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Portuguese police unwittingly destroyed Christian Brueckner’s van before it could be searched

Bungling Portuguese police unwittingly destroyed Christian Brueckner’s van before it could be searched for evidence

  • German used Bedford van to steal diesel before Madeline McCann abduction 
  • Was impounded by Portuguese police and crushed before it could be searched
  • Brueckner lived and slept in the van near Praia da Luz between in 2006
  • Madeleine went missing from the coastal resort in May 2007 

Vital clues to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann may have been unwittingly destroyed by Portuguese police, it has emerged.

A blue Bedford van that prime suspect Christian Brueckner owned at the time she went missing was impounded for the non-payment of a fine for stealing fuel and later crushed before it could be searched for evidence.

German drifter Brueckner used to live and sleep in the van on the beach near Praia da Luz between February and April 2006 while he was unemployed and homeless.

Vital clues to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann may have been unwittingly destroyed by Portuguese police

Vital clues to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (right) may have been unwittingly destroyed by Portuguese police, it has emerged. German drifter Christian Brueckner (left) owned a Bedford van which was crushed before it could be examined for evidence

The Bedford van, which Brueckner owned at the time Madeleine went missing, was impounded for the non-payment of a fine for stealing fuel and later crushed before it could be searched for evidence. Pictured: The VW van owned by Brueckner when he lived in Portugal

The Bedford van, which Brueckner owned at the time Madeleine went missing, was impounded for the non-payment of a fine for stealing fuel and later crushed before it could be searched for evidence. Pictured: The VW van owned by Brueckner when he lived in Portugal

Crucially he still owned the van in May 2007 when Madeleine disappeared in the coastal resort, according to the respected Portuguese newspaper Expresso.

It reported: ‘Madeleine Case: A van the German suspect owned when she disappeared was dismantled in 2009.

‘Christian Brueckner used to sleep in an old Bedford van when he was stealing fuel in Algarve.

‘He still had that van in May 2007 the date of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.’

Brueckner, who was 30 at the time, bought the van with an Austrian friend Michael Tatschl in 2006.

The pair worked together stealing diesel from trucks which they later sold.

German drifter Brueckner used to live and sleep in the van on the beach near Praia da Luz between February and April 2006 while he was unemployed and homeless. The Bedford van sat idle in the police car pound in Portimao before it was finally destroyed in May 2009

German drifter Brueckner used to live and sleep in the van on the beach near Praia da Luz between February and April 2006 while he was unemployed and homeless. The Bedford van sat idle in the police car pound in Portimao before it was finally destroyed in May 2009

But Brueckner and Tatschl were caught red handed in April 2006 after they had already stolen 300 litres of fuel and were jailed for seven months.

They were released in December 2006 but were ordered to pay compensation for the stolen fuel in the form of a fine.

But Brueckner never paid the fine and when police tried to enforce payment in November 2007 he had disappeared from the address in Barrocal that he had given the court.

It is at that point that the Bedford van is believed to have been impounded by the police in lieu of the unpaid fine.

But the vehicle was in such a bad state of repair that the authorities could not sell it at auction to recoup the cost of the fine.

Public appeals for information have featured Brueckner's former farmhouse and another property in which he stayed, as well as a VW campervan (pictured) and Jaguar car he owned

Public appeals for information have featured Brueckner’s former farmhouse and another property in which he stayed, as well as a VW campervan (pictured) and Jaguar car he owned 

The Bedford van sat idle in the police car pound in Portimao before it was finally destroyed in May 2009.

Now it will never be known if the van had any clues to the Madeleine McCann case, Expresso reported. 

Brueckner also boasted how he could hide and transport children in a camper van just months before Madeleine disappeared.

The German drifter allegedly made the comment to the father of a female friend who lived in a village 40 miles from Praia da Luz.

Showing off his van Brueckner bragged: ‘I can transport children in this.

‘Nobody can find them, nobody can catch you.’

Bruecker was already known to have owned one camper van – and a Jaguar car – while he was in Portugal.

Later it was revealed that Bruecker bought another van, a Tiffin Alegro, and that German detectives found young girls' clothes in it, according to Germany's Spiegel TV.

Later it was revealed that Bruecker bought another van, a Tiffin Alegro, and that German detectives found young girls’ clothes in it, according to Germany’s Spiegel TV. 

German authorities released pictures of the VW Westfalia T3camper van and a dark coloured Jaguar urging anyone who had seen the vehicles in the Algarve to come forward to help solve the Madeleine McCann case.

Later it was revealed that Bruecker bought another van, a Tiffin Alegro, and that German detectives found young girls’ clothes in it, according to Germany’s Spiegel TV.

Some 8,000 pornographic pictures including images of child abuse were found nearby, Spiegel TV reported.  



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk