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Robert Murat reads a statement outside London High Court Thursday, after being awarded $1.2 million US in libel damages for being wrongfully accused as a suspect in the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann. ((Max Nash/Associated Press))

A British man named by police as a suspect in three-year-old Madeleine McCann's disappearance won $1.2 million in libel damages Thursday in a lawsuit against several newspapers.

Robert Murat, 33, lives near the resort where the toddler vanished while vacationing with her family in Portugal just over a year ago.

Several British papers claimed he was involved in her disappearance. Last year, Portuguese police named him as a formal suspect, along with Madeleine's parents.

The McCanns and Murat deny any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.

Walking out of the courtroom Thursday, Murat said he was relieved by the settlement.

"The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family's life and caused immense distress," he said. "I'm pleased that the publications concerned have today admitted the falsity of their allegations, and I can now start to rebuild my life."

In March, Kate and Gerry McCann got front-page apologies and a large libel payout from newspapers that had made claims about their role in their daughter's disappearance.

Portugal's attorney general said he'll announce next week whether he plans to bring charges in the case. 

With files from the Associated Press