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UK News Madeleine McCann suspect 'could be out of jail in DAYS': Police fear German rapist may be given parole as they hunt for his 'Kosovan underage' ex-girlfriend and focus on Portuguese farmhouse they shared

11:36  05 june  2020
11:36  05 june  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Wife of victim says UConn student was looking for neighbor

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German had first conviction for child sexual abuse while a teenager and fled Germany for Portugal. Christian Brückner, the man identified as a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann , had his In 1999 the police caught up with Brückner for his early offences, and he was returned to He returned to Portugal as soon as he could , earning enough money to buy a second-hand Jaguar, an

The day after Madeleine vanished, the suspect transferred a Jaguar car to someone else's name. The London police force said the German authorities had taken the lead at this stage of the case "We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be , we need

Public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters gives a news conference about the disappearance of British child Madeleine McCann 13 years ago, in Braunschweig, Germany, © Reuters Public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters gives a news conference about the disappearance of British child Madeleine McCann 13 years ago, in Braunschweig, Germany, The German paedophile prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is reportedly eligible for parole this weekend as police desperately try to prove he snatched her and hunt for his underage Kosovan ex-girlfriend.

a group of people posing for the camera: Brueckner is a prime suspect in the disappearance of Maddie McCann. He has 17 convictions and who is serving seven years in Kiel jail in northern Germany for rape. © Provided by Daily Mail Brueckner is a prime suspect in the disappearance of Maddie McCann. He has 17 convictions and who is serving seven years in Kiel jail in northern Germany for rape. Officers are hoping to trace the woman, who is believed to have stayed with suspect Christian Brueckner in a house near Praia da Luz, Portugal, prior to the then three-year-old's disappearance on May 3, 2007.

Christian B: What we know about jailed German Madeleine McCann suspect

  Christian B: What we know about jailed German Madeleine McCann suspect The new suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation allegedly confessed his part in her disappearance to a man in a bar. They were sitting in a German bar when a news report about Madeleine's disappearance came on TV.The suspect, a 43-year-old German named by prosecutors as Christian B, allegedly said something to suggest he was responsible for her going missing.

The new suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation allegedly confessed his part in her ' Madeleine is believed dead' - German police (Sky News). Crucial clues that convinced police to go public He was already in jail in Germany, being investigated for alleged child sex abuse crimes.

The man was known to Portuguese police over break-ins at hotels and holiday homes in the Praia da Luz On 4 May 2007, the day after Madeleine ’s disappearance, the suspect got the car re-registered in German investigators have initiated proceedings against the suspect on suspicion of McCann ’s

Henri Michaux and a dog looking at the camera: Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner 2011 in a bar in Hanover © Provided by Daily Mail Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner 2011 in a bar in Hanover Brueckner is behind bars in Germany after being jailed last year for raping a 72-year-old American tourist in the Algarve resort 18 months before Maddie disappeared. But it was claimed that he could walk free within days, as he will become eligible for parole on Sunday.

The Algarve farmhouse he lived at, which has several abandoned wells on the property and surrounding wasteland, is 25 minutes' walk from the hotel where Madeleine went missing.

British police searched land the property in 2012, while German police yesterday released images of the house as part of an appeal for witnesses.  

a man who is smiling and looking at the camera: Officers are hoping to trace the woman, who is believed to have stayed with suspect Christian Brueckner (pictured) in a house in Praia da Luz, Portugal, prior to then three-year-old Maddie's disappearance © Provided by Daily Mail Officers are hoping to trace the woman, who is believed to have stayed with suspect Christian Brueckner (pictured) in a house in Praia da Luz, Portugal, prior to then three-year-old Maddie's disappearance Detectives want to track down his ex-girlfriend, who is thought to have left the area prior to Madeleine's disappearance, while Brueckner is said to have stayed in Praia da Luz, possibly sleeping in a campervan detectives believe may have been used in the kidnapping.

Madeleine McCann's Face Is More Important To The British Press Than Black Lives

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Authorities said on Thursday that police are focusing their investigation on a 43-year-old German man over the girl’s murder. The investigation into McCann 's disappearance and suspected murder is being carried out by a joint task force consisting of German , British and Portuguese police .

German investigators believe that Madeleine McCann is dead, an official has said as they appeal for information on a new suspect . Britain’s Metropolitan Police are still treating the inquiry as a missing person investigation and say there is no definitive evidence on whether she is alive or dead.

a close up of a girl: Madeleine McCann who vanished from the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family © Provided by Daily Mail Madeleine McCann who vanished from the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family They hope to find out more about the movements of Brueckner around the Portuguese tourist hotspot.

It is part of their investigation into Brueckner, the paedophile prime suspect who has 17 convictions and who is serving seven years in Kiel jail in northern Germany for rape.

It comes as a former acquaintance of Brueckner told a German television news channel how he was once threatened by the 43-year-old in Braunschweig, Germany.

The man, whose name was changed by RTL to Norbert M, said he had lived in an apartment which was previously run by Brueckner as a kiosk and knew he had a 'minor girlfriend from Kosovo'.

a car parked in a parking lot: The suspect is said to have lived at this property named Escola Vehla - meaning 'old school' - during his time in Portugal © Provided by Daily Mail The suspect is said to have lived at this property named Escola Vehla - meaning 'old school' - during his time in Portugal Mr M told RTL: 'He became more and more aggressive.

