Madeleine McCann suspect ‘told pal he’d snatched her as they watched news report in pub’
The paedophile suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation allegedly told a friend he’d ‘snatched her’ as they watched a TV news report in a pub.
The suspect is a 43-year-old German national named in media reports as Christian Brueckner and is reportedly serving a seven-year prison sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in 2005.
Brueckner has also been convicted for sex offences against girls.
He and a pal were in a German bar watching a TV report on the case in 2017 when he allegedly said he knew what had happened to Madeleine, the Sun reports.
The alleged confession to her abduction came on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance.
Brueckner is also alleged to have shown to a witness video footage of him raping a woman.
Reports say this led to his conviction and being jailed in December last year for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2005.
The claims come as police received hundreds of contacts from the public following the launch of a new appeal for information on Madeleine’s disappearance.
DCI Mark Cranwell, who is leading the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Grange investigation into the case, said more than 270 calls and emails had been received by 4pm on Thursday.
It followed British, German and Portuguese authorities launching an appeal for information on Wednesday night relating to the suspect.
German prosecutors have said they believe Madeleine is dead and are investigating the child sex predator on suspicion of her murder.
The suspect known to have lived on the Algarve coast and his Portuguese mobile phone received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Madeleine, three, went missing on May 3 2007.
Scotland Yard said he was believed to have been living in a distinctive early 1980s VW T3 Westfalia camper van at the time and re-registered a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 in someone else’s name the day after her disappearance.
Operation Grange still considers the case a missing person inquiry because there is no “definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead”.
German newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung have reported the suspect, who has been partially identified as Christian B by local media due to the country’s strict rules on the naming of criminals, was convicted of rape in Braunschweig District Court in December last year.
Der Spiegel reported he is serving a prison sentence in Kiel, having been initially extradited from Portugal in 2017 and convicted of drug trafficking.
The German magazine said his criminal record contains a total of 17 entries, including child abuse while he was still a teenager.
Christian Hoppe, from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), has said that German police have not ruled out a sexual motive for the alleged crime against Madeleine.
He said that the suspect may have broken into an apartment in the Ocean Club complex, where Madeleine was on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie, before spontaneously kidnapping her.
German prosecutors said the suspect was living in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, where he funded his lifestyle by committing crimes.
A £20,000 reward is available for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance.
The Met’s investigation was tipped off about the German national, already known to detectives, following a 2017 appeal 10 years after she went missing.
Madeleine disappeared shortly before her fourth birthday, while her parents were eating dinner with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.
Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, in Leicestershire, have welcomed the appeal, saying: “We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive.”