Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 16:17 UK

Robert Murat: In his own words

Robert Murat
Robert Murat denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance

Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat has given his first public interview since being named official suspect or arguido by police in Portgual.

Mr Murat has received 600,000 in damages from 11 British newspapers and an apology.

"It's a vindication. It's a line to get our lives back on track", Mr Murat told BBC News in an exclusive interview.

He believes that media in the UK had gone too far and hopes his case may help act as a restraint on some.

Robert Murat told the BBC's Richard Bilton it was a good feeling to have the newspapers apologise for printing false stories about him.

But he added: "I would have preferred to have not gone through it than had to get to this stage".

False accusations

Mr Murat said he had tried not to look at the papers after the first few days of coverage because of the allegations some made about him.

"Some of the newspapers said I had paedophile tendencies, I had child pornography, which is probably the worst of the worst.

I have been through hell and back without doing anything wrong
Robert Murat

"Other papers were indicating that I had DNA on my properties which is completely wrong".

He acknowledged that some people might always look at him with suspicion and that was something he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

"I did everything I did with the best intentions... everyone has their opinions. I can't change their opinions - hopefully time will change their opinions and... we'll have a result in the future to show that I had nothing to do with this."

Mr Murat said it had been devastating to be dragged into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in such a negative way.

"It took away my faith in humanity as such".

Family support

Mr Murat credited his family with helping him through the difficult times: "My family has helped me get up in the morning and face the next day".

He said that the first time he was taken in for questioning was probably the lowest point of last year.

He said that because of sensationalist coverage of the case many people had forgotten that a child was still missing.

He said the media's behaviour had been "disgusting".

"The media does need to have a look at itself and I think that if it can't look at itself I think there has to be some kind of protection for people that don't have the resources to be able to confront them"

Arguido status

Mr Murat said he did not understand why he was made an official suspect or arguido and said he wanted to be exonerated.

"I have to live my life knowing that I was linked to this situation but with a strong family I do have a future, I do feel I have a future".

"I have been through hell and back without doing anything wrong".

He said that despite his situation he thought the Portuguese police should carry on with the case.

"I don't want to be an arguido... I want to carry on with my life. But it doesn't necessarily mean I want the case to be shelved in Portugal. I do think the case should continue - I do think they should carry on to find that child".





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