OTS: POL-KA: (KA) Karlsruhe - Suspected drug dealer after custody of his assistant in pre-trial detention

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A German prisoner has been identified as a new suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from a holiday resort in Portugal 13 years ago. The man in his 40s is a convicted sex offender who had been living in the Algarve at the time, travelling around in a camper van.

Madeleine McCann : German prisoner identified as suspect A Madeleine went missing from an apartment on a Portuguese holiday resort on the evening of 3 May Police have released details of the suspect 's phone number and the number he dialled saying any information about them could be

a path with buildings on the side of a hill: An aerial view of the farmhouse where Christian Brueckner is said to have stayed with his girlfriend near Praia de Luz in Portugal © Provided by Daily Mail An aerial view of the farmhouse where Christian Brueckner is said to have stayed with his girlfriend near Praia de Luz in Portugal 'I heard that he left the kiosk and then went to Portugal or Spain with a girl. He then left dogs in his kiosk for weeks.'

a building next to a fence: The property around the land and the surrounding wasteland is said to have several abandoned wells on it © Provided by Daily Mail The property around the land and the surrounding wasteland is said to have several abandoned wells on it He added: 'I can imagine that he is behind the disappearance of Maddie.'

a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: The house is situated between the resort of Praia da Luz and the larger town of Lagos four miles away © Provided by Daily Mail The house is situated between the resort of Praia da Luz and the larger town of Lagos four miles away The comments came as yesterday prosecutors in Germany labelled Brueckner a ‘multiple sexual predator’.

a fire place sitting in a chair next to a fireplace: The house is situated between the resort of Praia da Luz and the larger town of Lagos four miles away © Provided by Daily Mail The house is situated between the resort of Praia da Luz and the larger town of Lagos four miles away It was also claimed Brueckner had been convicted of a child sex offence in his native Germany when aged just 17.

Yet the drifter, who reportedly has as many as 17 criminal convictions, was apparently overlooked by Portuguese police.

Greens press for reforms in Germany in the racism debate

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German suspect identified in Madeleine McCann disappearance. The rapist has the same criminal history, and reports of his trial said he had previously been jailed in both Portugal and Germany. The suspect was first linked to the McCann case in 2013 after information was given in response to an

a large white building: Madeleine vanished from this holiday apartment in the popular Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz - Apartment 5a - while her parents were with friends nearby and regularly checking on their three sleeping children © Provided by Daily Mail Madeleine vanished from this holiday apartment in the popular Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz - Apartment 5a - while her parents were with friends nearby and regularly checking on their three sleeping children It also emerged yesterday that he had been convicted of raping a 72-year-old US widow in her Algarve home 18 months before Madeleine disappeared.

Brueckner is now the focus of the 13-year investigation into the disappearance of the three-year-old from the Algarve.

a sign on the side of a mountain: The German suspect had lived in a warehouse outside Praia da Luz for several years but moved into a campervan just before Maddie vanished © Provided by Daily Mail The German suspect had lived in a warehouse outside Praia da Luz for several years but moved into a campervan just before Maddie vanished Yesterday a spokesman for her parents Kate and Gerry McCann hailed the ‘significant’ breakthrough. 

But they faced renewed anguish as German prosecutors stated they believed their daughter was dead and also suggested officers knew how she died.

Brueckner is in jail in Kiel, northern Germany.

But one German media report yesterday suggested he was on the verge of getting parole, having served two thirds of his sentence.

According to a German newspaper, he becomes eligible for freedom from Sunday, if the Federal Court of Justice in Germany decides to grant him parole.

Quimper: A young man killed in a squatted apartment, a suspect still wanted

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a truck parked on the side of a mountain: The suspect, who is in prison in Germany for rape, has been linked to an early 1980s camper van - with a white upper body and yellow skirting, registered in Portugal - which is seen here on the Algarve in 2007. Police believe it may have been used in the crime but they have not found the DNA evidence needed to charge him © Provided by Daily Mail The suspect, who is in prison in Germany for rape, has been linked to an early 1980s camper van - with a white upper body and yellow skirting, registered in Portugal - which is seen here on the Algarve in 2007. Police believe it may have been used in the crime but they have not found the DNA evidence needed to charge him On Wednesday, Scotland Yard, which has been carrying out a £12million review of the Madeleine case, dropped the bombshell revelation there was a new suspect, as German police launched an appeal via that country’s equivalent of CrimeWatch.

a car parked on the side of a building: He has also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 with a German number plate seen in Praia da Luz and the surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007 including just days before Maddie's disappearance. It has been seized by police. © Provided by Daily Mail He has also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 with a German number plate seen in Praia da Luz and the surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007 including just days before Maddie's disappearance. It has been seized by police.

Yesterday Mr Wolters said: ‘We think that Madeleine McCann is dead and are appealing for witnesses.

