Portugal’s law chief says he will announce ‘solution’ to Madeleine McCann case next week

By Daniel Bates
Last updated at 10:13 PM on 16th July 2008

Madeleine McCann
Missing: Madeleine McCann, pictured on the day she went missing

Portugal’s law chief says he will announce a ‘solution’ next week to the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Attorney-general Fernando Pinto Monteiro’s words raised the prospect of Kate and Gerry McCann finding out if they will be formally cleared of involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

Although Mr Pinto Monteiro failed to elaborate on what he meant, his comments reinforce speculation the 14-month investigation is finally drawing to a close.

Speaking to Portuguese reporters in Lisbon, Mr Pinto Monteiro said: ‘The “Maddie Case” will have a solution on Monday and you will hear of it.’

Prosecutors have been reviewing the final investigation report on Madeleine’s disappearance and it would appear Mr Pinto Monteiro will be making his decision early next week, based on their recommendations.

Reports suggested he would announce whether the case would be closed, charges would be brought or the police would be asked to undertake further inquiries.

Madeleine disappeared on May 3 last year, nine days before her fourth birthday.

The McCanns left her, and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie, alone in the flat while they dined with holiday companions at a tapas restaurant 50 yards across their holiday complex in Praia Da Luz.

Madeleine’s parents, both doctors from Rothley in Leicestershire, were subsequently designated by Portuguese police as official suspects.

When the case is wrapped up the couple, who have denied any wrongdoing, could be cleared.

However according to reports in a Portuguese tabloid, the Correio da Manha, they could face neglect charges.

The paper said although the 50-page final police report on the case concludes there is no evidence the couple were involved in the disappearance of their daughter, it leaves open the possibility that the McCanns could be charged with abandoning Madeleine and the twins, then aged two.

The charge of abandonment carries a maximum ten-year jail sentence in Portugal, but only if prosecutors can prove the McCanns, both 40, intended to neglect Madeleine.

Ex-pat Robert Murat was the only other individual made an official suspect by Portuguese police. He also has denied any wrongdoing and, if the case concludes, will find out if he will be cleared or face further investigation.

The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said the family had not been contacted by the Portuguese authorities.

“We’ve heard nothing official and our lawyers have heard nothing official,” he said.

“It may well be true, but we can’t comment because we haven’t heard. We’re not going to prejudice anything.”

He earlier made it clear the family would ‘vigorously’ defend any neglect charges.

Last week a High Court Judge made an astonishing appeal for Madeleine’s abductor to ‘show mercy and come forward’.

Speaking as she ordered Lancashire Police to hand over details of 81 potential witnesses to the disappearance, Mrs Justice Hogg called for an end to Kate and Gerry McCann’s suffering and said she prayed Madeleine would be found alive soon.

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