Portuguese priest 'ruined' by McCanns
The Portugese priest who gave solace to the McCann family after the 'disappearance' of their daughter Madeleine has stripped his church of all traces of the girl, with friends saying the experience has left him "ruined".
The Express reports seven months after the tragedy, Fr Jose Manuel Pacheco ordered the removal of scores of green and yellow ribbons which were put up as a symbol of hope in the days after Madeleine vanished.
Posters and photographs of Madeleine which plastered the village of Praia da Luz have also been removed.
Friends of Fr Pacheco - who came under police scrutiny after he gave the keys to his church to Gerry and Kate McCann to allow them to pray round the clock - say they fear for his health and that his life is now ruined.
Fr Pacheco was questioned twice by detectives, and the church and its grounds were searched by police.
Investigators became convinced Kate had confessed to him - but Fr Pacheco insisted he would stand by his priestly vow.
A close friend of Fr Pacheco said the priest becomes irate at the mention of the Madeleine case and that even close friends must tread carefully when broaching the subject.
"He says that it is an extremely unpleasant situation and that the McCann family only ever brought him problems. He told one friend they ruined his life," the friend said.
"He just wants to get on with his peaceful life before the McCann whirlwind raped his world. This has all been a very bad experience for him."
Another friend described Fr Pacheco as a "nervous wreck" and that he was "hiding secrets that are destroying him."
There has been no comment from Fr Pacheco.
Priest "bans" Madeliene (The Express, 12/12/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bring Madeleine Home
Praia Da Luz
Pope prays for Madeleine (CathNews 31/05/07)
Missing Madeleine's desk ready (CathNews 31/08/07)
Madeleine's parents seek miracle (CathNews 21/05/07)
13 Dec 2007