The 43-year-old is a multiple sexual predator already convicted of crimes against little girls.’

a man and a woman posing for a picture: The news today has given hope to comes as a shot in the arm to her parents Kate and Gerry McCann (pictured in 2017), who have never given up hope in the search for their daughter © Provided by Daily Mail The news today has given hope to comes as a shot in the arm to her parents Kate and Gerry McCann (pictured in 2017), who have never given up hope in the search for their daughter He suggested police had determined the method used to kill the three-year-old and said others would have ‘concrete knowledge’ of how she died and where her body was hidden.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Scotland Yard is launching a 'major' joint appeal with the German and Portuguese forces, just over 13 years after she vanished. Pictured: DCI Mark Cranwell © Provided by Daily Mail Scotland Yard is launching a 'major' joint appeal with the German and Portuguese forces, just over 13 years after she vanished. Pictured: DCI Mark Cranwell Scotland Yard still insists that it is a missing person inquiry and the McCanns say they have never given up hope she will be found alive. Madeleine disappeared while her parents, from Rothley in Leicestershire, were having a meal with friends at a tapas bar close to their apartment.

PHOTO - Madeleine from Sweden, who chose Meghan to live in the United States, celebrates her 38 years

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Who did suspect make 30-minute phone call to shortly before Maddie's disappearance?

The German suspect is known to have been in and around the area of Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast at the time Madeleine McCann went missing shortly after 9pm on May 3, 2007.

A half-hour phone call was made to his Portuguese mobile phone between 7.30 and 8pm, around an hour before Madeleine is believed to have disappeared. 

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell told reporters on Wednesday that he was taking the 'really unusual' step of releasing two mobile phone numbers as part of the appeal.

The first, (+351) 912 730 680, is believed to have been used by the suspect and received a call from another Portuguese mobile, (+351) 916 510 683, while in the Praia da Luz area, starting at 7.32pm and ending at 8.02pm on the night of May 3 2007.

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Portuguese police were facing serious questions yesterday about why Brueckner was not identified earlier as a suspect given he had child sex abuse convictions dating back to 1994.

He lived two miles from the resort where she vanished and phone data indicates he was in the area on the night. 

If Portuguese officers had done basic checks of known sex offenders his name could have emerged within months.

The ex-lead Portuguese investigator on the case, Goncalo Amaral, has claimed the suspect had been ruled out of the inquiry in 2008.

But he allegedly came back into the frame after a conversation in an internet chatroom about Madeleine and her abduction.

Yesterday it emerged Brueckner only became a suspect for Scotland Yard in 2017 when he is said to have told a friend at a bar he ‘knew all about’ what had happened to Madeleine.

Maddie case: German police involved in investigation into suspect

 Maddie case: German police involved in investigation into suspect German police have given one of the main suspects time to destroy all the evidence and prepare © action press / SIPA A car intervention of the German police. DISAPPEARANCE - German police have given one of the main suspects time to destroy all the evidence and prepare Police investigations are like poker, you shouldn't reveal your game too early for fear of give enough room to the opponent.

a yellow house in the back yard: When Brueckner lived in the farmhouse above Praia da Luz (pictured), he seldom mixed with his neighbours and allowed the property to fall into disrepair © Provided by Daily Mail When Brueckner lived in the farmhouse above Praia da Luz (pictured), he seldom mixed with his neighbours and allowed the property to fall into disrepair According to Sky News, Brueckner was prompted to make the comment when her face flashed up on a TV screen in a German pub during a report on a UK appeal for information on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance.

a group of people in a garden: Brueckner, now 43, is understood to have lived in the farmhouse from 1999 to 2006 and may have been living in a distinctive campervan at the time Madeleine disappeared © Provided by Daily Mail Brueckner, now 43, is understood to have lived in the farmhouse from 1999 to 2006 and may have been living in a distinctive campervan at the time Madeleine disappeared A spokesman for the McCanns said: ‘This would appear to be the most significant lead they are trying to close down in 13 years.’

German police said their phones ‘rang hot’ after the appeal went live.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, leading the Met Police investigation, said more than 270 calls and emails had been received.

a herd of sheep grazing on a grassy hill: The farmhouse is a 25-minute walk to the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine was on holiday with her parents and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie © Provided by Daily Mail The farmhouse is a 25-minute walk to the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine was on holiday with her parents and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie Today more details revealed about the remote farmhouse which gave Christian Brueckner unrivalled views of Praia da Luz.  

The convicted child sex offender is now a key suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in May 2007.

When Brueckner lived in the farmhouse above Praia da Luz, he seldom mixed with his neighbours and allowed the property to fall into disrepair.

Last night one neighbour told the Daily Mail: ‘I immediately recognised him from the pictures in the media. He kept to himself and lived with a girlfriend for some of the time.’ 

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How top-secret probe helped identify Maddie McCann prime suspect

By Shekhar Bhatia For Mailonline

A top secret probe involving police forces in three countries helped investigators zone in on Christian Brueckner.

The 43-year-old’s bar room revelation that he had information about what had happened to Madeleine McCann threw a spotlight on him and then made him the ‘significant’ target for detectives.   

Police in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz had an open file of a 72-year-old American was brutally raped and robbed in her home. The rapist had remained free.

The connection was made. But his claims about his connection to the disappearance of Maddie put a three country police operation into full swing.

Officers from Britain, Germany and Portugal linked their investigations and interviewed informants and those who might have come across the German without revealing the nature of the investigation.

This was likely to have been the method to ensure word did not spread that the 43-year-old Brueckner was suspected in the kidnapping and probable murder of Maddie.

