The mystery over the disappearance of three-year-old British toddler Madeleine McCann has continued to deepen, with a former friend of a key suspect ripping open a new can of worms on Sunday.
Madeline disappeared on May 3, 2007, from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal and has not been seen since.
Christian Brueckner, a convicted paedophile and rapist, has been named as the prime suspect in McCann’s abduction and presumed murder and will stand trial in Germany on February 16.
The trial will address charges unrelated to McCann, focusing instead on the sexual assault of other children and three counts of rape against individuals aged 14, 20, and 74.
Helge Busching, a star witness and former friend of Mr Brueckner, claims to have seen videos of Mr Brueckner raping and torturing women.
Mr Busching’s testimony previously contributed to Mr Brueckner’s conviction and current seven-year prison sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman.
The involvement of Helge Busching, particularly his revelations about Brueckner’s comments regarding McCann, is crucial for the prosecution.
“The lady was tied up and … there was a man, all in black clothes … with black gloves and a black mask, who then threw the woman around on the bed, turned her on her stomach and who whipped this woman,” Mr Busching told 60 Minutes on Sunday night.
“Then he sat down next to her and then he took off his mask. Then I saw that it was Christian B.”
Mr Busching is in police protection and has disclosed a conversation with Mr Brueckner about Madeleine McCann, suggesting her abduction was done quietly.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has named Mr Brueckner as the sole suspect in the McCann case, firmly believing McCann is dead and that Brueckner murdered her.
Mr Wolters said it was essential to build a comprehensive case against Mr Brueckner, indicating that charges related to McCann’s abduction and murder may not be filed until the end of the year.
The prosecution is focused on gathering substantial evidence and testimonies to ensure a strong case against Brueckner.
While the upcoming trial does not directly pertain to Madeleine McCann, it is seen as a step towards achieving justice for her.
In November, an online exchange between Mr Brueckner and another pedophile was revealed.
The vile messages “could be a hint” that finally leads investigators to answers for the toddler’s grieving family, according to the case’s lead prosecutor.
In the chat allegedly discovered on one of Brueckner’s computers, the suspect detailed his desires to abduct and kill a little girl – and “document it”.
It’s claimed he then spoke of “destroying evidence” to which the pedophile replied: “mm”.
Of the exchange, Mr Wolters said: “It could be a hint”.
“Of course, it’s important to us. It could be piece for the big puzzle.”
While “MM” are Madeleine McCann’s initials, it’s unclear exactly what the suspect was referring to in the message.
The suspect’s extensive online chat history is known to contain disturbing messages pointing to his pedophile fantasies.
He allegedly discussed kidnapping and sexually abusing a child in a chatroom exchange in September 2013, and claimed he would make a lot of films if he were to capture a “little one”.
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year sentence, for the brutal rape of an elderly woman in Portugal, at a high-security prison known as the “Alcatraz of the North” in the German city of Oldenburg. In 1994 he served a two-year sentence for performing sex acts in front of a child and child abuse.
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