Portuguese police have apologised to Madeleine McCann‘s parents over their investigation into the missing toddler’s case.
The three-year-old went missing during a family holiday in the Algarve in May 2007, sparking a nation-wide man hunt.
The officers apologised for their handling of the case and the way the family was treated.
In the aftermath of the little girl’s disappearance both Gerry and her mother Kate McCann, were made ‘arguidos’ – or suspects – throughout the Portuguese probe.
Her parents were quizzed by detectives who suggested the pair had staged an abduction and concealed their daughter’s body.
Mrs McCann later said she was offered a deal, where if she admitted to covering up her Madeleine’s death she would be handed a shorter sentence.
Madeleine McCann went missing during a family holiday in the Algarve in May 2007, sparking a nation-wide man hunt
Police officers have now told BBC ‘s Panorama that a number of senior cops travelled from Lisbon to London earlier this year to meet Madeleine’s father Gerry McCann (pictured with his wife Kate McCann earlier this year)
The couple’s status as arguido’s was lifted in 2008 but remained under suspicion in the country for years, mainly suggested by the investigation’s original lead detective Goncalo Amaral.
Amaral was later sacked from the investigation but continued to insist on air and through his book that the couple are ‘still suspects’.
The McCann’s had tried to sue him over libel over the claims made in his book but this was thrown out by the Portguese supreme court.
The parent’s then tried to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights but they lost this challenge in September of last year.
Amaral’s claims came amid a horrific online campaign against the grieving mother and father accusing them of a cover-up.
Officers have now admitted that not enough importance was given to missing children at the time of Maddy’s disappearance, adding that they should have been more understanding of her parent’s position as foreigners, the BBC said.
Portuguese police also updated the McCann’s on the ongoing investigation, giving their support to German authorities who believe that Christian Brueckner, a 46-year-old German national, killed Madeleine.
Christian Wolters – one of the German prosecutors working on the long-running case – told the broadcaster regarding the apology: ‘It’s a good sign. It shows that, in Portugal, there is a development in the McCann case.’
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison term in a high-security prison locally dubbed ‘Alcatraz of the North’ in Oldenburg, near the historic northern city of Bremen.