Madeleine McCann: Hidden cellar in demolished building reveals where rapist Christian Brückner 'lived off-grid'
A 73-year-old man whose plot is next to Brückner’s former allotment said the convicted rapist lived off-grid at the location in 2007, months after McCann went missing
German police have found a hidden basement at an allotment in Hanover where Christian Brückner - the prime suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann - once lived. According to reports, investigators found the cellar in the foundations of a building which neighbors said was demolished in late 2007 or 2008, months after McCann went missing in May 2007.
The search operation was started on Tuesday, July 28, after reports claimed that it was a joint effort between the prosecutor's office and the Federal Criminal Police Office. After the reported discovery, investigators have been removing slabs of building materials. They have also been reportedly accompanied by specialist search dogs in the investigation.
A 73-year-old man, Wolfgang Kossack, whose plot is next to Brückner’s former allotment said the convicted rapist lived off-grid at the location in 2007. “I remembered his face from the pictures in the news. And I remember his van and his dogs. I had completely forgotten about him up until then,” he added.
The 43-year-old Brücker is currently serving a jail sentence in Germany for drug offenses and the rape of an American woman in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2005. Earlier, this year, he was named the prime suspect in the disappearance of then three-year-old McCann, who went missing 13 years ago from an apartment while she was vacationing with her family in the town of Praia da Luz, in Portugal’s Algarve region. The accused was believed to have lived at the plot in 2007.
Local media reports have stated that the investigation at the plot will likely end tonight, but it’s not clear what exactly they are searching for, or whether they have found it. Kossack told MailOnline: “Christian Brueckner had the garden next to mine. He arrived in 2007 and left within a year. He told me that he was living off the grid, that he had not registered with the authorities – no one knew he was there. He never did any gardening. He did not plant anything or try to grow anything. He just sat around drinking beer.
“At the time there was a building on the garden. It was a small wooden structure with only one room to keep tools and other things but it had a kitchen. The building was not really a house, you might call it a shed. But it had a cellar and underneath there would be foundations. This building was destroyed in 2008.”
It has also been said that the allotment originally belonged to someone else before it was passed onto Brücker. Speaking of the suspect, Kossack said he last saw him in 2008. “Sometimes a young woman would be there with him. She seemed to be his girlfriend. He had two dogs – a big one and a small one – who were quite annoying. They would come into my garden to do their business. I remember he called the small dog, Frau Muller [a German nickname for a housewife],” the old man said.
Kossack also mentioned that Brücker used to talk about his time outside Germany. “Brueckner said he preferred southern Europe because he liked the warm weather and said he would go back there. He did not say which country. He had a VW Transporter van and parked it next to the allotment and lived in the vehicle. The van was registered in Hannover but Brueckner had not paid the tax on the vehicle,” the neighbor said, adding: “I asked Bruecker what he did for a job. He said he was a car mechanic. I asked him why he didn't repair his own van because it was always leaking diesel onto the ground. He said he would get around to it sometime. I feel so sorry for the parents of Madeleine McCann. I hope they can find out what happened to their daughter.”