Monday, 9 July 2007

The truth about Leonor Cipriano (mother of "another missing girl"…) "beaten" and "tortured" by Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral

There’s a killer on the road (*), and his name is "Amaral Lector". This is what most readers of British Media should think, after what was published by tabloids like Daily Express and Daily Mail, about Portuguese CID Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, the man in charge of the investigation of Madeleine disappearance. That "killer", Gonçalo Amaral, has tortured a poor mother of "another missing girl", (a girl that vanished like Madeleine McCann, right?) as Daily Express wrote. Several emails and comments posted at my page reflected the conclusion their authors arrived, after being so accurately and precisely informed by British journalist about what happened to Joana, an eight years old girl, daughter of Leonor Cipriano, the poor mother tortured by "Amaral Lector".

What most British journalists forget to mention – never allow truth or reality to kill a good story, of course … - was a couple of "small" details that, if mentioned, would transform those good headlines in nothing. So, let’s take a look at some facts about that "another missing girl":

1 – Joana Cipriano vanished from a small place 10 km in the outskirts of Portimão. Last time somebody saw her, she was on her way to a local groceries shop;
2 - Her mother, Leonor Cipriano, only reported to Police her daughter has disappeared two days after;
3 – After a long and difficult investigation, headed by Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, Leonor Cipriano and her brother were accused of murdering the eight years old child;
4 – The body of Joana Cipriano was never found, but samples of her blood were found in her mother refrigerator;
5 – Her mother justified those samples of blood admitting she had beaten Joana, for some reason, she was hurt and she blooded from her nose;
6 – Leonor Cipriano and her brother, who had a incestuous relationship, were sentenced to 16 years in jail, for the murder of her daughter and nice;
7 – Before the trial, Leonor Cipriano accused five CID officers of beating her, trying to extract a confession. She named the five CID officers, and included Chief-Inspector Gonçalo ("Amaral Lector", according to British tabloids…);
8 – The Public Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation and ordered a police line-up, with the CID officers named and accused by Leonor Cipriano of beating her;
9 – The line-up took place with Leonor Cipriano behind a two-way mirror and she couldn’t recognize any of the aggressors;
10 – The Public Prosecutor’s Office magistrate that was in charge of the criminal investigation decided to accuse the five CID officers, but didn’t mentioned, in the accusation sent to the Court, that Leonor Cipriano couldn’t identify any of the aggressors, in the police line-up;
11 – Leonor Cipriano never confessed the murder of her own daughter. Her brother, in a letter written from jail, accused Leonor Cipriano of selling her daughter;
12 – Police is convinced (and the jurors at the trial found enough evidence to pass a verdict of guilty) that Leonor Cipriano and her brother were found, by Joana, having sexual relations, when she came home, back from the groceries shop. As Leonor Cipriano had a lover, at the time, they were afraid she would tell him what she saw;
13 – So, they beat her, in order to frighten her and keep her mouth shut up;
14 – Perhaps accidentally, they beat her so violently that they killed her. So, they decided to get rid of he body and cut it in pieces, keeping some of them in the freezer, while they gave the other pieces to be eaten by pigs (this is what police believes is the strongest possibility, because there was no other trace of Joana Cipriano, unless the blood samples in her mother freezer…)
15 – The body of Joana Cipriano was never found.

And so, here we have a terrible story of a dysfunctional family, a child murdered and a very difficult police investigation. The only thing – in my humble opinion - that has some similarity with Madeleine McCann disappearance is the fact that the person in charge of Madeleine’s case is the same that successfully headed Joana Cipriano investigation: CID Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral. And success, in Joana’s case, is clear: the murderers were found, accused, went to court, they were sentenced, they appealed the sentence and the Portuguese Supreme Court reduced it to 16 years of jail to both of them – the mother, Leonor Cipriano and her brother, for the murder her daughter and nice, eight year old Joana Cipriano.

If many "consumers" of British Media have another idea, that’s because most British journalists covering Madeleine McCann abduction strongly believe that truth never should be allowed to "kill" a good story. Even if I means destroying the reputation of an experienced CID Chief-Inspector. "And what’s the problem?" – I imagine my British colleagues asking themselves this question, with a pint of Guinness in the hand, enjoying the sunshine at Praia da Luz. "The guy isn’t even British, he’s just a Portuguese…"

(*) "Riders on The Storm" - Jim Morrison & The Doors