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Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner was released from prison months before girl vanished

The paedophile suspected of abducting Madeleine McCann had only been released from a Portuguese prison just months before her disappearance from a family villa.

Christian Brueckner served nine months in jail for robbing a petrol station in 2006 and was released in December – just five months before Madeleine went missing.

Soon after his release the three-year-old girl disappeared and has since been the focus of a worldwide hunt with the 43-year-old German now the prime suspect in her disappearance.

Brueckner was imprisoned after leaving a petrol station in the coastal resort of Portimão, just over 20 miles from Praia da Luz, the resort where Madeleine disappeared. 

It also emerged that the Brueckner had previously been jailed in 1999 after carrying out a string of thefts from villa’s and apartments in and around Praia da Luz.

Madeleine vanished from the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family

Paedophile Christian Brueckner (left), who is suspected of abducting Madeleine McCann (right), had only been released from a Portuguese prison just months before her disappearance from a family villa in 2007

He was known to supplement his income from drug dealing and working in restaurants by stealing from homes.

In 2005 he broke into a luxury beach-front villa where he raped a 72-year-old American woman. 

It was thought he had initially entered the property to steal valuables rather than carry out a sex attack.

Police sources said Brueckner’s name was well known to them from his previous crime with his fingerprints and other details on their files.

This led to his name being included among the hundreds of suspects identified as part of the Portuguese police investigation and later passed to Scotland Yard who launched their own inquiry into the disappearance of the three year old.

Brueckner, who is serving a seven year sentence in northern Germany for the 2005 rape, was first jailed in 1999 three years after settling in Portugal.

Christian Brueckner’s troubled Bavarian youth 

Brueckner was 17 when he molested a six-year-old girl in a public playground in his home town of Wuerzburg, Bavaria.

He only stopped groping the terrified schoolgirl when she began to scream and cry and he then ran away, a youth court was told.

Later, the then-teenage Brueckner ‘dropped his trousers’ at a nine-year-old before fleeing the scene, according to German newspaper Bild.

Brueckner, who had quit secondary school to train as a car mechanic, was arrested later for the vile acts in 1994.

At his trial at Wuerzburg District Court, he was asked by the juvenile judge what he thought about his actions and he replied: ‘I didn’t think anything,’ according to the newspaper.

He spent two months in jail in the city of Evora in central Portugal.

After being released he stayed out of trouble and relocated to the Algarve, moving into a remote villa in the hillsides above Praia da Luz.

But in 2006 he was convicted of driving away from a petrol station in the coastal resort of Portimão and jailed for nine months.

He was released in December of that year – a few months before Madeleine went missing on May 3rd, 2007.

As he was known to police his name was one of 600 that became suspects in the hunt for the missing toddler.

It is not known if Portugese police contacted their German counterparts to find out if he had any other convictions.

Had they done so they would have discovered a string of sex offences starting from when he was a teenager.

Portuguese Police have insisted that they passed all the relevant details on Brueckner to Scotland Yard in around 2012.

Carlos Fariniha from the Portuguese Judiciary Police (JP) said British police, who launched Operation Grange to locate the missing girl, showed no interest in the name of Brueckner and did not ask for any further details.

He said it wasn’t until 2017 when German police provided information on Brueckner that they became interested and have since launched a new appeal for witnesses to come forward.

The new details come after it emerged that the family of a six-year-old boy who went missing in the Algarve 24 years ago revealed they have been contacted by German police.

René Hasse’s father Andreas Hasee told his local newspaper that an investigator from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) phoned him yesterday, for the first time in 20 years and said they were re-investigating the case.

The six-year-old from Elsdorf, Germany, was on holiday with his family in Aljezur – just 25 miles from Praia da Luz, in the Algarve – when he vanished on June 21, 1996.  

Brueckner moved from Germany to Praia da Luz in 1995 at the age of 18. 

He was already convicted of sex offences against children and would have been 19 at the time René disappeared.

