The cloud that still hangs over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Twelve years after their three-year-old daughter’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann have never, actually, been proven innocent.

Madeleine McCann is arguably, the world’s most famous missing person. She vanished from her bed while on holiday in Portugal with her family in 2007.

Her twin siblings were asleep in the room with her, and her parents were dining with friends at a tapas bar in the resort complex 55 metres away.

The alarm was raised at about 10pm by Kate, who had gone to check on the children and discovered Madeleine was missing.

Listen to Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky on the case of Madeleine McCann. Post continues after audio.

The couple were ruled out as formal suspects in 2008, but their alleged involvement has always been a popular ‘theory’ for the little girl’s disappearance.

Other theories include being taken by a childless couple, wandering from the apartment herself where-by she died by accident, or that she was abducted by sex traffickers.

Private investigator Julian Peribanez says in the new Netflix documentary in relation to the latter: “The value that Madeleine had was really high. If they took her it’s because they were going to get a lot of money.”

One of the theories presented in the Netflix series in relation to the McCann’s alleged involvement, is that police thought the couple might have killed her with an overdose of Calpol.

Kate McCann has long been a figure of suspicion, particularly because of her decision to use her right to silence in her 11-hour interrogation by Portuguese police.

Dogs trained to detect blood were also brought in in the early days of the investigation, and they found human blood in the wardrobe of the main bedroom, behind the couch and on the McCann’s rental car in the garage.


Ex-police chief Goncalo Amaral was the leading detective on the case back in 2007, and wrote a book claiming the McCanns were responsible for Maddie’s death.

He claims the McCanns faked Madeline’s abduction after she “died” in their holiday apartment. He says his work is based on publicly available police and court files on the case.

They sued him for that book, and in 2015 he was ordered to pay the couple AUD $658,000 in damages for claims made in The Truth Of the Lie.

If you’re yet to watch. Here’s the trailer for the new Netflix documentary on Maddie’s case. Post continued after video.

Video by Netflix

But two years later judges overturned the ruling saying his claims were “within admissible limits in a democratic and open society.”

It was in this ruling, in 2017, that it was revealed the McCanns weren’t necessarily ‘innocent.’

The 76-page ruling read; “It should not be said that the appellants were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case.”

It goes on to say it would be wrong to draw any inferences about the couple’s guilt or innocence from their decision.

But it notes the case was shelved not because prosecutors believed Kate and Gerry were innocent, but due to a lack of evidence.

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