Christian Brueckner claims he had nothing to do with Madeleine McCann‘s disappearance as it emerged police found a stash of girls’ swimming costumes in the convicted paedophile’s motorhome.
Brueckner reportedly drove the 30ft-long American-style vehicle, which he also lived in for a time, back and forth between Portugal and Germany.
It is not clear when Brueckner bought the 30-year-old Tiffin Allegro but he was known to be driving a vehicle matching its description in 2007, when Madeleine, three, vanished.
Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher said his client – who is languishing in solitary confinement in a German prison – ‘denied any involvement’ in Madeleine’s case, The Mirror reports.
People who knew him described a ‘large cream-coloured Winnebago campervan,’ which he allegedly bragged could hide ‘drugs and children’.
Girls’ swimming costumes and other children’s clothes were found in an old motorhome (pictured) owned by Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner, it emerged yesterday
The convicted paedophile reportedly drove the 30ft-long American-style vehicle, which he also lived in for a time, back and forth between Portugal and Germany. Left: Christian Brueckner jokes for pals with a bag on his head. Right: Madeleine was three-years-old when she went missing while the McCanns were on holiday at Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007
Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher (left) said his client – who is languishing in solitary confinement in a German prison – ‘denied any involvement’ in Madeleine’s case, The Mirror reports. Right: Brueckner
Police investigating the disappearance of five-year-old Inga Gehricke – known as the ‘German Maddie’ – found the vehicle during a search of a disused box factory in Neuwegersleben, near Braunschweig [Brunswick] in northern Germany, in May 2016.
It was parked on land Brueckner bought six years earlier at auction. Brueckner, a convicted drug dealer and rapist, was under suspicion after Inga vanished from woods during a family outing.
One of the girls’ swimsuits found in the motorhome which the convicted paedophile reportedly drove back and forth between Portugal and Germany
Germany’s Spiegel TV reported that during a six-day search of the site detectives found numerous items of children’s clothing, most of them ‘small swimsuits’ in the motorhome. Brueckner does not have any children.
Police also found six memory sticks with more than 8,000 files, mostly containing pictures and videos of child abuse. They were in a bag in a hole in the ground, underneath the body of his dead dog. Brueckner, now 43, was convicted of possessing the child porn but not charged in relation to Inga. He was identified as a suspect in the McCann case in recent weeks and police near Hanover have reopened the file into Inga’s disappearance, looking again at Brueckner.
It is alleged the motorhome was seen on Portugal’s Algarve on several occasions around 2007.
A former ambulance driver called Dieter, whose daughter knew Brueckner, said he was given a tour of the vehicle. He added: ‘As I looked inside, I asked him: ‘Herr Brueckner, what do you do in Portugal? What is your job?’ He told me: ‘I work, I get money, because I have a special business. I transport grass [cannabis] in my van.’
Dieter revealed to the Mail on Sunday: ‘Brueckner told me again, ‘I have 50kg of grass, and I transport it around Europe’. I thought he was joking at the time. He said, ‘In my van, I can take 50kg of grass – nobody can see it … I can transport children, kids, in this space. Drugs and children, you can transport them in this van – it’s a safe space in the van. Nobody can find them. Nobody can catch you’.’
It is not known where the motorhome is now. Asked if it was a potential lead, the German prosecutor running the Madeleine case, Hans Christian Wolters, said: ‘Maybe, but I can’t comment on it.’ Brueckner has denied any involvement in her disappearance.
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that he could be released from jail as early as next month.
Germany’s Spiegel TV reported that during a six-day search of the site detectives found numerous items of children’s clothing, most of them ‘small swimsuits’ (pictured) in the motorhome
It is not clear when Brueckner bought the 30-year-old Tiffin Allegro but he was known to be driving a vehicle matching its description in 2007, when Madeleine, three, (pictured) vanished
People who knew him described a ‘large cream-coloured Winnebago campervan,’ which he allegedly bragged could hide ‘drugs and children’
Brueckner, now 43, was convicted of possessing the child porn but not charged in relation to Inga Gehricke – known as the ‘German Maddie’
Brueckner is serving time for drugs charges but has applied to be released early after completing two-thirds of his sentence.
Separately, he was found guilty of raping a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz – where Madeleine disappeared – in 2005 and jailed for seven years but has appealed against that sentence.
The case is now being considered by the European Court of Justice, which will make a decision by July 17. Other new pictures emerged showing Brueckner larking around including putting a bag on his head.
A friend also alleged he boasted about breaking into holiday apartments in Portugal wearing swimming goggles to disguise his identity.
