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15 years after being convicted of the murder of his niece Joana , João Cipriano left, around 9 am Monday, March 11, on parole at the Carregueira Prison in Sintra. On leaving the prison he said he was " innocent ". "I did not commit any crime. I did not touch it with a finger. ", Told the Impala News Portal .
Leonor Cipriano , the mother, and João Cipriano, the uncle of Joana, who pleaded guilty during the trial of the murder of Joana - the child who disappeared on September 12, 2004 in the village of Figueira, in Portimão - are now said to be innocent . At that time, the child, whose body was never found, was eight years old.
"I know my niece is alive. I will do everything for her to appear, "says João Cipriano
The mother and the child's uncle were eventually arrested in the same month that Joana disappeared. During the trial, João Cipriano confessed to having beaten the child to death with the complicity of his sister, who left the chain of Odemira in February this year. The uncle admitted that he had dismembered Joan and hid her body in a cold chest. The remains will then have been fed to pigs. "I did not hurt her, I just killed her," the defendant said in court. Now, João Cipriano tells our website that "he never said that."
The ex-inmate also reveals that since they were both incarcerated, he never had contact with Leonor Cipriano. "My sister has not spoken to me since we were arrested. I did not want to talk to her any more. "
If it will be reopened with new evidence: "I want the truth to come to the top"
João Cipriano outside the Carregueira Prison, in Sintra
In the presence of his new lawyer, Manuel Mendes Ferreira , João Cipriano announces that he will return to court to reopen the case and prove his innocence. There will be new evidence at stake. "I'm going with my lawyer to reopen the case. I want the truth to come up. "Speaking to our website, the lawyer, who represents the former prisoner since February of this year, confirms that the case will be reopened due to new facts that he can not disclose for now.
He then points out that João Cipriano told him that he loved his niece and assured him "that it had nothing to do with the practice of referenced crimes". In 2013, the Court of Portimão stated that João Cipriano showed lack of empathy for the victim when he asked to go on probation halfway through the sentence in the Easter season. Regarding these allegations, Manuel Mendes Ferreira says that his client had a picture of Joana in his locker in the prison and that this is "significant", unless João Cipriano is "a big pretend and a fraud". The lawyer also points out that Joana's uncle has been convicted of the "conviction" of public opinion that he was guilty and "not for the truth."
The reason he confessed to the murder was because he "allegedly took some squeeze" from the authorities, says the legal representative. This is the same version told by Leonor Cipriano, when also released from prison in February this year.
During the 14 years and a half that he was imprisoned, João Cipriano had some sanctions while in prison. The victim's uncle tells our site that he has never had "problems with anyone", but nevertheless confesses that he has been punished "three or four times" in jail because of bad behavior. João Cipriano devalues these punishments: "That was things inside. Does not matter".
About the time he spent in Carregueira, he says that he was always working and studying, having completed fourth grade. Now the ex-prisoner, who is on parole and will have to appear regularly to the authorities until 2022, wants to start a new life in Silves at his aunt and mother's house "to work in the works and the countryside".
João Cipriano, Manuel Mendes Ferreira
Manuel Mendes Ferreira, João Cipriano's new lawyer
Click here and watch the video with all the statements made to our site by João Cipriano
A case with many versions and few proofs
Although João Cipriano revealed that he assaulted his niece because Joana did not bring the money back after shopping at the grocery store at the family's behest, the prosecution formed the thesis that Joana had caught Leonor and her brother having incestuous s-e-x . Today, the girl's mother claims to be innocent and has pleaded guilty only because she had been pressured to do so by the authorities, who assaulted her when she was detained preventively.
However, some jurors never seemed to believe this confession. The version of the mother and the uncle had sold the girl, especially after the testimony of Zulmira Ophelia, the last person to see Joana alive , gained weight. "I never convinced myself that they had killed the girl. Very little time has passed since I saw her, until I spoke to her mother. It was impossible for them to hide their bodies and be so relaxed, "said the neighbor. Joana was last seen at a grocery store near the house.
At the end of the trial, in 2005, both mother and uncle were both sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison for murder and concealment of the corpse. This sentence was already a reduced conviction by the Supreme Court of Justice. In court of first instance, Leonor had been sentenced to 20 years and four months in prison and John at 19 years and two months. In the court of the relation the progenitor and the brother had been acquitted, taking into account that the body of Joana never was found. It is to be remembered that in Portugal it is rare the case of condemnation for qualified homicide without there being a physical evidence.
"[Leonor and John] acted with full awareness of the consequences of their acts by violently beating little Joan." They used 'their strength disproportionate to that of an eight-year-old.' The defendants only stop beating Joana "when they killed her, although she bleeds through the nose, mouth and temple", can be read in the judgment of the Supreme Court, released by Diário de Notícias.
Leonor left on February 7 last. As soon as she left the Odemira Prison in Beja, Leonor, who had already served five-sixths of the sentence, said she was innocent and had been unjustly convicted. "I was convicted without evidence. I did not kill my daughter. It would never hurt. I just confessed everything because I was beaten at PJ de Faro. "
READ MORE: Leonor Cipriano: "I'm going to find my daughter, I'll find her"
Members of the PJ were also convicted
Joana's mother was sentenced to seven months in prison for making false statements during the trial. The progenitor accused five PJ inspectors of assaulting her when she was detained on the South Board in Faro. Although the Faro court has proven the assaults, the identities of all police officers have never been cleared. Resulting from this episode two officers of the PJ were convicted. Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of the Department of Criminal Investigation of PJ de Portimão, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for the crime of falsehood of testimony, with suspended sentence for the same period. Inspector António Nunes Cardoso was sentenced to two years and three months for falsification of document, with suspended sentence for two years. The remaining PJ agents, identified by Leonor, were acquitted