Madeleine McCann's parents 'horrified' by Clement Freud child abuse claims

Jun 15, 2016

Liberal MP, now accused of sexually abusing two girls, befriended the family in Portugal

Keystone/Getty Images

The parents of Madeleine McCann are said to be "horrified" by the sexual abuse allegations against Sir Clement Freud, who befriended them in Portugal after their daughter disappeared.

The broadcaster, writer and Liberal MP, who died in 2009, has been accused of sexually abusing two girls between the 1940s and 1970s.
The claims will be aired tonight in the ITV documentary Exposure: Abused and Betrayed – A Life Sentence.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Freud had a villa in Praia da Luz, the Portuguese resort where Madeleine disappeared in 2007, and offered support to her parents, Kate and Gerry, in the weeks after she vanished.

They went to his home on two occasions and kept in contact by phone and email.

The McCanns are said to be "horrified" by the revelations and detectives investigating Madeleine's disappearance have been informed. However, his family have said he was not in Portugal at the time the three-year-old went missing.

Freud had a long career in television and radio, regularly contributing to BBC Radio 4's Just A Minute and appearing on shows such as Have I Got News For You.

One of Freud's accusers, Sylvia Woosley, told the ITV Exposure programme that she first met Freud when she was ten and that he abused her for years after she went to live with him when her parents' marriage broke down.

"I just want to clear things up before I die… I want to die clean," she said.

Another woman, who does not wish to be named, says Freud began abusing her in the 1970s, when she was 11, and raped her when she was 18. By this time, Freud was a Liberal MP sharing an office with Cyril Smith, who was named as a prolific paedophile after his death.

Freud's widow released a statement after two of the couple's children previewed the documentary.

"This is a very sad day for me. I was married to Clement for 58 years and loved him dearly. I am shocked, deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for what has happened to these women. I sincerely hope they will now have some peace," she said.

Madeleine McCann: UK police down to last line of inquiry

26 April

British police have just one line of inquiry left to investigate in the case of missing Madeleine McCann, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said.

Madeleine went missing from her family's Portuguese holiday apartment on 3 May 2007, aged three. No trace of her has ever been found.

Hogan-Howe told LBC Radio that the UK-based investigation could finish in the next few months. "There's been a lot of investigation time spent on this terrible case. It's a child who went missing - everybody wants to know if she is alive and if she is, where is she. And sadly, if she's dead, then we need to give some comfort to the family," he said.

"It has needed us to carry out an investigation together with the Portuguese and other countries have been involved. There is a line of inquiry that remains to be concluded and it's expected that in the coming months that will happen."

After that, he said, the investigation, called Operation Grange, would likely come to an end.

However, Hogan-Howe added: "If somebody comes forward and gives us good evidence we will follow it. We always say that a missing child inquiry is never closed."

According to the BBC, the remaining line of inquiry is "centred around a letter asking for assistance sent from UK investigators to the Portuguese Public Prosecution Service in July 2015".

Madeleine McCann: Police chief wins libel appeal against parents

20 April

A former police chief in Portugal has won an appeal against a court ruling that he libelled Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing toddler Madeleine.

Goncalo Amaral, who led the search for Madeleine, wrote a book in which he claimed the McCanns were involved in their daughter's disappearance in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Last year, a Portuguese court ruled in favour of the couple, who were awarded €500,000 (£395,000) damages. The verdict also saw copies of the book seized.

This week's appeal decision means Amaral's book can now be sold again, says the BBC, although the McCanns plan to challenge the ruling and bring the case before Portugal's Supreme Court.

The book's publisher welcomed the verdict, citing its author's constitutional right to express his opinion.

According to The Sun, Amaral's lawyer said he is also planning to sue the couple for damages to recoup alleged losses caused by their year-long action.

"We are going to advance with a compensation claim against the McCanns," he said. "My client has suffered years of prejudice and losses."

Madeleine McCann 'could still be found alive'

19 April

The head of Scotland Yard's homicide squad still thinks Madeleine McCann could be found alive, almost nine years after she went missing in Portugal.

Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared from a holiday apartment in the Algarve in May 2007.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, who leads the Metropolitan Police's homicide and major crime command, says the hunt is "ongoing", despite the investigation being scaled down last year from almost 30 officers to just four.

"There is always a possibility that we will find Madeleine and we hope that we will find her alive," he told the London Evening Standard.

"That's what we want and that's what the family and the public want and that is why the Home Office continue to fund [the British investigation]. There is work that needs to be done still."

The Home Office has granted Operation Grange, which was set up in 2011, a further £95,000 to cover another six months of the inquiry, but Duthie said his team would request more money if inquiries were not finished by then.

"There is a missing girl and if she has been murdered and if we think we have got justifiable and reasonable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with," he said.

Detectives have taken at least 1,338 statements, collected 1,027 exhibits, considered 650 sex offenders, investigated more than 60 "persons of interest" and looked at 8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine around the world.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Disqus - noscript

wouldn't all this be best left unsaid whilst investigations continue in case whoever may have this poor little girl feels under threat.

Precisely my thoughts, Squiz. I sincerely hope that if she is still alive no harm will come to her as a result of these revelations.