Brueckner ran a small store selling drinks and snacks in Braunschweig between 2012 and 2014. He would shower youngsters with toys and teddy bears as they walked to a school barely 100 yards from the kiosk.
In 2013, police allegedly tipped Brueckner off about the investigation, giving him ample time to destroy evidence.
Germany’s federal criminal police contacted police in Braunschweig for more information about the suspect after receiving a confidential tip-off, Spiegal reported.
But while calling the suspect in, police specified in their letter that it had to do with the ‘Madeleine McCann missing persons case’ and ‘personal examination of Christian B’.
Brueckner told a friend – who gave his name only as Bjorn R – that he played no part in Madeleine’s disappearance after being handed a subpoena by police, The Sun reports.
Christian Brueckner is the latest man to be linked with Madeleine’s disappearance after a long history of offences
The friend spoke out as part of the Spiegel TV documentary. He said: ‘One day I came into the kiosk and he was a little bit distraught and said, “Hey, look what I’ve got here” — and he showed me a subpoena for the Madeleine McCann case.
‘You could see it churned him up a bit but he wasn’t panicking and he wasn’t saying “they are on my heels”.
‘I think he said he had been there but that he had nothing to do with it and that was that.’
13 YEARS OF HEARTACHE
May 3, 2007 – Madeleine McCann disappears from her apartment in Praia da Luz.
May 4 – Police do not set up effective searches or alert the Spanish border for 12 hours. A basic check of other guests is not done for 48 hours.
May 30 – The McCanns meet the Pope in Rome during a series of trips around Europe and beyond to highlight the search.
August – Sniffer dogs reportedly find blood traces in the McCanns’ apartment.
September 7 – The McCanns are made arguidos – official suspects. They were totally exonerated the following year.
2008 – Detective Goncalo Amaral falsely claims the McCanns hid Madeleine’s body.
2011 – The Met Police launches Operation Grange and identify almost 200 new lines of inquiry.
2013 – The Met identifies 38 people ‘of interest’. Portuguese detectives reopen the case.
2017 – A witness comes forward with the name of the German suspect, Christian Brueckner. The McCanns reveal they still buy gifts for Madeleine.
June 3, 2020 – Police sensationally reveal that they are investigating a German sex offender. Brueckner’s name emerges the following day.
June 8 – German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters says he has evidence Madeleine is dead – but won’t say what it is.
June 15 – Mr Wolters says he has written to the McCanns telling them he has evidence their daughter is dead. Once again, he gives no details.
Furious Kate and Gerry McCann hit back at German prosecutor’s claims and insist say they have received NO LETTER from them saying their daughter is dead
By Jack Elsom and Tracey Kandohla For Mailonline and Claire Duffin In Braunschweig and Arthur Martin In Praia Da Luz For The Daily Mail
Kate and Gerry McCann have rubbished claims from German prosecutors they have been sent a letter informing them Madeleine is dead.
Investigators insist they have sent a letter – but the McCanns say they have not received one.
In a furious rebuke, they said today: ‘The widely reported news that we have a received a letter from the German authorities that states there is evidence or proof that Madeleine is dead is FALSE.’
The full statement, posted to their appeal website, flatly contradicts remarks made yesterday by lead German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters.
He said: ‘We have concrete evidence that our suspect has killed Madeleine and this means she is dead.
‘The parents have been told the German police have evidence that she is dead but we have not told them the details.’
German prosecutors have written to Gerry and Kate McCann (pictured), the parents of missing child Madeleine (in photo), to say that she has died
And today, Mr Wolters again insisted they had sent a letter to the McCann’s saying in a statement: ‘We have written to the parents.
‘The Public Prosecutor’s Office has never commented on the content of the letter and will not do so.’
Kate and Gerry have never given up hope of finding Madeleine, the three-year-old who disappeared from Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.
New life was breathed into the 13-year-old case this month when German sex attacker Christian Brueckner was named by prosecutors as prime murder suspect.
Kate and Gerry have remained relatively quiet since the investigation gathered pace, but today took to their website to admonish German prosecutors.
It came after their spokesperson yesterday said the couple would not be commenting on private correspondence with their authorities.
The statement continued: ‘Like many unsubstantiated stories in the media, this has caused unnecessary anxiety to friends and family and once again disrupted our lives.
Kate and Gerry have remained relatively quiet since the investigation gathered pace, but today took to their website to admonish German prosecutors
Public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters gives a news conference in Braunschweig, Germany
‘As we have stated many times before, we will not give a running commentary on the investigation – that is the job of the law enforcement agencies and we will support them in any way requested.
‘Furthermore, we do not have a family spokesperson nor are we actively paying any lawyers.
