Maddie suspect charged with multiple sex crimes in Portugal at time she vanished

Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has been charged with five more serious sex offences.

Brueckner allegedly committed the offences in Portugal between 2000 and 2017, German prosecutors said.

But the main suspect in the Maddie case has crucially not been charged with the disappearance of the toddler.

Investigators today charged Brueckner with the rapes of two unknown women in Portugal, the rape of Irish tour guide Hazel Behan in 2004, sexual abuse in April 2007 and a further sexual abuse case in 2017.

The offences are said to have taken place over a period between December 2000 and June 2017 when Brueckner was travelling between his native Germany and Portugal.

The Braunschweig prosecutor’s office said in a statement: ‘The accused is the same person against whom charges were brought in connection with the disappearance of the then 3-year-old British girl Madeleine Beth McCann.

‘Specifically, the accused is charged with three offences of aggravated rape and two offences of sexual abuse of children.’

The office did not say the charges related to the McCann case.

Convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner was declared a suspect in the case by Portuguese officials last month as a 15-year legal deadline approached, and he has been under investigation by German officials for two years.

In May, German police claim to have found new evidence of missing Madeleine McCann inside a van belonging to Brueckner.

As Madeleine’s parents held a vigil to mark the 15th anniversary of the day she went missing, lead investigator Hans-Christian Wolters revealed evidence had been uncovered potentially linking the convicted rapist to the three-year-old’s disappearance.

The parents have said they are still hopeful efforts by police in three countries to solve their daughter’s disappearance will eventually yield some answers.

Prosecutor Mr Wolters has previously said he believes Madeleine is dead.

Brueckner is a German citizen and the law of that country states evidence cannot be released until a suspect and his legal team have been given full details.

He is currently in Oldenburg jail serving seven years for the rape of an elderly American woman in her home in Praia da Luz in 2005.

He was convicted after DNA found on a hair in her bed was matched to him but he and his lawyer Friedrich Fulscher have denied his involvement and insisted he was convicted after a bungled investigation.

He had reportedly been using a yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan in and around Praia da Luz – the Algarve resort where the McCanns were holidaying – at the time Madeleine vanished days before her fourth birthday.

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