Lying in the Sun

Stilwell Stand Storm

Stilwell’s Stand Storm


Isabel Stilwell, writer, journalist speaking of the McCann case in 2009



“The second one is related to the role, that former PJ investigator Gonçalo Amaral has been playing.

It sincerely shocks me that both the Republic’s prosecutor and the PJ director keep their silence, while a former officer, who was removed from the case, makes absolute accusations, almost as if he was the Portuguese police’s spokesman.”




McCann v Amaral libel trial September 2013


Maria Isabel Stilwell takes the Stand as witness for the McCanns.


She states that she has previously met Kate McCann, interviewed her in 2011 when Kate was promoting her book ‘Madeleine.’


She further states for the Court that she does not know Dr Goncalo Amaral a defendant in the case but knows of him, that she has had no dealing with either him or any of the other defendants. 


The Judge Maria Emilia Melo e Castro asks Stilwell if her public controversial position concerning Dr Goncalo Amaral will influence her testimony.

Isabel Stilwell replied:


That her conscience tells her ‘no’ but then adds she hopes it will not.


Stilwell was questioned by Isabel Duarte the lawyer for the McCanns, and the defence lawyers also.

Duarte was first up!


The McCann lawyer, Isabel Duarte, when questioning Isabel Stilwell, and only three questions in’ – when a comment made in reply by Stilwell was being overruled by the Judge.


Seven questions ‘in’ and Dr Goncalo Amaral’s lawyer lodged an objection – Stilwell he says exhibits a hostile demeanor towards his client Dr Amaral.


In response, the Judge ruled that the questions by Isabel Duarte the McCann lawyer be more objective.


Fourteen questions in, and the Judge once again has to over-rule the question and answers given by the two Isabel’s, Isabel Duarte lawyer for the McCanns, and Isabel Stilwell the witness for the McCanns.


Question 15 - by Isabel Duarte and the reply by Isabel Stilwell has Dr Goncalo Amaral’s lawyer raising an objection.


Again the Judge concurs with Dr Santos de Oliveira, Dr Goncalo Amaral’s lawyer. 


Question 16 by Isabel Duarte the McCann lawyer is over-ruled by the Judge.


Isabel Stilwell interrupts the Judge, her decision to over-rule!


1ST Defence Lawyer  to question Stilwell, asks but 4 questions. 

The Judge over-rules on one but that doesn’t stop Stilwell, she re-sumes where she had left off in her narrative.


2nd Defence Lawyer  to question Stilwell. 


Two questions have been asked when the Judge intervenes to point out that the case (missing Madeleine investigation) was shelved due to lack of evidence.


Five questions were asked by this defence lawyer their content causing Stilwell to reply loudly and express vehemently what rights she felt Dr Goncalo Amaral was entitled to, or not as was the case in this instance.


Fifth question and Stilwell did not allow the lawyer to finish speaking before interrupting once more,  her temperament at this time – rendering her difficult to understand.


3rd Defence Lawyer


His first question to Stilwell – Stilwell replies, and the Judge intervenes to remind the witness (Stilwell) this is a judgement and not to be sarcastic by entering into such minute detail.


The third question to Stilwell, and she does not allow the lawyer to finish, again interrupting…


Question Six by the defence lawyer, and Stilwell replies by asking the lawyer - ‘what has that got to do with the issue?’


The Judge over rules the question by the witness, Stilwell, and observes that Stilwell is continuously attempting to give meaning to what she says.


Stilwell now interrupts the Judge and protests.


Question Seven and once again Stilwell interrupts, not allowing the lawyer to finish…


Dr Santos Oliveira, Dr Goncalo Amaral’s lawyer now questions Isabel Stilwell


S. Oliveira - Are your opinions only based on news?

I. Stilwell - says "not only". She mentions TV programs, books.

S. Oliveira - Have you read all the Final Report?

I. Stilwell - says "no".

S. Oliveira - Are you aware that the Final Report indicates the child to be most likely dead?

I. Stilwell - says she is.

S. Oliveira
- Since this hypothesis exists in the Final Report, the book...

I. Stilwell -
interrupts again saying the fact of death doesn't mean that the parents are guilty.

The Judge – The Final report DOESN’T SAY the homicide is due to the parents.

She reads this part from the Report:-


'No respeitante aos outros crimes indiciados não passam disso mesmo e pese embora se nos afigurar não ser de descartar, dado o seu elevado grau de probabilidade, a verificação dum homicídio, tal não pode passar de mera suposição por carência de elementos de sustentação nos autos.'

'Concerning the other indicated crimes, they are no more than that and despite our perception that, due to its high degree of probability, the occurrence of a homicide cannot be discarded, such cannot be more than a mere supposition, due to the lack of sustaining elements in the files.' 


S. Oliveira - But the book doesn't say that the homicide was due to the parents. If the book doesn't say anything else that what's in the...

I. Stilwell -
interrupts, but in turn is immediately interrupted by the Judge.

Judge - Let me do this part!

Evidence ends.

End of day 4.


Before testifying

Maria Isabel Stilwell was asked by Judge Maria Emilia Melo e Castro if her
 public controversial position concerning Dr Goncalo Amaral will influence her testimony.


Stilwell replied:


That her conscience tells her ‘no’ but then adds she hopes it will not. 


Stilwell either left her conscience at home on this day or like the lawyers questioning her, it was interrupted continuously while she demonstrated to one and all, that her public and controversial position concerning Dr Goncalo Amaral she was not able to keep under wraps, as it was indeed quite clearly influencing her testimony!


Full transcript of the Stilwell testimony brought to us by the brilliant Anne Guedes, who I for one cannot thank enough, and the equally brilliant Nigel Moore on

A huge thank you to you both!


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28th September 2013

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