‘Any recent comments attributed in the media have not come from us unless they have been posted on our website.
‘If there are important developments that can be made public, they will be issued through official police channels.’
It completely rejects comments made by Wolters, who said that Kate and Gerry had not responded to the letter.
He said: ‘We of course really consider the fact that it is going to be very hard for the family when we tell them that we assume Madeleine is dead.
‘But we can’t say why she is dead – it is more important that we are successful and we are able to get the culprit as opposed to just putting our cards on the table and telling them why we think she might be.
‘This is a murder case not a missing persons case. We have been quite clear throughout we are investigating a murder and we have the evidence for that.
‘We can understand the pain of the parents – and they want relief – but it is better for them that we have a clear and successful conclusion to the case.
‘To reveal too many details too early would hamper ongoing investigations.
‘In Germany we are very reserved, I am not sure how it is in the UK, we keep everything to ourselves until we press charges.’
Wolters added he is adamant that the contents of the letter will not be made public, alongside details of the investigation which have led authorities to be ‘99.9 per cent’ certain Madeleine is dead.
The prosecutor also confirmed there is ‘no forensic evidence’ the child is dead, but there is ‘concrete evidence’ she has not survived her 13-year disappearance.
‘Based on our investigation, 99.9 per cent of us believe she is dead,’ he told the Der Westen newspaper.
‘There is no forensic evidence. But there is concrete evidence that Maddie is dead. Our investigation has no doubts about this.
‘Of course it would be easier for us if we could share our findings instead of always having to say, ‘We have something, but can’t say what it is.”
‘At the same time, there is a danger that witnesses could mix memories and reporting.’
‘We as prosecutors therefore prefer to investigate in secret,’ Wolters added.
Investigators are said to need information from the public before they can convict Brueckner in the case.
Wolters could not comment on whether or not such information has yet been obtained for ‘investigative reasons.’
He said: ‘The more witnesses read something in the media, the harder it becomes for us to know whether it is something experience-based or if the information comes from somewhere else.
‘We must withhold information that we can use to verify possible testimony from witnesses.’
Rogerio Alves, a lawyer who represents the McCanns in Portugal, has been putting pressure on German investigators to reveal what evidence they have and demanded to know ‘what is being done to solve the case’.
He accused the three police forces involved in the probe of ‘keeping information for themselves’ and called on them to be more transparent toward the family.
Mr Alves is hoping Portuguese detectives will tell him what evidence they have to ‘support the reopening of the file here’.
He said: ‘I want to find out if there are new leads for them to chase. I want to know what is being done. I intend to get answers on these matters this week.
‘I don’t know how strong the new evidence is so I don’t know what the Portuguese prosecutor is going to do.’
According to Portuguese law, if the prosecutor has new information about a crime then the case should be reopened, he said.
Mr Alves described last week as a ‘lost week’ in the quest for justice for Madeleine’s parents.
He was deeply critical of the infighting between the Germans and the Portuguese and called on them to ‘stop the war of words’.
Kate and Gerry McCann have not responded to the letter, which did not contain any details of the information understood by the prosecutors
‘What I hope is that everybody helps to find the truth instead of hiding information, or keeping information for themselves,’ he said.
‘This is not a competition between the police departments. We all have to go forwards to find the truth.
‘Madeleine’s parents don’t want to know which police force thinks it is doing the best. They do not want a war of words.
‘It is no use – this is a waste of time. All the police should be doing is trying to solve the case. I want to see full cooperation between the police forces.’
Scotland Yard and German police have received more than 1,000 calls since sex offender Brueckner, 43, was identified as a suspect in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia da Luz in May 2007.
They believe the German drifter burgled holiday homes in the Algarve and on some occasions sexually assaulted women and girls inside the properties.
Public appeals for information have featured Brueckner’s former farmhouse and another property in which he stayed, as well as a VW campervan and Jaguar car he owned.
Detectives are also trying to find the person who phoned him an hour before Madeleine disappeared, shortly before her fourth birthday.
Police say that Brueckner received the call near the McCanns’ holiday apartment in the Ocean Club complex.
Mr Wolters played down the significance of the Jaguar despite Scotland Yard appealing for information about it.
He said the car was in Germany when Madeleine went missing and information about it was released only to jog memories. ‘The vehicles are not of direct interest for the Madeleine case,’ he said.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: ‘The McCanns simply will not comment on private correspondence, be that from the prosecutor, the police or indeed anyone else.
‘Nor will they be giving a running commentary on their liaisons with the German authorities as the investigation moves forward.’
Detectives from Operation Grange – the £12million Scotland Yard probe into Madeleine’s disappearance – insist it remains a missing person’s inquiry.