Officers did not want potential informants to be put off or be indentified in the media before their probe had reached a satisfactory conclusion.

Police kept their suspicions to themselves even when he was gaoled for seven years for rape. Police had found a body hair on the victim which was proved to have come from Brueckner's body.

Almost 12 years after his horrific attack on the pensioner, his DNA had led him to jail.

But officers believed there was one more crime he had to answer for; the taking of Maddie.  

Six months after Brueckner being put behind bars, however, police appear to have seen their investigation in need of a re-boot and thus the joint press conference appealing for information by Scotland Yard and Germany’s Federal police.

They have identified two vehicles used by Brueckner and spoken to the British owner of a house in Praia da Luz about the suspect’s background.

Significantly, they did not tell the house owner why they were keen to know every piece of information about him.

But they are thought to still need more evidence to shore up their case against Brueckner.

Detectives also decided not to reveal Brueckner’s identity when they talked last night of their break-through and that a major suspect had emerged.

But they hope that by showing some of their cards, the people they believe know about Brueckner’s involvement and how he allegedly took her from her family will come forward.  

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Brueckner, now 43, is understood to have lived in the farmhouse from 1999 to 2006 and may have been living in a distinctive campervan at the time Madeleine disappeared.

The single-storey property is surrounded by disused water wells and sits on a hillside which leads on to a footpath to the beach where the little girl played. It also sits close to where Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate used to jog along the clifftop in search of solace during the aftermath of her disappearance. 

The farmhouse is a 25-minute walk to the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine was on holiday with her parents and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie.

In 2014 police sealed off an area of scrubland close to the farmhouse and used ground-penetrating radar to detect whether the soil had been disturbed.

Another neighbour said of Brueckner last night: ‘He moved in in the mid-Nineties with a German girlfriend who left around a year and a half later. They seemed to have a tempestuous relationship. I would hear them arguing. I knew very little about his life but he seemed to me to be a choleric man.’

Another added: ‘He had a fall-out with another German he sub-let the place to for around six months. He treated him very badly.

‘But I never for one moment suspected he could have had anything to do with Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. It’s something that never even crossed my mind. His life was pretty much of a mystery to people round here. His girlfriend left a long time ago and she hasn’t been seen around here since.’

A third neighbour said: ‘This is an idyllic spot and we are all proud of our houses and look after them. But this guy let his place go to ruin. He left it looking a right mess and it took the owner some time to make it right.’

The owner of the property is a British man who rented it to the German suspect and his girlfriend. The homeowner, who asked to remain anonymous, said both UK and Portuguese police have asked for his help relating to background information on Brueckner.

He said: ‘In 2006 my neighbour contacted me in the UK to say that the house had been left ramshackle and abandoned with no sign of occupancy.

‘We returned to Portugal and reported the disappearance to the Portuguese police and later discovered that he may have been arrested.

This was the last we heard from him until about a year ago when we were contacted by the UK and Portuguese police requesting what information we had as they were following a new line of inquiry relating to this person.’ 

Speaking to Sky News, he added: ‘My wife and I moved back to the UK in 1992. The house was let out to friends and friends of friends to maintain occupancy, look after the land and pay the bills.

‘The house was occupied for a period of time by what seemed like an ordinary young couple trying to get by in Portugal.

'Living in England, we had relatively little interaction besides talk of the house, the land and any maintenance issues.

'We met in person when passing through on family holidays to the Algarve.

'At a later date we discovered that the man’s girlfriend had parted company and returned to Germany.’

Police are now trying to trace Brueckner’s ex-girlfriend to establish a full picture of the suspect’s movements on the Algarve. She is thought to have left Praia before Madeleine’s disappearance.

Brueckner, a known drifter, also spent time dog-sitting for German friends at a house in Monte Judeu, a few miles from the seaside.

 

Maddie murder police lay bare the child sex crime past of Jaguar-driving wannabe playboy who was actually a drug-dealing drifter and rapist - as it's revealed he could be out of jail on parole in days   

By Sam Greenhill and Claire Duffin for the Daily Mail 

What do we know about Maddie murder suspect Christian Brueckner?

1992: Christian Brueckner is arrested on suspicion of burglary in his hometown of Wurzburg, Bavaria.

a person posing for the camera © Provided by Daily Mail

1994: He is given a two-year youth jail sentence for sexually abusing a minor. 

1995: Brueckner arrives in Portugal as an 18-year-old backpacker and begins working in catering in the seaside resorts of Lagos and Praia da Luz. 

But friends say he became involved with a criminal syndicate trafficking drugs into the Algarve.

September 2005:  He dons a mask and breaks into an apartment where a 72-year-old American tourist.

The victim was bound, gagged, blindfolded and whipped with a metal cane before being raped for 15 minutes. She said afterwards that he had clearly enjoyed 'torturing' her before the rape.

April 2007: He moves out of a farmhouse and into a campervan now linked to the crime. The farmhouse is cleaned and a bag of wigs and 'exotic clothes' is found.

May 3, 2007: Madeleine McCann is snatched at around 10pm from her bed as her parents eat tapas with friends yards away.

Brueckner's mobile phone places him in the area that night.   He returns to his native Germany shortly after that.

2008-2016: He is in and out of jail for drug dealing and child abuse offences on 'little girls'. 

