McCanns' pain 'multiplied 100 times' by book, court hears

Madeleine McCann Madeleine was three when she disappeared

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Claims made in a book about the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann made their distress considerably worse, a Portuguese court has heard.

Gerry McCann's sister Trish Cameron said they had been left in "purgatory" by the disappearance of Madeleine and claims in the book they were involved.

The McCanns are seeking £1m of libel damages from a former Portuguese police chief who wrote the 2008 book.

Madeleine was three when she disappeared in the Algarve in May 2007.

She had been staying in the family's holiday apartment with her younger siblings when she disappeared.

Mr McCann and his wife, Kate, had been at dinner with friends, 100 yards from the apartment, at the time of her disappearance.

'Vilified'

Goncalo Amaral was the detective who initially led the inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance, but was removed from the Portuguese investigation in October 2007 after criticising the British police.

Start Quote

They [McCanns] would like an end but there is no end because they don't know what's happened”

End Quote Trish Cameron

His book was published in 2008 claiming the girl was dead and that her parents had lied about what happened.

The McCanns deny the claims and say the book discouraged people from coming forward with information.

Mrs Cameron told the court in Lisbon's Palace of Justice on Wednesday that the book and TV documentary based on it caused the family to be "vilified" and "demonised".

"My brother and sister-in-law live in purgatory because they have no end and they are looking for the truth.

"They would like an end but there is no end because they don't know what's happened."

She continued: "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."

Last week, Mr McCann said he was ready to testify in court that the book defamed him and his wife.

No decision has yet been made on whether Mr McCann will be heard.

Mr Amaral has also applied to give evidence at the trial and is waiting a decision.

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