By James Murray
A GIRL who vanished just a few miles from where Madeleine McCann disappeared was sold to child traffickers, a Portuguese court will be told next week.
Joana Cipriano was just eight when she vanished on September 12, 2004, from the village of Figueira, near Portimao in the Algarve.
Her mother Leonor and uncle Joao Cipriano were jailed for 16 years for her murder. But Leonor, who is fighting to overturn her conviction, will put her case to a Portuguese court this week
Her sensational allegations raise the possibility that a child smuggling ring was active in the area and could have also snatched Madeleine from her apartment in Praia da Luz on May 2007.
Leonor’s partner Antonio Silva says Joao Cipriano confessed in May last year that he was solely responsible for Joana’s disappearance because he wanted to sell her to raise money to fund his addiction to hard drugs.
Mr Silva’s statement, seen by the Sunday Express, says : “The police always refused to investigate the many rumours in Figueira that criminals would be tempted to buy the girl. ”
British criminologist and child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas called for Joana’s case to be reopened and for an investigation to see if it was linked to Madeleine’s disappearance.
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@Ruby wrote:Last desperate throw of the dice, or what?
It was announced yesterday the appeal won't be going ahead, but obviously nobody bothered to tell James Murray.
I think they have now. Apparently someone has twittered him, and he didn't know anything about it
Wisdom on the part of the Judge. The little girl died such a horrific death, 16 years is never enough to bring justice to her and yet her mum and uncle protested too much. They should stay in jail and rot.
Cant even believe any lawyer want to represent such evil persons. In fact their lawyer is no better, using all sort of dirty tactics.
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candyfloss - why doesn't that surprise me in the least?
i just looked on twitter and mark double barrelled whatever has been criticised for not knowing this either.
it's scary that people on forums are more au fait with what's happening than these self-appointed experts.
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