May 3, 2017: Brueckner is said to be in a bar with a friend when a ten-year anniversary appeal following Maddie's disappearance is shown on German television.

He is said to have told him in a bar that he 'knew all about' what happened to her. He then showed his friend a video of him raping a woman.

MailOnline understands the friend went to police shortly afterwards.

June 2017: He heads back to Portugal and extradited again to Germany. The reason was a sentencing of the Braunschweig district court to 15 months' imprisonment for the sexual abuse of a child. 

August 2018: He is released from prison and lives on the streets

a man wearing a suit and tie: First Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters addresses the media during a press conference on the Madeleine McCann case at the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig © Provided by Daily Mail First Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters addresses the media during a press conference on the Madeleine McCann case at the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig

September 2018: Brueckner is arrested in Milan, Italy and extradited to Germany and put on trial for raping the American tourist in 2007 after a DNA match to hair found at the crime scene.

December 2019: He is jailed for seven years after being convicted of rape and extortion.

June 3, 2020: Scotland Yard and the German police reveal that that they have identified a suspect in the Maddie McCann case

June 4, 2020: Prosecutors in Braunschweig, where he lives, say they believe Maddie McCann has been murdered, says spokesman Hans Christian Wolters. He is named in the German press as the prime suspect.

The new Madeleine McCann suspect was unmasked last night as it emerged he had been on the police radar for more than two decades - and he could be let out of jail on parole within days.

As prosecutors labelled him a ‘multiple sexual predator’, it was claimed Christian Brueckner, 43, had been convicted of a child sex offence in his native Germany when aged just 17.

Yet the drifter, who reportedly has as many as 17 criminal convictions, was apparently overlooked by Portuguese police.

It also emerged yesterday that he had been convicted of raping a 72-year-old US widow in her Algarve home 18 months before Madeleine disappeared.  

Brueckner is now the focus of the 13-year investigation into the disappearance of the three-year-old from the Algarve.

Yesterday a spokesman for her parents Kate and Gerry McCann hailed the ‘significant’ breakthrough. But they faced renewed anguish as German prosecutors stated they believed their daughter was dead and also suggested officers knew how she died.

Brueckner is behind bars in Germany. But it was claimed that he could walk free within days, as he will become eligible for parole on Sunday.   

Cruising the Algarve in his classic Jaguar, Christian Brueckner posed as a fun-loving playboy.

The German drifter spent 12 years pursuing a bohemian lifestyle – but not long after Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007, he left Portugal and returned to his homeland.

It was in a German bar exactly ten years later – on the anniversary of the three-year-old’s disappearance – that Becks-drinking Brueckner turned the spotlight on himself.

As Madeleine’s face flashed up on the bar’s television screen, he reportedly turned to his drinking partner and claimed he ‘knew all about’ the case. He is alleged to have said something to suggest he knew what had happened to Maddie, according to a report on Sky News.

Later, it is claimed, he showed his companion a video of himself raping an elderly American widow in Portugal in 2005. The friend contacted German police.

Brueckner – who chose a moniker for his Facebook page that means ‘madness’ in German – swiftly became of interest to the detectives probing Madeleine’s disappearance. It was three more years before his name became public.

Photographs obtained by the Mail show blue-eyed Brueckner enjoying a night out in a Hanover bar in 2011.

a man and woman sitting next to a dog: Christian Brueckner spent 12 years pursuing a bohemian lifestyle – but not long after Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007, he left Portugal and returned to his homeland. Photographs obtained by the Mail show the drifter enjoying a night out in a Hanover bar in 2011, wearing a pinstriped blazer, sitting next to an innocent shot girl © Provided by Daily Mail Christian Brueckner spent 12 years pursuing a bohemian lifestyle – but not long after Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007, he left Portugal and returned to his homeland. Photographs obtained by the Mail show the drifter enjoying a night out in a Hanover bar in 2011, wearing a pinstriped blazer, sitting next to an innocent shot girl Wearing a pinstriped blazer, the self-styled Romeo appeared to be enjoying himself with a group of friends.

One picture shows him cradling a small dog.

a man posing for the camera: Portuguese detective says 'Christian B' was dismissed as a suspect in 2008 - but a discussion 'years later' on an online forum about Maddie and her abduction was brought to the attention of police; © Provided by Daily Mail Portuguese detective says 'Christian B' was dismissed as a suspect in 2008 - but a discussion 'years later' on an online forum about Maddie and her abduction was brought to the attention of police; Last night one friend told the Mail that Brueckner’s ‘life situation’ was ‘a bit chaotic’, but added that ‘if everything is true then he was indeed a master of illusion’.

In fact, despite the Renaissance man image he seemed desperate to cultivate, Brueckner, 43, has long tried to hide a gruesome life of crime ranging from petty thefts to horrific sexual assaults. 

a person posing for the camera: Portuguese detective says 'Christian B' was dismissed as a suspect in 2008 - but a discussion 'years later' on an online forum about Maddie and her abduction was brought to the attention of police; © Provided by Daily Mail Portuguese detective says 'Christian B' was dismissed as a suspect in 2008 - but a discussion 'years later' on an online forum about Maddie and her abduction was brought to the attention of police; Born in 1976, Brueckner was raised ‘in a home’ according to German news magazine Focus.

