A former detective who led the initial investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has sensationally claimed that MI5 helped cover up her death.
Portuguese former police chief Goncalo Amaral, 56, told an Australian documentary that British secret agents “for sure had an involvement” when Maddie vanished at the age of 3 in 2007.
Mr Amaral also astonishingly claimed that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was involved in the cover up.
The former cop worked on the case when Maddie went missing from the apartment the McCanns were staying in in Praia da Luz while Kate and Gerry ate dinner with friends.
He resigned six months after being removed from the case but wrote a book using police files as he put forward a theory she had died in the apartment.
The McCanns have dismissed this comments and Mr Amaral produced no evidence to support his claims about either the former Prime Minister or the British security services.
The documentary, billed as a “landmark television event”, also suggested that a new key witness – who worked at the Praia da Luz resort at the time of Maddie’s disappearance – was being sought.
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A professor theorised that the toddler was run over by a motorists, who hid her body in one of the resort’s 600 wells.
Speaking about Mr Amaral’s latest theories, Gerry McCann said: “The less said about Goncalo Amaral the better.”
A spokesman for the McCanns added: “If the Australian TV show contains any credible, fresh lines of inquiry they should, of course, have been given immediately to the police.”
An ex-Scotland Yard cop has also suggested that Maddie was snatched and smuggled to Mauritania, West Africa, before being sold a rich Middle Eastern family.
Former detective Colin Sutton told the Mirror: “The Mauritania line is certainly a possibility and needs to be looked at.
“If someone wanted to get a three-year-old child into Africa it’s the obvious route.
“The infrastructure and contacts for people smuggling are clearly there.”
Mr Amaral was sued for libel in June 2009 by the McCanns, but he won the lengthy legal fight after judges decided he had the “right to freedom of expression” of the claims made in his book.
Yahoo News UK has contacted the office of Gordon and Sarah Brown and Downing Street for comment over his latest claims.
Top pic: Rex