Prosecutors in Germany insist they do not need Madeline McCann’s body in order to prosecute the man they believe killed the youngster.
Braunschweig-based Hans Christian Wolters claims the authorities simply need to be ‘convinced’ she is dead to be able to put a suspect on trial.
The statement will lead to increased speculation that prosecutors are moving closer to charging the prime suspect in the youngster’s disappearance – Christian Brueckner.
The 43-year-old convicted paedophile and rapist is currently in jail in Germany. As yet no charges have been brought against him over the toddler’s disappearance.
Toddler Madeline McCann who disappeared while on a family holiday to the Algarve
Mr Wolters has already indicated recently that they had ‘material evidence’ that Madeline was dead.
He told investigative reporter Sandra Felgueiras, on RTP show Sexta as 9, last night: ‘To indict someone we don’t need a body.
‘A person can be convicted without a body being found but we have to be convinced a person is dead.’
He also appeared to hint that German authorities may have evidence placing paedophile Brueckner in the Praia da Luz holiday flat the British youngster vanished from on May 3, 2007.
Prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann disappearance – Christian Brueckner
When asked if he had any forensic evidence placing Brueckner inside the flat where Madeline was sleeping, Mr Wolters replied: ‘I have an answer but we have decided not to divulge this information.
‘I can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as that would bring a thousand other questions and I cannot go into details.
‘But you have to believe me when I say we have more evidence.
‘Here in Germany our Public Ministry only divulges things when they are solid.’
Mr Wolters added, however, that prosecutors were no nearer to identifying the person who made a half hour phone call to Brueckner on his mobile while he was near the Ocean Club complex shortly after Madeline disappeared.
The call came from a Portuguese mobile which detectives have been unable to trace, despite a large police appeal.
Mr Wolters said: ‘We have the number that called him but we haven’t managed to attribute that number to anyone at the moment.
‘We don’t know what the conversation was about and we don’t know the relationship between the people who spoke.
‘We are searching for a witness to establish the content of the conversation which lasted nearly half an hour and so was quite a long conversation.
‘We hope someone remembers that conversation. We don’t have any reason to believe that person could be involved in what happened that night to Madeleine.’
He added that there was no smoking gun evidence to link Brueckner to the crime but insisted that there was many pieces of the Madeline puzzle pointing towards the suspect.
The solicitor also said that prosecutors are sure that the British youngster is dead despite British police treating the case as a missing person inquiry.
He said: ‘Everything we have points to her being dead. We have no margin of manoeuvre.’
Mr Wolters also stressed that German police do not believe the chief Madeline McCann suspect had an accomplice and described his ex-girlfriend Nicole Fehlinger as a witness.
Madeline McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann appeal for help finding their daughter
Portuguese police search for the missing toddler shortly after her disappearance
Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher has insisted his client, currently serving a 21-month drug sentence in prison in the German city of Kiel, has nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.
Brueckner is also being probed in Germany over a 2004 Algarve rape and a sex attack on a beach near Praia da Luz a month before Madeleine vanished.
In Portugal prosecutors have reopened their investigation into a sex crime in a playground he was arrested over in 2017.
He was held on suspicion of exposing himself to young children at a playground in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines a 40-minute drive from Praia de Luz.
Police discovered after his detention that he was wanted in Germany on an international arrest warrant for child sex abuse and possession of child pornography.
He was extradited to his homeland and was never prosecuted in Portugal following his Algarve arrest.
The criminal probe was mothballed despite protests from the youngsters’ angry parents but reopened earlier this month.
On Thursday Brueckner was told he would remain in jail after losing a legal challenge against an earlier extradition from Italy to Germany which he insisted should lead to him being freed early.
The ruling means he will now stay in jail until 2024 at least.