Madeleine McCann's younger brother questioned his mother about her role in the young girl's disappearance, after he learned of damning claims by a senior Portuguese detective on the inquiry team.

Kate McCann told a court that claims by Goncalo Amaral about their role in the incident had caused "severe damage" to their campaign to find their missing daughter and led to them being vilified.

The McCanns are suing Mr Amaral after he claimed in a book - The Truth of The Lie - that the girl had died in the family's apartment in the Algarve and they then simulated her abduction and hid her body. It was followed by a television documentary featuring Mr Amaral.

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Their son, Sean, who was two at the time, heard about Mr Amaral's claims from the radio when he was on the school bus, the court was told.

"Sean asked me in October: 'Mr Amaral said you hid Madeleine'. I just said that he said a lot of silly things," said Mrs McCann. Her husband Gerry told the court in Lisbon that one group distributed a leaflet '60 Reasons Why Madeleine McCann Was Not Abducted' to their neighbours in Leicestershire.

After appearing in court yesterday, the couple told reporters they fear that Madeleine's kidnapper could "strike again" and believe that he or she will have been "laughing" at claims they hid the girl's body.

- UK Independent