- Colin Sutton said he was warned by senior friend in the Met about case in 2010
- Friend said he would be told ‘who to talk to and what to investigate’, he claimed
- ‘Narrow focus’ would be to prove Kate, Gerry and Tapas Nine innocent, he said
- Spoke on Sky Documentary based on leaked Home Office report that revealed ‘turbulent relationship’ between McCanns and police in London and Portugal
According to DailyMail, a detective tipped to head up the Madeleine McCann probe was warned he would be ordered to prove she was abducted and ignore other leads.
Colin Sutton said a high-ranking friend in the Met called him and warned him not to lead the case when Scotland Yard announced it would get involved in 2010.
The source warned that he would be tasked with proving her parents Kate and Gerry were innocent and ignoring any alternatives to the abduction theory, he claims.
Speaking to Martin Brunt on Sky News, he said: ‘I did receive a call from a very senior met police officer who knew me and said it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to head investigation on the basis that I wouldn’t be happy conducting an investigation being told where I could go and where I couldn’t go, the things I could investigate and the things I couldn’t.
Asked to clarify what he meant, he added: ‘The Scotland Yard investigation was going to be very narrowly focused and that focus would be away from any suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of the McCanns or the tapas friends.’
The Tapas Nine refers to the McCann parents and the seven friends they were out to dinner with when Madeleine disappeared in 2007.
They were interviewed by Portuguese Police, who have always worked on the basis that Madeleine was abducted from her room, but Mr Sutton said other possibilities should be entertained.
Speaking on Searching for Maddie, which looks at the case ten years on from her disappearance, he criticises the narrow focus of both Portuguese and British police.
He added: ‘If you are conducting a re-investigation you start at the very beginning. Look at all the accounts all the evidence all the initial statements and go through them and make sure they stack up and they compare.’
The documentary revealed details from a Home Office report on the case, ordered by then Labour minister Alan Johnson before the 2010 election, seen by Sky News’ Martin Brunt.
The report shows that Gerry and Kate McCann’s relationship with Portuguese police after they closed the investigation into her disappearance.
The Met took the unusual step of getting involved in the case in 2010 after the report was compiled, and recommends police collaborate with private investigators hired by the McCanns because of the ‘unique nature of the case’.
However, it also reveals that much of the information gathered by investigators had not been shared with police investigating the case so far.
Highlighting the ‘turbulent relationship’ between the parents and detectives, it describes how the McCann’s felt badly treated by the Portuguese authorities.
They were called in to speak to officers then asked to wait for hours, only for a detective never to appear, in treatment they described as ‘inhumane’.
The relationship broke down entirely when Portuguese police closed the investgation in to Madeleine’s disappearance in in Praia de Luz.
When the Met Police came in, they also fell out with local police. The Met would later fall out with the McCanns too, the report revealed.
Mr Johnson wanted to find out if the Met should intervene further in the case so the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre investigated.
It was commissioned in late 2009, completed by March 2010 and published in May 2010, MailOnline understands.
In May 2011 the Home Office launched the Scotland Yard review of the case. The Met’s investigation has cost £11million so far.
The report said: ‘It is clear that from the beginning the McCanns felt there was a lack of clarity and communication on the part of the Portuguese police.
‘Despite the involvement of British consular staff, they were, by their own accounts, left for long periods without any updates or communication with the investigators.
They state they were taken to the police station on more than one occasion and then left for hours waiting to speak to someone who never materialised.
‘They describe this situation as inhumane, with no real consideration for their emotional and physical wellbeing.’
The report also reveals tensions between the Portuguese and British police, with the Met accused of acting ‘like a colonial power’.
The report says: ‘Clearly, the McCanns have had a turbulent relationship with both Portuguese and UK law enforcement. They now openly acknowledge that there is a distinct lack of trust between all parties.’
The police in Britain and Portugal say they are working together to find Madeleine, who vanished on May 3 2007.
The documentary was aired just hours after it emerged the former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral claimed Madeleine’s body was cremated in a TV interview.
The detective, one of the leading investigators early in the case, made the wild statement hours after her parents vowed to take him back to court over other claims.
Amaral made his latest statement on a TV documentary to be aired on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance from the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal.
The claims will add to the anguish of her parents who, in a moving interview this week, said they have still not given up hope on seeing Madeleine again.
Amaral said she may have been hidden in another British woman’s coffin as she was cremated, and said the church where Madeleine’s parents prayed was key.
He said: ‘We had information three figures went into the church via a side door at night. They had a box and there was to be a cremation of a British woman.
‘It is possible the child’s remains were in this box and cremated as well. The parents had the key to the church,’ reports The Sun.
The claim is the latest spark in a long dispute between Amaral, who was booted off the Madeleine case, and Kate and Gerry McCann.
Amaral, 57, claimed in The Truth Of The Lie that Madeleine died at the McCann’s holiday house and Kate and Gerry covered it up.
The McCanns won a libel case against Amaral in 2015, and he was ordered to pay them 250,000 euros (£209,000) each in damages.
But this was overturned on appeal and that decision upheld in another court this April, meaning Amaral is now able to sue the McCanns for damages potentially totalling tens of thousands of pounds.
During the interview, BBC presenter Fiona Bruce asked the McCanns: ‘One of the police officers in Portugal has been a thorn in your side for many years, he was thrown off the investigation but then he wrote a book … and you fought it through the courts.
‘At the moment you’ve lost and he’s won. Is this the end for you now, are you going to continue to fight him?’
Mr McCann replied: ‘I think the short answer is we have to because the last judgment I think is terrible.
Today a flower garden in tribute to the 140,000 children who go missing annually in Britain has been opened on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
The floral memorial, nestled deep in the lush green lawns of Chiswick House in west London, was opened with a performance by the Missing People Choir.
The group, which recently melted hearts on Britain’s Got Talent, is made up of families with loved ones who have vanished.
Sarah Godwin, whose 18-year-old son Quentin went missing in 1992, said: ‘It’s absolutely beautiful, I’m stunned.
‘It’s going to be lovely to come back here, see the plants growing … and just be able to sit here and think about my son and other missing children.
‘My son was a very passionate gardener and kept bees … so the nature aspect means quite a lot to me.
‘Spring has that lovely feeling of warmth and renewal after winter, and May is when my son went missing, so it’s pretty powerful.’
The garden was created by designer Esra Parr, and features many species of forget-me-nots.
It is part of the charity Missing People’s countdown to International Missing Children’s Day on May 25.
Peter Boxell, whose son Lee disappeared in 1988, said standing and singing in the garden ‘filled me with so much emotion’.
Mr Boxell, who wrote the lyrics to the song I Miss You, added singing was ‘really healing for us to get our emotions out’.
Missing People chief executive Jo Youle said the permanent floral feature would be a place for families to ‘reflect and remember and be reassured that there are others who are thinking of their missing loved one too’.