German pedophile Christian Brueckner has faced a barrage of questions in prison after Portuguese prosecutors formally suspected him in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Questions put to Brueckner, 44, included: “Where were you the night Madeleine McCann disappeared?”
He was given a document in prison informing him that he was a suspect in the disappearance of the British boy from their holiday home in the Algarve on 3 May 2007 and was questioned about it for the first time.
On the night Madeleine disappeared, while her parents were having tapas with friends nearby, Brueckner was asked to provide information about his whereabouts, Portuguese sources said.
German authorities, acting on behalf of Portuguese prosecutors, also asked him: “If you were not at the apartment from which she disappeared that night, then where were you?”
Sources close to the case in Portugal also revealed today that Brueckner did not answer any of the questions put to him during his interrogation in prison, retaining the right to remain silent given his new suspect status.
It’s the first time Brueckner has faced a formal quiz into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
His legal representative is said to have been present at the crucial development in the long-running case.
METROPOLITAN POLICE/AFP via Gett)
The case has led German authorities to identify the convicted rapist as their prime suspect, but has so far not resulted in him being formally suspected in Portugal.
The questions were prepared by prosecutors in the Algarve resort of Portimao and included in a formal international request sent to German authorities before confirming last night that he was officially suspected in Portugal.
Last night, sources close to the case said they did not expect any new developments pending the results of ongoing forensic work on samples from a VW Volkswagen van Breuckner who was driving while living in the Algarve.
The van was mentioned in a police appeal for its vehicles.
A Portuguese insider described the results as “potentially crucial”.
Carabinieri Milano via Getty Images)
But he added: “They could also be the final roll of the dice. At the moment it is a wait and see situation.”
Portuguese prosecutors confirmed their decision to make Christian Brueckner an official suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance late Thursday night in their first formal statement on the decision.
The unexpected move is believed to be linked to statute of limitations legislation in Portugal, which could have prevented a successful prosecution against Brueckner in the country where Madeleine disappeared after May 3 this year.
Unlike in Germany, the perpetrators of serious crimes such as murders and kidnappings in Portugal can no longer be prosecuted after 15 years.
The 15th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance in May 2007 had already been cited by Portuguese lawyers as a key date in the unsolved mystery.
Brueckner was informed he was now an “arguido” in Oldenburg prison in northern Germany, where he is serving seven years for raping an American pensioner in Praia da Luz in 2005.
It gives Portuguese authorities the opportunity to charge him later, effectively “stopping” the time limit for filing charges if German prosecutors decide they do not have enough evidence to charge the pedophile they see as their prime suspect.
A written statement from the Portimao branch of the Faro Police Department (DIAP) entitled “Case Maddie.
Constitution of an Arguido” said: “As part of the inquiry into the circumstances of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, a person was appointed an arguido on Wednesday.
“The man was declared an arguido by the German authorities in response to a request from the Portuguese prosecutor for international judicial cooperation.
“The investigation is being led by the Portimao Department of the DIAP in Faro, with the support of the Policia Judiciaria.
“The investigation was carried out in cooperation with the English and German authorities.”
The country’s PJ Police have yet to make an official statement.
Portuguese sources have said that the legal reasons for making Brueckner an Arguido include the fact that he allegedly confessed to a friend that he had kidnapped Madeleine.
Cellphone records put him in Praia da Luz the night she disappeared.
AFP via Getty Images)
The German dodger, who lived in the Algarve for several years and was serving a nine-month prison sentence for stealing petrol in the Algarve five months before the British youth disappeared, remained silent after being told he was now a formal suspect in Portugal.
Madeleine McCann’s family lawyer, Rogerio Alves, warned in July 2020 that Portugal’s 15-year curb on prosecutions means there are less than two years left to crack down on Brueckner, whom German authorities are treating as their prime suspect.
And Portuguese legal experts admitted earlier this month that the likelihood of putting someone behind bars over Madeleine’s disappearance would be “greatly reduced” after the day Kate and Gerry McCann remember exactly a decade and a half after their eldest daughter’s disappearance .
Attorney Spencer Dohner of MDM Legal said at the time ahead of the latest development in the case: “I think the most likely scenario with the information we have right now is that everything falls after 15 years.
“Portugal has a statute of limitations, which means that the perpetrators of crimes punishable by a maximum penalty of more than 10 years can usually no longer be prosecuted after 15 years.
“Of course, this means that the possibility of prosecuting Madeleine McCann in Portugal after May 3 this year could be ended.
“If she were found alive and a victim of sex crimes as a minor, a trial could take place until she is 23 years old.
“But if Madeleine is dead, as German authorities believe, and murdered around the time of her disappearance in Portugal, the cut-off date for prosecutions would under normal circumstances be the 15th anniversary of her disappearance, barring technical issues that may stop time could border like the covid pandemic.
“There are some arguments that could be debated but my perception and understanding of the law is it’s 15 years and that’s it.
“If we had a situation where a body was found and we had reason to believe it was murder and the authorities here had a person to accuse them, we would have a 15 year grace period.”
Another Lisbon-based lawyer, who asked not to be named, added: “Police and prosecutors in Portugal will be aware of the time constraints on the Maddie case.
“Our statute of limitations brings with it the likelihood that within weeks, even with an arrest and a confession, the person responsible for her disappearance will never be brought to justice in the country where she disappeared.”
The decision to make Brueckner an Arguido in Portugal came as a surprise because sources close to the case said a fortnight ago they thought he was “highly unlikely”.
Portugal’s Attorney General agreed to reopen the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in October 2013, more than five years after it was archived, following a formal request from the Policia Judiciaria.
PJ chief Helena Monteiro is still leading an ongoing investigation into the Portuguese police force in the northern city of Porto.
In October 2013, she was interviewing the widow of a former worker at the tourist complex where Madeleine’s parents were staying when she disappeared.
Serial thief Euclides Lopes Monteiro, who died in a tractor accident in August 2009, has never been publicly ruled out as a suspect, although his family has urged police to confirm his innocence.
Late last year it was reported that Brueckner would be charged in Germany this year with three separate sex crimes, including the 2004 rape of an Irish woman in the Algarve.
It turns out that in June 2020, police tracked down the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case after he told a pal in a pub: “I kidnapped her.”
He is said to have confessed to kidnapping the teenager while she was sitting in a German bar on the 10th anniversary of her kidnapping.
He and a pal reportedly saw a TV news report on the case in 2017, when he said he knew what happened to her.
He is also said to have boasted that he “caught” her.
Portuguese authorities had earlier this month insisted they were continuing to investigate Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, despite reports that Scotland Yard was planning to end its investigation into Operation Grange after 11 years.
A spokesman for Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office, asked about the future of the inquiry being led by a prosecutor in the Algarve resort of Portimao, said: “The investigation is ongoing with the investigation being ongoing.”
Portuguese police sources also said it was “completely out of the question” to complete their long-running “cold case” review.
Brueckner claimed over the weekend he has yet to be questioned about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, almost two years after German police said they believe he murdered her and that they have “concrete evidence” the young Briton is dead.
He said in a letter to Mail Online sent ahead of the arguido development this week: “‘I have not been questioned about any allegations as required by German law, but it is evident that the German authorities and in particular the Ministry of Justice have do media with information about me that could make me appear contemptuous.
“This also applies to the authorities of the correctional facility in which I am currently being held.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/inside-madeleine-mccann-suspects-interview-26772964 In questioning suspect Madeleine McCann, when police asked, "Where are you that night?"