The new details come after it emerged that the family of a six-year-old René Hasse, who went missing in the Algarve 24 years ago revealed they have been contacted by German police

The new details come after it emerged that the family of a six-year-old René Hasse, who went missing in the Algarve 24 years ago revealed they have been contacted by German police 

The schoolboy went missing after running towards the sea and his family and the authorities had previously accepted René drowned in a tragic accident. 

He had been running ahead of his mother and step-father during a walk on the beach. After losing sight of him, they never saw him again, with just his clothes left lying on the beach.

Andreas Hasee, René’s father, revealed an investigator from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) contacted him today – the first time he had heard from police in 20 years. He told German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: ‘There could be a connection.’  

Prosecutors also re-opened the investigation into whether Brueckner abducted five-year-old Inga Gehricke after she was grabbed from Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof in Saxony-Anhalt during a family outing five years ago

Prosecutors also re-opened the investigation into whether Brueckner abducted five-year-old Inga Gehricke after she was grabbed from Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof in Saxony-Anhalt during a family outing five years ago 

Her disappearance on May 2, 2015 - almost eight years to the day after Madeleine vanished in Portugal on May 3, 2007 - was only 48 miles away from where Brueckner lived on the five-acre site of a box factory in the isolated of village of Neuwegersleben, south-east of Hanover

Her disappearance on May 2, 2015 – almost eight years to the day after Madeleine vanished in Portugal on May 3, 2007 – was only 48 miles away from where Brueckner lived on the five-acre site of a box factory in the isolated of village of Neuwegersleben, south-east of Hanover 

More than 100 police officers descended on the site (pictured), digging holes looking for missing Inga

More than 100 police officers descended on the site (pictured), digging holes looking for missing Inga

Prosecutors also re-opened the investigation into whether Brueckner abducted five-year-old Inga Gehricke after she was grabbed from Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof in Saxony-Anhalt during a family outing five years ago.  

Christian Brueckner’s troubled Bavarian youth 

Brueckner was 17 when he molested a six-year-old girl in a public playground in his home town of Wuerzburg, Bavaria.

He only stopped groping the terrified schoolgirl when she began to scream and cry and he then ran away, a youth court was told.

Later, the then-teenage Brueckner ‘dropped his trousers’ at a nine-year-old before fleeing the scene, according to German newspaper Bild.

Brueckner, who had quit secondary school to train as a car mechanic, was arrested later for the vile acts in 1994.

At his trial at Wuerzburg District Court, he was asked by the juvenile judge what he thought about his actions and he replied: ‘I didn’t think anything,’ according to the newspaper. 

Her disappearance on May 2, 2015 – almost eight years to the day after Madeleine vanished in Portugal on May 3, 2007 – was only 48 miles away from where Brueckner lived on the five-acre site of a box factory in the isolated of village of Neuwegersleben, south-east of Hanover.

One day before Inga went missing, Brueckner’s vehicle was in a minor crash at a service station close to where she wandered away.

More than 100 officers descended on the old box factory in February 2016, digging holes looking for Inga’s body. 

The little girl wasn’t found but Brueckner’s USB stash of child sex abuse images was found on a USB stick hidden under ‘animal bones’ with police now set to return, according to German tabloid Bild.

Brueckner was prosecuted over the child porn but he was never charged with Inga’s disappearance when the probe was dropped after four weeks. 

He refused to comment about the disappearance recently when questioned in prison by German police. A Met Police detective from the Operation Grange team is also thought to have been present at the time.

But on Friday prosecutors confirmed they have reopened a preliminary investigation into whether he was involved in the unsolved Inga case. 

Stendal Public Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Birte Iliev said: ‘It is now being examined whether there is any new evidence in connection with the murder suspect in Braunschweig.’

Petra Küllmei said: ‘Just a day before Inga disappeared near Stendal, Christian B. was seen nearby on the A2. The file was closed again only four weeks after starting work. I think that’s not very ambitious.’

