Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

New Madeleine McCann leads filed away, says father


Gerry McCann on the search for his daughter Madeleine

New leads in the search for missing Madeleine McCann are being effectively ignored, her father Gerry has said.

He said "next to nothing" had been done in Portugal with new lines of inquiry, information had been simply filed away.

Mr and Mrs McCann, from Leicestershire, spoke to reporters after a Portuguese former detective failed to overturn a ban on his book about their daughter.

They said Goncalo Amaral's book, which suggested Madeleine was dead, defamed them and hindered their ongoing search.

Parents 'begging'

Mr McCann said it was "unacceptable" that new information sent to Portuguese police was not being properly followed up.

The McCanns, from Rothley, hired private detectives after the case was officially closed but say they have not been given access to new information.

By Ben Ando, BBC News

Kate and Gerry McCann sat close together to face the barrage of cameras and microphones in the basement room at Freud PR in central London, where the press conference was held.

Under the table, she held his hand as they answered questions that focused, largely, on their frustration at the authorities' attitude in Portugal and Britain.

And both seemed at times close to tears, as they described how "heartbreaking" they felt it was to see leads generated by their investigators not followed up.

Speaking in London, Mr McCann said: "We'd like to see ongoing police co-operation. We do believe more can be done."

He added: "You wouldn't have thought the parents of a missing child should have to be begging [for this to happen]."

The couple also renewed a call for the Portuguese police to carry out a "systematic review" of the case.

Mrs McCann described it as "heartbreaking" that important leads generated by private investigators were not being given proper attention.

On Thursday, Lisbon's main civil court upheld an injunction banning Mr Amaral's book Maddie: The Truth of The Lie.

The McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, said the judge had confirmed the original decision, which meant the book could not be reproduced or sold and Mr Amaral could not give interviews or statements about his theory in the book.

Sales banned

Mr Amaral had been removed as head of the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance after criticising the involvement of British police.

His book, which went on sale in July 2008, also questioned the couple's accounts of their daughter's disappearance.

Goncalo Amaral
Goncalo Amaral has vowed to continue his fight in the European court

In September 2009, a Portuguese injunction temporarily banned sales and further publication of the book, as well as a DVD version of it.

Mr Amaral launched a bid to overturn the ban last month, calling a series of witnesses to support his claims, but Judge Maria Gabriela Cunha Rodrigues rejected his challenge.

After the hearing, Mr Amaral said: "It is another step and I always said we were prepared to go to the European Court of Human Rights. Now we have another phase of appeal and we will carry on."

The McCanns are also seeking 1.2m euros (£1.04m) in compensation for defamation in separate civil proceedings against Mr Amaral in Portugal.

Madeleine went missing from a holiday flat in Praia da Luz on the Algarve in May 2007, aged three.

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