Saturday, 17 January 2009

The Cipriano case: Joana was battered to death by her uncle.



The new witness statement has been written by Marcos Aragão.

Yesterday, the lawyer, Marcos Aragão Correia revealed to the press, outside the trial of the five PJ inspectors, a document signed by Léonor Cipriano, in which Joana's mother accuses her brother, João Cipriano, of being the sole perpetrator of the little girl's murder.

In this eight page document, written by hand by the lawyer, Léonor Cipriano explains that her brother convinced her to sell Joana, but that "the people didn't have the money promised (an amount Léonor has not revealed) and João did not hand over the girl.

(To read the complete document click here for the photos or the PDF).

This umpteenth version is, according to Marcos Aragão, "the true story," Léonor's witness statement recounting exactly what allegedly happened to her daughter Joana, who disappeared in September 2004.

"When Joana left the house, the intention was to hand her over to the people and simulate a kidnapping," the lawyer states, explaining that her uncle, João Cipriano, had taken along the little girl's clothes in a large bag.

According to Marcos Aragão, Joana allegedly heard the whole discussion between João and the buyers, threatening her uncle, "that she was going to tell everything," after which, "he allegedly started battering her, finishing up killing her."

According to this new witness statement, written by Marcos Aragão, Léonor was not present at the time of Joana's death but João Cipriano allegedly confessed his crime to her: when he came home, he tried to hide the murder, but, at Léonor's insistence, who allegedly detected traces of blood on her brother's trousers, João ended up admitting having killed Joana and having hidden the body in a place close to the house before burying it the next day.

Umpteenth version targets Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator.

It was outside the trial of the five PJ inspectors that Marcos Aragão Correia - the same lawyer who stated that he had a vision that Maddie's body was in the deep waters of the Arade Dam - chose to present the document to the press, stressing that Léonor, "decided to leave this out and say that she knew nothing," because of, "her brother's threats," but that the confession of her participation in Joana's murder was allegedly made, "under torture," when she was interviewed by the PJ inspectors.

The new version of the events surrounding Joana's death will, meanwhile, be used by Léonor's lawyer to point the finger at former inspector, Gonçalo Amaral, officer for the disappearance and death of Joana in 2004 and of Madeleine McCann in 2007.

amaral large 2.jpg

In the document which the lawyer wrote and Léonor signed, the former inspector is accused of knowing the truth: "If Mr Amaral knows it, then why did he ask people to beat me up? Why?"

In statements to the Portuguese press, the former coordinator of the PJ's DIC in Portimao, contented himself with saying that Léonor Cipriano was already considered to be a psychopath (see the video by the psychologist Paulo Sargento) and that she was lying, stressing that Joana's mother, as well as her brother João were tried and convicted for Joana's murder, all "the rest was lies being put about."

Gonçalo Amaral's lawyer, António Cabrita, goes further and after having considered that the document presented by Marcos Aragão had no relevance to the ongoing trial against the five inspectors, stated that he did not believe it was Léonor's work, but rather the work of someone else: "an obvious manipulation of the prisoner for other purposes," notably the sullying of Gonçalo Amaral's image.

Review of Léonor's conviction must await the end of Amaral's trial.

The request for review of Léonor and João Cipriano's convictions will await the final result of the trial of the five PJ inspectors, accused of having committed acts of torture during an interrogation, the day after Léonor's confession in the presence of her lawyer at the time.

In November 2005, the two siblings were sentenced, respectively, to 20 years and four months in prison and 19 years and two months. In May 2008, the Supreme Court of Justice reduced the sentences to 16 years and eight months in prison.

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