Allegations | 

Madeleine McCann's parents lose case over ex-detective’s claims they were involved in disappearance

Goncalo Amaral claimed in a book, TV documentary and newspaper interview that the McCanns were involved in Madeleine's disappearance

Madeleine McCann went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in 2007

Kate and Gerry McCann© PA

Margaret DavisReuters

The parents of Madeleine McCann have lost the latest stage of their legal battle over comments made by a retired Portuguese detective claiming they were involved in her disappearance.

Lawyers for Kate and Gerry McCann argued that Portuguese authorities had breached their right to respect for a private and family life in the way the courts there dealt with their libel claims against Goncalo Amaral.

He claimed in a book, TV documentary and newspaper interview that the McCanns were involved in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

Kate and Gerry McCann© PA

In a judgment published on Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights found that the couple's reputation had been damaged by the fact that they were made official suspects in the case for a short time, rather than Mr Amaral's comments.

The McCanns now have three months to appeal against the decision.

Their three-year-old daughter vanished during a family holiday to Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 2007.

Earlier this year German investigators found new evidence against the prime suspect in her disappearance, a prosecutor revealed in an interview on Portuguese television.

Convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner was declared a suspect in the case by Portuguese officials in April as a 15-year legal deadline approached, and he has been under investigation by German officials for two years.

In May the McCanns said it was essential they find out the truth as they marked the 15th anniversary of their daughter's disappearance.

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