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Prime Madeleine McCann suspect charged with separate sex offences

German prosecutors said the 45-year-old suspect is accused of committing the offences in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

11 October 2022

The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been charged with rape and child sexual abuse.

Convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner is accused of five offences between 2000 and 2017 in Portugal, the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig said, with the charges unrelated to the McCann case.

Investigators believe the 45-year-old killed Madeleine, then three, after abducting her from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 2007.

Madeleine McCann anniversary
Apartment 5A in Praia Da Luz in Portugal, where Madeline McCann went missing (PA)

Brueckner, who has reportedly denied any involvement in her disappearance, was identified as a murder suspect in the McCann case by Portuguese officials in June 2020.

On Tuesday, prosecutors said they have charged him with three counts of rape and two counts of child sexual abuse.

He is accused of raping a woman in her 70s in a holiday apartment in Portugal on an unknown date between 2000 and 2006.

Prosecutors also say Brueckner raped a 20-year-old Irish woman in Praia da Rocha in 2004.

He is also accused of orally raping 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 abused.

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

The investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance is continuing irrespective of the charges brought, prosecutors said.

Brueckner is serving a seven-year sentence for rape in Portugal in 2005.

Missing Madeleine McCann
The McCann family previously said it is “essential” to learn the truth of what happened to their daughter (PA)

Earlier this year, on the 15th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, her parents said it is “essential” to learn the truth of what happened to their daughter.

On the same day, the Metropolitan Police, which continues to treat the case as a missing persons inquiry, said it is “committed” to finding the truth.

In July 2013, Scotland Yard launched its own investigation, Operation Grange, into Madeleine’s disappearance.

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