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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

Former detective who criticised Madeleine McCann's parents jailed for organised

A former Portuguese detective who starred in the recent Netflix documentary about the Madeleine McCann case has been jailed for seven and a half years for helping plan two violent burglaries.
Paulo Pereira Cristovao, 51, is a long-time critic of Maddie’s parents who angered them with a controversial book about the mystery disappearance.

He was convicted over his role in the raids at properties in Lisbon and the nearby resort of Cascais.

State prosecutors accused him of being a key player in an organised crime gang, supplying them with information about victims and the homes to be targeted.

The ex-cop, who left the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) following a torture trial which also implicated the ex-chief investigator on the Maddie case Goncalo Amaral, will remain a free man pending an appeal.

It emerged Pereira Cristovao was facing trial in March when he played a prominent role in the documentary ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’.

He admitted involvement at a court in Cascais before it started.

But he denied prosecution claims he was a ringleader in the gang and insisted after the guilty verdict on Friday that he had been convicted of crimes, such as kidnapping, which he had not committed.

His defence lawyer told the court he had returned the £8,500 commission he was paid for one of the raids to a victim.

All but one of the 17 defendants were convicted over the 2014 raids, led by police officers with false search warrants who used the illegal operations to steal cash and other valuables.

In one, a couple and their daughter were kidnapped and the culprits took more than £100,000.

Two police officers, both sacked before the trial, were jailed for 17 and 16 years respectively.

Prosecutors alleged that the ringleader Nuno Mendes, nicknamed Mustafa, received instructions from Pereira Cristovao and passed them on to a relative who then got the rogue police officers to carry out the bogus raids.

Pereira Cristovao has been a constant critic of Kate and Gerry McCann and called for them to be arrested for leaving their children alone in their Algarve holiday apartment after Madeleine vanished on May 3, 2007.

He claimed in a 2008 book called The Star of Madeleine that the toddler was dead and her body had been dumped at sea.

The couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell called his comments ‘hurtful and distressing’ and accused him of trying to profit from the McCanns’ misfortune.

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