Will Christian Brueckner get acquitted? Madeleine McCann prosecutor fears 'case is dead forever' if he botches it
Prosecutors overseeing Madeleine McCann's have reportedly admitted that they are afraid that their prime suspect in her murder, Christian Brueckner, will walk free if the case is not handled properly. Brueckner, a 43-year-old pedophile from Germany, was named by authorities in June as the prime suspect in Madeleine's missing case. The three-year-old mysteriously disappeared from her parents' vacation apartment at The Ocean Club Resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal on the night of May 3, 2007.
Brueckner is currently in a German prison after he was convicted of raping a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, two years before Madeleine vanished from the same resort. Prosecutors, in June this year, had said that "concrete evidence" that Madeleine was dead and that Brueckner was behind it. However, they have brought no charges against him over the disappearance of the toddler because of Germany's double-jeopardy laws.
The chief prosecutor in the case, in a statement to the Mirror, said: "If we file charges and he is acquitted, then the case is dead forever. In Germany, once you have been acquitted, you cannot be charged again, at least only in very exceptional cases. If we now are hasty and he was acquitted because the court said ‘Ah, we still have a few doubts’ then we would not be able to get him later. Therefore we want to collect as much evidence as possible."
The 43-year-old is scheduled to be moved to a maximum-security prison before his questioning in the New Year after judges rejected his appeal on a rape conviction earlier this month. Judges in Germany dismissed Brueckner's appeal and confirmed his seven-year sentence. The news was welcomed by the investigators probing Madeleine's case as one of them said: "t's great news. It means he won't be going anywhere for a very long time and so we can carry on building up our case against him."
Brueckner, late last month, reportedly suffered two broken ribs in mysterious circumstances in his prison cell before applying for parole, which was eventually rejected. Reports state that Brueckner had the injuries after being involved in a scuffle with prison guards after throwing a "tantrum" because he was not allowed to smoke in the courthouse. Latest pictures showed Brueckner being led out of the building to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
Brueckner had reportedly appealed against the rape convicting in July at the European Court of Justice, claiming that his arrest warrant was applied incorrectly. Germany's Federal Court, in a statement, said: "The Braunschweig Regional Court sentenced the accused to a total imprisonment of seven years for serious rape.
According to the findings of the regional court, the defendant attacked a 72-year-old American woman in September 2005 at her house in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia de Luz."
Brueckner's criminal history states that he was convicted of sexually abusing a child in 1994 when he was 17. The suspect was reportedly given a youth sentence of two years. Later, in 2016, he was imprisoned again for a year and three months for "abusing a child in the act of procuring himself and possessing child pornography," and in June 2017 he received 15 months' prison sentence for sexual abuse of a child. Brueckner, as he went in and out of prison, spent his time between Germany and Portugal, where he was living at the time of Madeleine's disappearance. The suspect would have been 30 at the time when the toddler disappeared. His phone records showed him near the resort on the day of Maddie's disappearance.