyer described the appeal decision as “an appreciation of the law and not the facts”, but in January of this year Portugal’s supreme court ruled again in the ex-detective’s favour.

Upholding the appeal ruling, the Portugese supreme court judges said that Mr Amaral’s “right to freedom of ¬expression” was worthy of greater protection than the McCanns’ “right to honour”.

The McCanns have consistently maintained that Madeleine went missing from their holiday apartment while they ate out with friends in a restaurant 55 metres (180ft) away.  They continue to appeal for information that may help them find their daughter.

A spokesman for the McCanns has asked the makers of the Australian Channel 7 documentary to hand over any “credible” new evidence to the police.

The spokesman said: “If the Australian TV show contains any credible, fresh lines of inquiry they should, of course, have been given immediately to the police.”