He committed his first burglary in his home town of Wuerzburg in Bavaria when he was just 15.

Within two years, he was convicted of sexually abusing a child, earning him a two-year youth sentence in 1994. A report by Germany’s Der Spiegel claimed he served only part of this term.

a sign in front of a house: The German drifter spent 12 years pursuing a bohemian lifestyle in and around Praia da Luz at two houses, one in the town and one two miles away between the neighbouring town of Lagos © Provided by Daily Mail The German drifter spent 12 years pursuing a bohemian lifestyle in and around Praia da Luz at two houses, one in the town and one two miles away between the neighbouring town of Lagos Brueckner went on to notch up convictions for drug dealing, driving under the influence and without a licence, the news magazine reported.

As a young man, Brueckner is said to have dreamed of emigrating with his girlfriend of the time.

After turning 18 – and acquiring a driver’s licence – he took off to the Algarve town of Lagos with his girlfriend, the German newspaper Bild reported.

a little girl wearing a pink hat: Madeleine McCann (pictured) vanished from Praia da Luz in May 2007 © Provided by Daily Mail Madeleine McCann (pictured) vanished from Praia da Luz in May 2007 After returning to Germany, Brueckner continued stealing and drug-dealing. In October 2011, a district court in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein sentenced him to one year and nine months for a crime involving ‘narcotics in large quantities’. The term was initially suspended.

a close up of a girl: Maddie (pictured) was three when she is disappeared © Provided by Daily Mail Maddie (pictured) was three when she is disappeared

It quotes him as saying: ‘We didn’t know anything about Portugal. We went to Lagos because we liked the name so much. We had a tent with us and camped in the wild.’

a sign on the side of a mountain: The farmhouse where the new prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance lived was located just two miles from where she went missing from her family's holiday apartment © Provided by Daily Mail The farmhouse where the new prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance lived was located just two miles from where she went missing from her family's holiday apartment He eventually settled in Praia da Luz – the picturesque resort where the McCanns took their three children on holiday.

On May 3, 2007 Kate and Gerry McCann went to a small tapas bar metres away from their apartment to dine with friends. But when Kate returned to do a routine check on their children, she found that Madeleine had disappeared © Provided by Daily Mail On May 3, 2007 Kate and Gerry McCann went to a small tapas bar metres away from their apartment to dine with friends. But when Kate returned to do a routine check on their children, she found that Madeleine had disappeared Brueckner stayed there for 12 years, telling families he was working as a caterer and odd-job man. In truth, he was dealing cannabis, trafficking drugs and burgling holiday homes and hotel rooms.

a car parked on the side of a building: Pictured above and below, the Jaguar he re-registered the day after Maddie disappeared © Provided by Daily Mail Pictured above and below, the Jaguar he re-registered the day after Maddie disappeared

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a truck is parked in a parking lot: The suspect's battered camper van. Scotland Yard released images of the VW T3 Westfalia camper van, with a white upper body and a yellow skirting, with a Portuguese registration plate © Provided by Daily Mail The suspect's battered camper van. Scotland Yard released images of the VW T3 Westfalia camper van, with a white upper body and a yellow skirting, with a Portuguese registration plate

a house that has a sign on the side of a road: Bruekner is said to have lived at this property named Escola Vehla - meaning 'old school' - during at least part of his 12-year stay in Portugal until 2007 - shortly after Madeleine disappeared © Provided by Daily Mail Bruekner is said to have lived at this property named Escola Vehla - meaning 'old school' - during at least part of his 12-year stay in Portugal until 2007 - shortly after Madeleine disappeared By 2014, Brueckner was living in Braunschweig, near Hanover, where he boasted to friends he had opened a local shop. He claimed he worked from seven in the morning until midnight but the business, along with his relationship, failed and he began to hit the bottle and live on benefits.

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Extraditing a foreign suspect will be difficult

It is expected that Met Police will want any suspect charged in the Madeleine McCann case to be tried in the UK, given the nationality of the victim.

The force has consistently said that if the suspect were British, then they would push for a prosecution at the Old Bailey, rather than Portugal where the crime was committed.

But if the suspect happens to be from any other country, the chances of extraditing them to the UK for a crime which took place overseas is unlikely.

If a German national is ever charged, it is unclear if Portuguese authorities, who have been heavily criticised for their involvement in the past, who pursue a prosecution of allow Germany to try their own citizen.

Portugal the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed is 25 years, whereas Germany can hand down an indeterminate life sentence - although there can be the option for parole after 15 years.

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In 2016 he was sentenced to one year and three months’ imprisonment for ‘sexually abusing a child in the act of procuring himself and possessing child pornography’.

After his bar-room claims about Madeleine in May 2017, Brueckner appears to have returned to the Algarve. Within a month he was held under a European Arrest Warrant and extradited back to Germany.

That September, he was sentenced to 15 months in prisonfor the sexual abuse of a child according to Thomas Klinge, spokesman for the Hanover public prosecutor’s office.

After his release in August 2018, he later told a court, he was homeless, spending nights sleeping on park benches. He travelled to Milan – but within a month he was arrested and extradited to Germany yet again, this time to face trial for drugs offences.

