On January 13th., 2010, Gonçalo Amaral went to a court session about the appeal he has made, against the decision of a lower court that ordered him to pay Kate and Gerry McCanns half a million euros, in libel damages and banned the sale of his book. The parents of Madeleine McCanns argued that Mr. Amaral, in the book “The Truth of the Lie”, accused them of faking their daughter's abduction. On February 2017, the Portuguese Supreme Court, on a final decision, revoked the order to pay the damages and kept a earlier decision to quash the ban on the sale of the book.
When that court session finished and Mr. Amaral went out, a reporter from BBC East Midlands asked him a question.
The former police chief replied, in Portuguese, “Fala com os McCanns” (“Talk whit the McCanns). Mike O’Sullivan, the journalist, went on air, reporting that Mr. Amaral said “F*** the McCanns”, and reproduced his answer with a “beep”, instead of the first word.
The BC journalist, in his report, said that his cameraman and his sound technician both confirmed they hear clearly the word “F***”. No other British journalist heard that word. Mr. Martin Brunt, who was there and wrote a couple of posts in his blog “ALife of Crime” insulting all Portuguese journalists, likecalling “colhões” (“balls”) to the stories published byPortuguese Press about Maddie’s disappearance, came out defending Mr. Amaral.
“My New Best Friend” was the tittle of his post, on January 15th. “Spare a thought for my new best friend Goncalo Amaral. I’m beginning to think the former detective in the Madeleine McCanns case has a point when he complains about the British media attacking him. My Beeb colleague accused him of saying “F*** the McCanns” in an alleged off-guard moment when we all followed him out of court the other day”, he wrote.
Martin Brunt finished the post with a ironical comment: “What he actually said was “Fala com McCanns” which means “Ask the McCanns”. The rest of us, through our interpreters, understood perfectly what he was saying. I think he needs a good libel lawyer. Isabel Duarte may be free when she has finished pursuing him over his book on the Madeleine case.”
The "Daily Star", on January 15th, was the only newspaper to print the truth (something not very common, on that newspaper) and they wrote that "BBC bosses sparked a row after accusing Goncalo Amaral of a four-letter tirade against Kate and Gerry McCanns. They insisted the ex-detective said: “F*** the McCanns,” when asked by a BBC reporter if he felt his allegations were hurting the couple. But last night it was claimed he said: 'Fala com McCanns,' which means: 'Speak to the McCanns".
The recording was so clear that, as the "Daily Star" refers, "rival TV companies refused to broadcast the footage after their translators studied it. But it was broadcast, with the key word bleeped out, by the BBC in the East Midlands."
British newspapers took the BBC fake story as granted and made headlines with it. Tom Wells and Antonella Lazzeri wrote, in “The Sun”: Vile cop: F*** the McCanns”, on January 14th. “THE ex-cop who led the Madeleine McCanns probe sparked new outrage last night after launching a four-letter tirade against the missing child's parents. Brazen Goncalo Amaral spat, "F*** the McCanns" when asked by a BBC TV reporter if he felt his wild claims about their daughter were hurting them (…) Amaral, axed after leading the abortive early investigation into Maddie's disappearance in 2007, flipped before entering a court in Portugal's capital, Lisbon.”
Martin Fricker, on “The Mirror” had a story with this tittle: “Disgraced Portuguese detective in four letter outburst at Kate and Gerry McCanns”. Referring that Mr. Amaral was questioned by another reporter, Martin Fricker wrote: “Disgraced detective Goncalo Amaral yesterday let rip at Kate and Gerry McCanns with a foul-mouthed outburst. The former policeman was asked if his book about their daughter Madeleine was hurting the couple when he barked: “No, f*** the McCanns.” Amaral then laughed as he walked off, despite being caught on camera insulting a couple who have suffered so much anguish in recent years (…) reporter Mike O’Sullivan said: “I was astonished, and so was my cameraman, that a former senior police officer could use a term like that against the McCanns. It really was crude.” A family friend of Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, added: “It’s disgraceful and gives a true measure of the man".
Also in “The Mirror”, a piece of garbage named Tony Parsons, a crude racist and xenophobic, insulted everybody, as it was his habit, every time he wrote about Portugal and the Portuguese police:” Maddy McCanns cop adds insults to injury”, was the tittle of his column. “If, as has been suggested in Portugal, there was a “media circus” around the disappearance of Madeleine McCanns, then it is the Portuguese police who are the clowns. Cruel, stupid, spiteful clowns (..) The Portuguese police were shown up as a bunch of clueless amateurs by the Madeleine case, and – shamed, embarrassed, infuriated – they turned their rage on the McCanns (…) Even now, the Portuguese cops treat Kate and Gerry McCanns with a grotesque lack of respect. Asked if he cared that he had hurt the McCanns, Goncalo Amaral told a BBC reporter: “No, f*** the McCanns.” A class act, that fat copper, who has sought to make money out of a stolen child – and the endless grief of her parents."
BBC took almost one year to react and never apologized to Mr. Amaral. Only after dozens of complaints from viewers the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) analyzed the case and had a soft conclusion, excusing the reporter: “The reporter's belief, reinforced by others on the program team who viewed the recording, was that Sr Amaral had indeed used an English phrase which included an offensive term applied to the McCanns. On further examination, however, it became clear that Sr Amaral had been speaking Portuguese, and that an inoffensive phrase had been misconstrued."
The decision taken was that, "in future, the team plans to use interpreters if clips from interviews are unclear"...