Madeleine McCann’s parents face hefty legal fees nearly a decade after the start of a bitter court battle against the ex-police chief who has attacked them again in a new documentary.
Kate and Gerry McCann are about to be told by a Lisbon court they still owe thousands of pounds from their libel fight against Goncalo Amaral.
And the disgraced cop, who has repeated the accusation that the couple put their daughter’s life at risk in a new Netflix series about Madeleine’s 2007 disappearance, is set to increase their heartbreak by hitting them with a fresh four-figure demand for cash.
Amaral, 59, is waiting on a soon-to-come judgement from the European Court of Human Rights over the lengthy legal battle with the McCanns sparked by his hurtful 2008 book The Truth of The Lie before deciding whether to launch a compensation claim.
But legal papers at a Lisbon court show Madeleine’s parents are already nearly £24,000 out of pocket after accusing Amaral of defaming them by cruelly claiming in the book she died in an accident at their Algarve apartment and they covered it up.
Another bill totalling £5,346 to cover left-over court costs – half what they were being asked for before a successful appeal a judge has just ruled on – is about to be sent to their lawyer Isabel Duarte.
And that is likely to pave the way for a fresh claim by Amaral to get Madeleine’s parents to compensate him for another £5,148 in remaining fees he will be asked for that were incurred in persuading his country’s top court to back him over the book fight.
Thirteen volumes of court files charting the ongoing battle the McCanns started after Amaral published in July 2008 – just three days after they were told they were no longer suspects – detail the cash settlements they have been forced into after their initial 2015 libel win was overturned by two higher Portuguese courts.
The 2,958 pages show Madeleine’s parents had to pay £5,548 in costs to Truth of the Lie publishers Guerra e Paz despite its lawyer admitting to a miscalculation of nearly £1,800 in her initial estimate.
The files also show an error by Amaral’s lawyer Miguel Cruz Rodriguez almost led to the McCanns paying Amaral around £1,800 more in costs than they had to.
The McCanns’ lawyer Isabel Duarte paid the extra before complaining in writing to a judge to get the cash refunded.
The couple’s total bill so far from their Amaral libel fight comes to just under £24,500.
That includes their own legal fees and court costs but also four-figure payouts to the former detective and Truth of the Lie publishers Guerra e Paz.
The figure – which does not include costs they have incurred taking the case to Europe – will rise to nearly £35,000 once the McCanns are sent their new bill and Amaral demands they compensate him for his final payment linked to the Portuguese court fight.
In appendix to the files – kept on a shelf in a seventh-floor office at the same Lisbon Civil Court which ordered Amaral to pay the McCanns £430,000 in 2015 before its first-round libel decision was overturned on appeal – also lays bare the ex-cop’s dire financial position when he penned his controversial book.
Isabel Duarte applied to have his assets seized in June 2009 after lodging a claim for £1 million in damages on behalf of the McCanns and their children.
But a financial probe revealed in the court papers show that the £60,000 2700cc Jaguar car he drove was owned by a firm he set up four months after his book about Madeleine’s death was published.
It also showed an Algarve home – registered in his then-wife Sofia’s name – had loans totalling nearly £400,000 after the bank moved to repossess it following missed mortgage payments and Portuguese tax chiefs tried to recover a five-figure debt.
Amaral, now living in Lisbon, went on the attack again in a Netflix documentary series released earlier this month by claiming the McCanns put their toddler’s life at risk by publicising her distinctive eye marking.
A spokesman for the couple said the claims were “unfounded”.
A source close to the McCanns was quoted as saying: “Mr Amaral doesn’t seem to have any compassion for Kate and Gerry and is only interested in publicising himself.”