In October 2018, he was convicted of dealing drugs and sent to prison in Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, where he remains to this day. Prosecutors also had enough evidence to charge him with the horrific sex attack he had filmed 13 years earlier.

His rape trial took place last December. Reports of the proceedings descibe Brueckner as ‘eloquent’ and state he leafed through legal texts as evidence was heard. He called what had happened to the traumatised pensioner a ‘bad deed’, but denied any role in it.

In court he repeatedly mentioned the names of ex-lovers, insisting they would testify as to the ‘normalcy’ of his sex life.

He branded witnesses as liars and claimed that DNA from a strand of hair used to convict him must have ended up on the victim’s bed after he had petted one of her cats. Yet as so often before, the court rejected his denials and Brueckner was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years, pending the outcome of an appeal.

One trial witness described Brueckner as someone who ‘always paid attention to his appearance’.

As the Madeleine case enters a dramatic new phase, there will certainly be a lot more attention paid to him now.

 

New Madeleine McCann sex offender suspect had been on police radar for 'more than two decades' and 'has as many as 17 criminal convictions'   

The new Madeleine McCann suspect was unmasked last night as it emerged he had been on the police radar for more than two decades.

As prosecutors labelled him a ‘multiple sexual predator’, it was claimed Christian Brueckner, 43, had been convicted of a child sex offence in his native Germany when aged just 17.

a little girl holding a racket: A photo of Maddie picking up tennis balls released by her family © Provided by Daily Mail A photo of Maddie picking up tennis balls released by her family Yet the drifter, who reportedly has as many as 17 criminal convictions, was apparently overlooked by Portuguese police. It also emerged yesterday that he had been convicted of raping a 72-year-old US widow in her Algarve home 18 months before Madeleine disappeared. Brueckner is now the focus of the 13-year investigation into the disappearance of the three-year-old from the Algarve.

a woman in a blue shirt: A computer generated image from 2012 shows how Maddie would have looked at the age of nine © Provided by Daily Mail A computer generated image from 2012 shows how Maddie would have looked at the age of nine

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Maddie's parents refuse to believe their daughter is dead until her body is found, close friend says 

Madeleine McCann's parents refuse to believe their daughter is dead until her body is found, a close friend said tonight.

Kate and Gerry cling onto a glimmer of hope that Maddie could still be alive as police probing her disappearance have sensationally revealed a prime suspect in a huge breakthrough in the 13-year mystery.

As police could be closing in on her kidnapper - a 43-year-old German who is currently in jail after committing other offences - the couple 'remain on tenterhooks' as they anxiously await updates.

A pal of the couple from Rothley, Leicestershire, said: 'German police are now leading on this inquiry and are treating it as murder. But what proof officers have got has not been spelt out at this stage. Until a body is found and it is proved to be Madeleine's, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope.

'This is the biggest police activity for many years, it appears to be a significant breakthrough after all this time. In 13 years never before has any police force said 'We believe this person to be the prime suspect.' There is tangible evidence, the suspect was in Praia da Luz when Madeleine went missing and he had been behaving suspiciously and is now serving a prison sentence.

'But does it make him Madeleine's abductor and, if it does, where is she and why now has he suddenly come to light when his name was given to police three years ago. And has he had any involvement in paedophilia?

'There are still many unanswered questions and we cannot speculate.

'Kate and Gerry want answers more than anyone but while the Metropolitan Police are still treating Madeleine's disappearance as a missing people's inquiry, it gives the family hope that she could still be alive. Nothing has changed for them. They will continuing hoping until they know for sure.'

The friend said that heart doctor Gerry, 51, and ex GP turned medical worker Kate, 52, remained 'incredibly grateful' to the British force for its continuing work over nine years.

McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell declined to make a comment, saying: 'Kate and Gerry have given a direct statement through police.' 

The family have recently been buoyed up by news of a Chinese boy being found alive 32 years after being abducted. The pal said: 'This is the news they are dreaming of receiving themselves one day.'  

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Yesterday a spokesman for her parents Kate and Gerry McCann hailed the ‘significant’ breakthrough.

But they faced renewed anguish as German prosecutors stated they believed their daughter was dead and also suggested officers knew how she died.

Brueckner is behind bars in Germany. But it was claimed that he could walk free within days, as he will become eligible for parole on Sunday. 

Brueckner is in jail in Kiel, northern Germany. But one German media report yesterday suggested he was on the verge of getting parole, having served two thirds of his sentence. According to a German newspaper, he becomes eligible for freedom from Sunday, if the Federal Court of Justice in Germany decides to grant him parole.

On Wednesday, Scotland Yard, which has been carrying out a £12million review of the Madeleine case, dropped the bombshell revelation there was a new suspect, as German police launched an appeal via that country’s equivalent of CrimeWatch.

Yesterday Mr Wolters said: ‘We think that Madeleine McCann is dead and are appealing for witnesses. The 43-year-old is a multiple sexual predator already convicted of crimes against little girls.’ He suggested police had determined the method used to kill the three-year-old and said others would have ‘concrete knowledge’ of how she died and where her body was hidden.

Scotland Yard still insists that it is a missing person inquiry and the McCanns say they have never given up hope she will be found alive.

