Prime suspect in Maddie McCann disappearance to face trial in German for unrelated rape, sex assault charges

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The prime suspect in the disappearance of Maddie McCann allegedly confessed to a friend and petty criminal the British toddler “didn’t scream” after she was ripped from her parent’s holiday home, never to be seen again.

Madeleine McCann was just three-years-old when she vanished from her bed at her parent’s holiday home in the coastal town of Praia da Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007, sparking one of the world’s most enduring cold cases.

While no one has ever been charged with the toddler’s disappearance, German authorities in June 2020 revealed convicted rapist Christian Brueckner was their prime suspect. This week, he faces trial in Germany on unrelated charges.

Mr Brueckner, who is known under German privacy laws as Christian B, stands accused of raping a 14-year-old and two other women, as well as sexually assaulting other children, and is currently in jail convicted of rape.

Integral to the upcoming trial is petty criminal and former friend to Brueckner, Helge Busching, who told journalist Jutta Rabe the sex criminal had confessed to him at a music festival that Maddie McCann “didn’t scream”.

“He said ‘she didn’t scream’, ‘she didn’t scream’, that is what Brueckner said and then I looked at Mr Brueckner and thought ‘what are you telling me now?’” Mr Busching said, in audio aired on Sunday on 60 Minutes.

Ms Rabe told 60 Minutes: “And, then his reaction to that, that is, ‘Huh? What did you just say? She didn’t scream? How can you know?’ … In this moment, he realised, ‘he knows it. He, he has been there. He took her out’.”

Mr Busching claimed to have twice reported his suspicions to police, first to Scotland Yard in 2008 and again on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance, though there was no follow up until 2020.

At the time, phone data obtained by German police put Brueckner near the holiday house while he was living between Germany and Portugal. The revelation turned the convicted rapist into the prime suspect.

According to 60 Minutes, Mr Busching will give evidence he saw videos of Brueckner assaulting women. Ms Rabe also told the program she had been receiving regular letters from Brueckner in prison.

The prosecutor in the McCann case, Hans Christian Wolters, told 60 Minutes he had no doubt Brueckner is their prime suspect and that Mr Busching was a “believable” witness who gave evidence in another case against Brueckner.

“The investigation is still going on. We have work to do and when we will come to an end, and if we think it’s enough, then we will charge Christian B and if it’s not enough then we have to close the case,” he said.

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