Friend who agreed to ‘own’ Christian Brueckner’s Jaguar a day after Maddie vanished tells how the ‘nervous’ paedophile slept in his attic after fleeing Portugal 

This is the dingy attic bolthole where ‘nervous’ Madeleine suspect Christian Brueckner slept after leaving Portugal ‘to start a new life’. 

Brueckner told landlord Alexander Bischof he was ‘between jobs and had no money’ and missed his English girlfriend. 

Mr Bischof also said he agreed to take on the registration of Brueckner’s Jaguar, which is at the centre of the police inquiry, as a ‘favour’. 

Brueckner arrived at his house in Braunschweig, near Hanover, shortly after the three-year-old vanished. 

Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner.

Attic where Maddie suspect fled after her disappearance and landlord Alexander Bischof

Retired Mr Bischof (right) was asked to help him by a mutual acquaintance – and Christian Brueckner (left) lived in his attic for two or three weeks at a time.

Retired Mr Bischof was asked to help him by a mutual acquaintance – and Brueckner lived in his attic for two or three weeks at a time. 

Last night Mr Bischof, 64, told the Daily Mail: ‘He was always anxious, never relaxed. His eyes would always dart around the room when you were trying to have a conversation.’ 

But he was shocked when police later came to ask him about Madeleine. Former telecoms engineer Mr Bischof said: ‘He was always a little nervous. He just couldn’t hold down a job and I tried to encourage him to do so. 

‘He said he grew up in an orphanage and never ever mentioned any family. 

‘He never really stayed in one place. He only talked about his girlfriend Maria – I think she was English and was working in Portugal. 

He said he missed her all the time.’ Showing his attic to Mail reporter Inderdeep Bains, Mr Bischof said he did not know Brueckner until they were introduced by a common acquaintance, who said Brueckner had been living in Portugal for some time but had decided to start afresh in Germany. 

‘Mr Bischof added that they shared a ‘passion for Jaguar vehicles’. 

He said he had agreed to take on the registration of Brueckner’s Jaguar XJR6. The car was registered to another driver the day after Maddie vanished. 

handout photo issued by Metropolitan Police of a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 that has been linked to Maddie suspect Christian Brueckner

handout photo issued by Metropolitan Police of a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 that has been linked to Maddie suspect Christian Brueckner

Mr Bischof revealed he asked Brueckner to leave his home after realising he was mixed up with drugs. 

‘He was using my living space and is then dealing drugs. That’s a no-go, I thought,’ he said. 

Some time after Brueckner left, he said police came to search his attic, mentioning ‘Maddie’ and a ‘murder’.

He added: ‘I was baffled. ‘I was stunned, it was unbelievable. I would never have thought that of him. 

‘He never spoke a word about such things. We never talked about young children, our talks were always dealing with cars, football and Portugal. Men’s stuff.’ 

He said the detectives were ‘fixated’ on the Jaguar, which Brueckner had hitched up to his camper van and driven to north Germany. Mr Bischof also told the Mail that Brueckner returned from Portugal ‘with expensive things’. 

He said: ‘He had a very expensive camera and also a laptop. He even came back with a Rolex once and even a Breitling watch. 

‘He was trying to sell them, but I started to realise that he was stealing while working in his jobs in the hotels there. 

‘I was uncomfortable and tried to encourage him on the right path.’ 

Mr Bischof said he soon realised Brueckner was using his roof to dry out marijuana that he was selling, saying: ‘He was proud he had dreamed up a way to dry it in the roof because of the heat. He was selling it and making money. 

‘I thought something is not right with this man. It was not good for me or my mother and wife who lived here too. 

‘My wife never liked him. When he entered the room, she would leave.’ 

Eventually they fell out and went their separate ways. Mr Bischof said he wrote him a letter a few weeks later. 

‘I tried one more time to get him on the right path,’ he said. 

‘I said it was only a matter of time before he would end up in the jailhouse and that he needed to sort out his ways. I never heard from him again.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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