Madeleine disappeared while her parents, from Rothley in Leicestershire, were having a meal with friends at a tapas bar close to their apartment. Portuguese police were facing serious questions yesterday about why Brueckner was not identified earlier as a suspect given he had child sex abuse convictions dating back to 1994.

He lived two miles from the resort where she vanished and phone data indicates he was in the area on the night. If Portuguese officers had done basic checks of known sex offenders his name could have emerged within months. The ex-lead Portuguese investigator on the case, Goncalo Amaral, has claimed the suspect had been ruled out of the inquiry in 2008.

But he allegedly came back into the frame after a conversation in an internet chatroom about Madeleine and her abduction. Yesterday it emerged Brueckner only became a suspect for Scotland Yard in 2017 when he is said to have told a friend at a bar he ‘knew all about’ what had happened to Madeleine.

According to Sky News, Brueckner was prompted to make the comment when her face flashed up on a TV screen in a German pub during a report on a UK appeal for information on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance. A spokesman for the McCanns said: ‘This would appear to be the most significant lead they are trying to close down in 13 years.’

German police said their phones ‘rang hot’ after the appeal went live. Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, leading the Met Police investigation, said more than 270 calls and emails had been received. 

How the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann unfolded over 13 years  

2007

May 3: Gerry and Kate McCann leave their three children, including Maddie, asleep in their hotel apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, as they eat with friends in a nearby restaurant. When they return, they find Maddie missing from her bed

May 4: A friend of the McCanns reports of seeing a man carrying a child away in the night.  Meanwhile, airports and borders are put on high alert as search gets underway

May 14: Robert Mural, a property developer who lives a few yards from the hotel, is made a suspect by Portuguese police

May 30: The McCanns meet the Pope in Rome in a bid to bring worldwide attention to the search

August 11: Police in Portugal acknowledge for the first time in the investigation that Maddie might be dead. 

September 7: Spanish police make the McCanns official suspects in the disappearance. Two days later the family flies back to England

2008

July 21: Spanish police remove the McCanns and Mr Mural as official suspects as the case is shelved

2009

May 1: A computer-generated image of what Maddie could look like two years after she disappeared is released by the McCanns 

2011

May 12: A review into the disappearance is launched by Scotland Yard, following a plea from then-Home Secretary Theresa May 

2012

April 25: After a year of reviewing the case, Scotland Yard announce they belief that Maddie could be alive and call on police in Portugal to reopen the case, but it falls on deaf ears amid 'a lack of new evidence'

2013

July 4: Scotland Yard opens new investigation and claim to have identified 38 'people of interest'

October 24: A review into the investigation is opened by Portuguese police and new lines of inquiry are discovered, forcing them to reopen the case

2014

January 29: British officers arrive in Portugal as a detailed investigation takes place. During the year, several locations are searched, including an area of scrubland near the resort 

2015

October 28: British police announce that team investigating Maddie's disappearance is reduced from 29 officers to just four, as it is also revealed that the investigation has cost £10million 

2016

April 3: Operation Grange is handed an additional £95,000 by Theresa May to keep the investigation alive for another six months  

2017

March 11: Cash is once again pumped into keeping the investigation alive, with £85,000 granted to keep it running until September, when it is extended once again until April next year

2018

March 27: The Home Office reveals it has allocated further funds to Operation Grange. The new fund is believed to be as large as £150,000

September 11: Parents fear as police hunt into daughter's disappearance could be shelved within three weeks by the new Home Secretary amid funding cuts

September 26: Fresh hope in the search for Madeleine McCann as it emerges the Home Office is considering allocating more cash for the police to find her

2019  

April: Controversial new Netflix documentary re-examining Maddie's kidnap is released, triggering a barrage of online abuse against Kate and Gerry by heartless trolls. They pair, who refused to take part in the eight hour programme series, slammed it for 'potentially hindering' the search for their daughter while an active police hunt is ongoing

June 5: The Home Office gives the Metropolitan Police enough funding to investigate for another year

June 22: Detectives say they are 'closer than ever' to solving the disappearance as they look into a new suspect. A joint effort by British and Portuguese police narrowed in on a 'foreign' man who was in the Algarve when she went missing in 2007

December 7: Paulo Pereira Cristovao, a long-time critic of Maddie's parents who angered them with a controversial book about the mystery disappearance, was convicted of participating in the planning of two violent break-ins at properties in Lisbon and the nearby resort of Cascais. He is jailed for seven and a half years

December 11: Maddie's revealed a touching list of what they miss most about their daughter as they spent their 13th Christmas without her

2020

February 22: Scotland Yard detectives questioned a British expat about her German ex-boyfriend. Carol Hickman, 59, claims police entered her bar in Praia da Luz, Portugal to ask questions about her former partner 

March 27: Detectives requested extra money to continue their investigation into the disappearance of the toddler in Portugal back in 2007, with funds for the operation set to run out at the end of the month

 June 3: Police reveal that a 43-year-old German prisoner has been identified as a suspect in Madeleine's disappearance.

   

Maddie case: German police involved in investigation into suspect .
German police have given one of the main suspects time to destroy all the evidence and prepare © action press / SIPA A car intervention of the German police. DISAPPEARANCE - German police have given one of the main suspects time to destroy all the evidence and prepare Police investigations are like poker, you shouldn't reveal your game too early for fear of give enough room to the opponent.

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