Madeleine McCann prosecutors say they have no body and no DNA but other evidence leads to only one conclusion – jailed rapist Christian Brueckner is guilty and could be charged next year
Investigators are “100% sure” sex offender Christian Brueckner murdered Madeleine McCann.
They have the evidence to charge him and hope the probe will conclude next year.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “We’re confident we have the man who took and killed her.”
Prosecutors investigating paedophile Christian Brueckner on suspicion of murdering Madeleine McCann are certain of his guilt and determined to build the strongest possible case against him.
They believe they have the evidence to charge the 44-year-old and it has “100% convinced” them that he killed her.
And they hope to be able to bring charges next year.
But as Brueckner is already in jail for separate offences the team are taking time to gather as much evidence as possible before bringing it to court.
Speaking exclusively to the Mirror, German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “It is now possible that we could charge. We have that evidence now.
“But it’s not just about charging him – we want to charge him with the best body of evidence possible.
“When we still have questions, it would be nonsense to charge rather than wait for the answers that could strengthen our position.
“That’s why we said we’ll investigate as long as there are leads or information for us to pursue. I’m not saying that what we have is insufficient now. But he’s in prison, so we don’t have this pressure on us. We have time on our hands.”
However, the prosecutors now admit they have no proof Madeleine is dead – despite authorities in Braunschweig telling the McCanns last year that they had “evidence” she is no longer alive.
Mr Wolters said they have no idea how she died and no DNA or photo evidence linking the German sex offender to the alleged murder. Addressing Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann, he said: “We are confident we have the man who took and killed your daughter.”
“All I can do is ask for your patience. I personally think a conclusion will be reached next year. We have no body and no DNA but we have other evidence. Based on the evidence we have, it leads to no other conclusion.
“I can’t tell you on which basis we assume she is dead. But for us, there’s no other possibility. There is no hope she is alive.”
Madeleine vanished from her family’s holiday flat at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007, days before her fourth birthday. Kate and Gerry of Rothley, Leics, have said they “hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again”.
Evidence being investigated includes a “confession” Brueckner made to a pal and phone analysis showing he was at the Ocean Club when the toddler vanished. Mr Wolters said: “It is circumstantial evidence – we have no scientific evidence. If we had a video of the act or a picture of Madeleine dead with Brueckner on camera, we wouldn’t have had to make a public appeal. But we only have circumstantial evidence.”
Brueckner was living in a camper van close to Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared. UK and German police first became aware of him as a suspect in 2017 but only went public with it last June. Senior investigators have spoken to potential key witnesses in Germany and Portugal.
Mr Wolters dismissed as “rubbish” a recent report that the probe will end by Christmas, but said it is likely Brueckner will be charged early next year with other alleged offences in Portugal.
They include the rape of an Irish woman in the Algarve in 2004 and two incidents where he allegedly flashed at youngsters.
Asked if he was happy with the pace of the Madeleine probe, Mr Wolters said: “It could have gone better. Of course we hoped we’d get such good tip-offs that the investigation might have already ended. But the case is progressing.”
He said a “very big number” have been interviewed but the team has yet to find the person Brueckner spoke to on the phone around the time Madeleine went missing. He added: “We’ve found no evidence to clear Mr Brueckner of suspicion. Everything we’ve found fits in the picture. We’re perhaps halfway through.”
Defending the decision not to show the McCanns the evidence that leads prosecutors to believe Madeleine is dead, he said: “If I did …is very possible that they would then no longer have any hope.”
When Madeleine went missing, Brueckner was just out of jail for petrol theft. He is serving seven years in a German jail for raping a pensioner in Praia da Luz. Mr Wolters criticised the slow approach of Portuguese authorities in the investigation, accusing them of lacking interest in the case because the victim and prime suspect are both foreigners.
He said: “What takes one week in Germany can take six months in Portugal. I think the interest in the case in Portugal is just not that big, because no Portuguese person is involved. Also it does not shine a particularly good light on the Portuguese police, as they had totally different suspects.
“I think they would prefer to be left in peace.
“The co-operation with Britain is certainly notably better.”
Brueckner denies being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance and has refused to speak to police or prosecutors.