The parents of missing Madeleine McCann are to launch a libel action against a Portuguese newspaper which said police believe they killed their daughter.
The legal documents, against the Tal & Qual paper, will be sent to a court in Oporto, in the north of Portugal, later today.
The newspaper is based in Oporto and, under Portuguese law, any action has to be brought in the closest court to that place, a family spokesman said.
The action is against articles published by Tal & Qual last Friday.
A front-page story was entitled “PJ believe that the parents killed Maddie”.
A second report later in the same edition was headlined “PJ believes in the fault of the parents”.
The newspaper reported that “police believe” Kate and Gerry McCann caused Madeleine’s death, either in an accident or with a fatal dose of a drug.
A family spokesman said: “The McCanns feel these allegations are very serious and highly damaging.
“They also feel that it is a distraction from the investigation. The straightforward facts are Madeleine was taken from her bed on May 3 and she is still missing.
“Police have said time and again that Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects.”
Madeleine disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, while her parents ate with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant on May 3.