McCanns ‘left in the dark’ over any plans to charge Maddie suspect

Madeleine McCann vigil in Rothley, 15 years after going missing

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Kate and Gerry McCann have not heard of any plans to charge German investigators’ prime suspect in the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine, a relative has said. Prosecutors in Braunschweig announced last month they were bringing fresh charges against Christian Brueckner over historic allegations unrelated to the British girl’s vanishing.

The convicted rapist and child sexual abuser was identified as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance by Germany investigators in June 2020.

Brueckner has always denied all allegations in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

On April 21 this year, Portuguese prosecutors named him as an “arguido”, or named suspect, in their investigation into the disappearance, ahead of the 15th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Hans Christian Wolters, spokesperson for the German prosecutors’ office, told at the time the move was to avoid the statute of limitations on charging people for such crimes in Portugal, but that it “shows everyone that we are not on the wrong way”.

When the new charges were brought against Brueckner, Mr Wolters clarified that the investigation “continues”, but that it was unlikely he would be charged with any alleged crime in relation to her disappearance before Christmas this year.

Mr Wolters described claims that charges would be brought in relation to Madeleine this year as “misinformation”, adding: “There will definitely be no charge this year. Whether there will be a charge at all, and if so when, is completely open.”

Brian Kennedy, Madeleine’s great uncle through her mother, said the couple had not been updated on the progress of the German investigation.

He told the Sun: “The family has heard no more about [Brueckner] and have not heard anything about plans to charge him with Madeleine’s abduction in addition to the other charges he is facing.”

The retired teacher added: “It seems he is certainly being prosecuted for several other things but has never admitted involvement with Madeleine, so we wait to see.”

In October, Brueckner was charged with the alleged rape of an elderly woman in her seventies in her holiday apartment in Portugal, and the alleged rape of a 20-year-old Irish woman in Praia da Rocha in 2004 – alleged crimes prosecutors had previously linked Brueckner to.

The convicted sex offender – who now resides in Oldenburg prison – is also alleged to have orally raped a teenage girl in her home in Praia da Luz after tying her up and whipping her on an unknown date between 2000 and 2006. He is claimed to have filmed the incidents.

He allegedly exposed himself to a 10-year-old German girl in Faro in 2007 and to a 11-year old Portuguese girl in Bartolomeu de Messines in 2017.

Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz, a coastal town in the Algarve, after being left asleep with her siblings in the family’s ground-floor apartment of the Ocean Club, on May 3, 2007.

Her parents checked in on the children throughout the evening, until Kate discovered Maddie was gone at around 10pm.

Maddie’s disappearance sparked a Europe-wide missing persons investigation that now has three different police forces trying to bring the McCanns closure.

At the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, Brueckner is believed to have been living a vagrant life on the Portuguese south coast, using a camper van to get around.

He reportedly did odd jobs around the resort before her disappearance, and is believed to have been involved in drug dealing and burglaries in the area.

When a Channel 5 documentary questioned German prosecutors’ belief that Brueckner is responsible for her murder earlier this year, Mr Wolters admitted that they did not have any forensic evidence linking him to her going missing, but stated they were in possession of other evidence they had not made public.

He told at the time he was “100 percent certain” that they have the right man.

In a statement to mark the 15th anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry said this year “feels no harder than any other but no easier either”.

They noted that it had been “a very long time” since their daughter went missing, but added that “knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential”.

Echoing their remarks, Mr Kennedy said: “There is no way the family will ever give up, whatever the outcome may be. We have not lost hope after all these years.”

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