Prosecutors are ‘100 per cent sure’ convicted paedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner ‘murdered Madeleine McCann.’
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said investigators were ‘confident’ they had the right man and had sufficient evidence to charge over the 2007 disappearance.
Brueckner is currently being held in a high security prison in Oldenburg, near Bremen in northern Germany, where he is serving time for separate offences.
Investigators are hoping to bring charges against the 44-year-old next year after taking time to gather as much evidence as possible before the case goes to court.
Madeleine McCann disappeared aged three from a holiday apartment in Portugal while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann; her two-year-old twin siblings; and a group of family friends and their children.
Investigators are ‘100 per cent sure’ Christian Brueckner (right), abducted and murdered Madeleine McCann(left)
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said investigators were ‘confident’ they had the right man
‘We’re confident we have the man who took and killed her,’ Wolters told the Mirror.
‘It is now possible that we could charge. We have that evidence now. But it’s not just about charging him – we want to charge him with the best body of evidence possible.
‘When we still have questions, it would be nonsense to charge rather than wait for the answers that could strengthen our position.’
Wolters said the investigation would continue ‘as long as there are leads or information for us to pursue.’
He said evidence includes phone analysis placing him at the Ocean Club when Madeleine went missing and an alleged confession Brueckner made to a friend.
‘It is circumstantial evidence – we have no scientific evidence,’ Wolters said.
‘If we had a video of the act or a picture of Madeleine dead with Brueckner on camera, we wouldn’t have had to make a public appeal. But we only have circumstantial evidence.’
But he admitted prosecutors have no proof Madeleine is dead, any idea how she died and no evidence linking Brueckner to her alleged murder.
‘We have no body and no DNA but we have other evidence. Based on the evidence we have, it leads to no other conclusion.
‘I can’t tell you on which basis we assume she is dead. But for us, there’s no other possibility. There is no hope she is alive,’ he said.
Three-year-old Madeleine, known as Maddie, vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. Pictured: Praia da Luz beach [File photo]
Brueckner is being investigated over five other attacks:
Convicted paedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner, 44, is being investigated over five other attacks.
They include a 2007 sex attack on a 10-year-old girl that happened just six miles from Praia da Luz where Madeleine had disappeared one month earlier;
The 1996 killing of 16-year-old Carola Titze in De Haan, Belgium;
The rape case of 20-year-old Irish woman Hazel Behan in Praia de Rocha, Portugal, in 2004;
The disappearance of five-year-old Inga Gehricke – dubbed the ‘German Maddie’ – in 2015;
And a 2017 incident at a children’s playground in Messines, 40 miles from Praia de Luz, where a man was accused of carrying out a sex act in front of minors.
Authorities last year told Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann they had evidence their daughter was no longer alive, without providing details.
Wolters asked for ‘patience’ with the investigation and said ‘we have time on our hands’ because Brueckner is in prison.
The 44-year-old became a suspect in the high profile missing persons case in 2017.
He is understood to have been living in a camper van close to Praia da Luz, where Madeleine and her family were staying when she disappeared.
Brueckner is also being investigated over several other attacks, including on a 10-year-old girl, as well as the murder of a teenager in Belgium, it emerged earlier this month.
Brueckner has reportedly bragged police do not have a ‘shred of evidence’ linking him to the other cases and described the investigation as police ‘clutching at straws for new leads’ to convict him.
A source told Sun Online that Brueckner ‘is aware of the remarks and of the new allegations in this book. But he has been bragging how the police don’t have a shred of evidence.
‘He says the new book about him is no better than a comic and that the decision by cops to contribute to it just proves how much they are clutching at straws for new leads.
‘His legal team have repeatedly asked for the evidence which police say they have and they have repeatedly refused to hand it over. This, he believes, says it all.’
The source also claimed Brueckner ‘remains insistent he has nothing to do with Maddie’s disappearance and believes police are simply courting publicity by continually linking him to the case’.
The McCanns say that they repeatedly went to check on the kids over the course of the evening at the Ocean Club Hotel, but when Kate checked in at 10pm, she discovered Madeleine had disappeared
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann, known as Maddie, disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
She was on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann; her two-year-old twin siblings; and a group of family friends and their children.
She and the twins had been left asleep at the apartment, while the McCanns and friends dined in a restaurant 55 metres (180 ft) away.
The parents checked on the children throughout the evening, until Kate discovered she was missing at 10pm.
What followed is widely regarded as one of the most reported on missing person investigations in the world.
Portuguese authorities closed their enquiries in July 2008 but Maddie’s parents continued with private detectives.
Scotland Yard launched their own investigation – Operation Grange – in 2011 and enquiries are ongoing.