“She died in the apartment as a result of a tragic accident and the parents simulated an abduction after failing to care of their children,” Tavares de Almeida, former chief inspector at Portimao police station during the initial months of the investigation, told the court in Lisbon.
“These were the conclusions of a police report signed by me on September 10 2007,” he added.
The pair held hands and exchanged occasional whispers and nods as they were passed notes by interpreters informing them of court proceedings, which were carried out in Portuguese.
Mr Amaral, dressed in a dark suit and purple tie, was seated at the bench beside his legal team, fifteen feet away from the couple.
“That is when we decided to send the specialist dogs in.
British police informed us about how they could detect the scent of death.” He admitted that the police had been suspicious of the Mc Canns from the start of the investigation.
“She said she had dreamt that Madeleine was on a hill and that we should search for her there.
“She gave the impression that she thought she was dead – it was a turning point for us.” The senior detective said the land was searched but nothing was found.The allegations against Kate and Gerry Mc Cann, both 41, were presented in court on the first day of a hearing to challenge the publication of a book written by Algarve detective Goncalo Amaral.Lawyers for the detective, who led the team that made the Mc Canns arguidos – suspects – in their daughter’s disappearance, called witnesses to support the claims outlined in his book.The Mc Canns did not kill her but they concealed the body,” Mr de Almeida, who worked under Amaral and was also taken off the case in September 2007, said the decision to designate the Mc Canns 'arguidos' was made by police after sniffer dogs brought to Portugal from England had carried out their searches.Giving evidence, Mr de Almeida said that the dogs had identified blood and the scent of a human corpse inside the childrens’ bedroom and the dining room of the Mc Canns’ holiday flat.“They disobeyed our request to keep quiet about the details of their daughter’s disappearance while we conducted our investigation.