I was saddened to see the recent images of Goncalo Amaral, the former Portuguese Police inspector, who had the misfortune to pick up the poisoned chalice that was the case of the missing child, Madeleine McCann. I can only hope that his drastic weight loss is the result of dieting and healthy living, rather than the living nightmare he has endured in his quest to find justice for a tiny, vulnerable child who mysteriously vanished from a small, tranquil resort in the beautiful Algarve.
Within moments of the child disappearing, a media campaign, the like of which we have never seen before, began in earnest. With a Sky news channel dedicated to the hastily assembled Team McCann, we were continually fed daily, and sometimes hourly, updates, on the plight of the grieving parents, and the incompetence of the sardine munchers, who were doing nothing to help them.
None were attacked so viciously as the Inspector in charge of the case, who bore the brunt of News International's powerful and sinister, unique brand of interpreting news to the satisfaction of its proprietor.
In September 2007, Goncalo resigned, his career and reputation in tatters. He had no option but to set the record straight, and rightly so. When we leave this world, all that's left is a few trinkets and our reputation, and in the end our reputation is the only thing that really matters.
In his book 'The Truth of Lie' he gives an honest account of the events, as they occurred, in the summer of 2007. An account that tallies, almost verbatim, with the police files that were released following the shelving of the investigation. An investigation that had been seriously hampered by the overwhelming media attention and the scurrilous slurs of a newspaper industry that has since been found corrupt.
Goncalo Amaral was not a police chief with an immaculate uniform and shiny buttons, he worked overlong hours, he jeopardised his marriage, he is human. However, he has never stopped caring about the plight of a lost little girl and his humanity shines through. In his book he is gracious, and compassionate to the parents, he understood their loss, despite the viciousness of their campaign against him.
On 13th September the trial begins. The McCanns are demanding £1.2m in damages from the man whose life they have virtually destroyed. May justice prevail, Forca, strength to you Goncalo.
'Today the only person prosecuted in the case of the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann is the officer who conducted the investigation' Honorary Chief Commissioner of the National French Police