Christian Brueckner, Madeleine McCann prime suspect bragged about being able to hide children and drugs in his camper van. Picture: Bild/ Supplied
Christian Brueckner, Madeleine McCann prime suspect bragged about being able to hide children and drugs in his camper van. Picture: Bild/ Supplied

Maddie suspect’s sick brag about ‘drugs and children’

The suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann reportedly showed off a huge new campervan and bragged "I can transport children in this" just months before the three-year-old child vanished.

According to The Sun, Christian Brueckner, is said to have made the sickening comment to a man who lived about 60kms away from where Madeleine disappeared in Praia da Luz in May, 2007.

The Mail on Sunday reports the 43-year-old convicted sex offender claimed to have then added: "Nobody can find them, nobody can catch you."

The man - named Dieter Fehlinger - said he was visiting his daughter Nicole in the Portuguese village of Foral in early 2007 when the German suspect turned up in a large cream-coloured Winnebago.

Brueckner then reportedly showed the man around his new van, which had Hanover licence plates.

 

In addition to this Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar, suspect Christian Brueckner had a larger Winnebago which he bragged could hide children. Picture: Bundeskriminalamt via AP
In addition to this Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar, suspect Christian Brueckner had a larger Winnebago which he bragged could hide children. Picture: Bundeskriminalamt via AP

The father told The Mail on Sunday that after a casual chat about what Brueckner - who knew his daughter - was doing in Portugal he dropped his bombshell boast.

He claimed: "He told me: 'I can transport children, kids, in this space.

"Drugs and children, you can transport them in this van, it's a safe space in the van, nobody can find them. Nobody can catch you.'"

The man now fears the worst. He said: "I believe he kidnapped Maddie and brought her out of Portugal in his big van."

He hopes by speaking out now other witnesses might come forward.

The claims come as it was revealed German investigators have "nothing new" on Brueckner and fear their trail may be running cold.

German detectives now believe the prime suspect also wrote letters which mention her, as Portuguese police continue to probe whether her body was dumped in a well after she went missing.

Detectives are searching for such letters and have asked ex-girlfriends for notes the convicted sex offender may have sent to them in the past.

It comes as MailOnline reveals that Portuguese police have looked at the possibility Madeleine's body may have been dumped in wells near suspect Brueckner's old home, it has been claimed.

 

HOTEL EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE HELPED SUSPECT TARGET MADDIE

It comes as the Times revealed a hotel employee may have helped Brueckner target the apartment where Madeleine was asleep, knowing that her parents had gone out to a nearby tapas restaurant, according to German police.

Hans Christian Wolters, the prosecutor heading the investigation, suspects that a member of the Ocean Club staff made a phone call on the night of the girl's disappearance to tip off Brueckner that the family's apartment was free to burgle as the parents had left the girl sleeping with her twin siblings.

German investigators are trying to trace the owner of the mobile phone used to call Brueckner. "We are investigating if an Ocean Club member of staff helped the suspect on the night Madeleine disappeared," Mr Wolters revealed.

"This is of interest to us. The phone call made by the suspect could be between him and a member of staff who told him when to break into the McCanns' apartment."

The call was made just prior to Madeleine's disappearance on May 3, 2007 and received on a mobile handset belonging to Brueckner at 7.32pm and finished at 8.02pm.

Madeleine was last seen at 9.05pm, when her father, Gerry, checked in on her as she slept. He closed the bedroom door and left via the unlocked patio doors.

Police theorise that instead of stealing valuables Brueckner took Madeleine.

 

There is no evidence the Ocean Club employee knew about Madeleine's kidnap in advance.

"Our evidence tells us the suspect was doing burglaries in Praia da Luz and Lagos [a nearby resort] at the time," Mr Wolters said. "We want to speak to the person he spoke to on the phone before we interview the suspect in prison.

"We haven't found that person yet."

Mr Wolters said while the phone places the suspect was in Praia da Luz on the night Madeleine went missing, he could still say the phone was not in his possession.

That's why locating the person to whom he spoke is crucial.

"This is the evidence we want before we issue an arrest warrant and then interview him for the murder. It would help the case against him - but we would also need more evidence," Mr Wolters said.

 

Kate McCann, left, and Gerry McCann. Maddie’s mum has long suspected that hotel staff were in on the break and enter into her apartment. Picture: AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Kate McCann, left, and Gerry McCann. Maddie’s mum has long suspected that hotel staff were in on the break and enter into her apartment. Picture: AP Photo/Francisco Seco

 

Kate McCann, Madeleine's mother, suspected that the restaurant's booking details could have been passed to their daughter's kidnapper.

"To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence … the receptionist had added [that] … we wanted to eat close to our apartments as we were leaving our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently," she wrote in her book about the case.

 

 

LINKS TO OTHER CASES, BUT KEY EVIDENCE MISSING

Mr Wolters confirmed that an attack on a 10-year-old British girl in 2005 in Praia da Luz forms part of the inquiries against Brueckner.

Nine sexual assaults and three near-misses took place on British girls aged between six and 12 while their families were on holiday in the Algarve between from 2004 to 2006, according to the Metropolitan police.

Police in Braunschweig, a city in Lower Saxony known as Brunswick in English, investigated the tip at the time and saw on their database that Brueckner was a known sexual offender. He was sent a summons to appear as a witness in the Madeleine case, and German media said last week it would have "given him enough time to remove any evidence".

 

However, Wolters pointed out the suspect had already had 2007 to 2013 to remove any evidence of the murder.

An arrest warrant has not yet been issued against Brueckner for Madeleine's murder because senior police and prosecutors would be forced to reveal their evidence against him. "We're not ready to do that yet," Mr Wolters said.

"The best thing [to solve the case] would be a confession. Or when we find the body, that would be a big step, but it could be possible that we find other things. Some objects that would help. We don't know what we will get. We just need some more evidence to go to court."

Mr Wolters said a key piece of evidence obtained by his team provided "100 per cent" certainty that Madeleine is dead.

"We don't want to kill the hope and because there is no forensic evidence it may be theoretically possible.

"I know it's important for the British people when I say she is dead, but I did not know it was so important."

 

 

The prison where Christian Brueckner is serving time on other charges. Picture: Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images
The prison where Christian Brueckner is serving time on other charges. Picture: Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

 

Brueckner had been living in Praia da Luz in a farmhouse overlooking the holiday resort.

He had fled to Portugal in 1995 as an 18-year-old to escape a two-year custody sentence for child sex offences.

He was later convicted of the sexual abuse of another child and the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz.

He is currently serving a 21-month jail sentence in Kiel, northern Germany.

Originally published as Maddie suspect's sick brag about 'drugs and children'


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