The German prosecutor leading the investigation into whether Christian Brueckner killed Madeleine McCann today hinted the paedophile may not have worked alone but declared: ‘We are sure he’s the murderer’.
Hans Christian Wolters repeatedly refused to say if the prime suspect had broken into the Praia da Luz apartment and grabbed the three-year-old from her bed on May 3, 2007.
Convicted sex offender Brueckner, currently languishing in a prison near Bremen for raping a pensioner, was declared a suspect in the case by Portuguese officials last month as a 15-year legal deadline approached, and he has been under investigation by German officials for two years.
Speaking on Portuguese TV last night, on the 15th anniversary of one of the world’s most harrowing unsolved crimes, Mr Wolters said: ‘We are sure that he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann. The investigation is still going on and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidence, but evidence’.
In the bombshell interview broadcast last night Mr Wolters said Brueckner’s alibi about having sex with a girlfriend at the time of the abduction had fallen apart.
But he admitted his team do not have the forensic evidence to put the paedophile prime suspect in the dock amid claims that fibres from the Maddie’s pink Eeyore pyjamas had been found in his yellow VW camper van.
Today Mr Wolters was unavailable for comment and the revelation has fuelled speculation it was ‘fibres’ from the missing three year old’s pyjamas but Brueckner’s lawyer categorically denied the suggestion.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Friedrich Fulscher said:’ This is bulls**t. Listen to the interview, the prosecutor said they had new evidence but he then says it not forensic evidence.
‘Are fibres not forensic evidence? For almost two years we have tried to access the Madeleine McCann files from the prosecutor so we can see the evidence but so far nothing.
‘The position is still the same, he denies any involvement and we will not be saying anything further until we see the files.’
Last night Mr Wolters hinted that Brueckner, 45, may have had an accomplice, by refusing to say if he was certain the German took Maddie from her parents’ holiday apartment at Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve coast on May 3, 2007.
Mr Wolters also said they had still not worked out who made a mysterious 30-minute phone call to Brueckner, placing him close to where Madeleine disappeared on the night she went missing.
But when asked if he was sure that it was Brueckner who broke into the Ocean Club apartment and took her, he twice repeated that he believed that he was the killer but would not comment on who snatched the British three-year-old.
He said: ‘We are sure that he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann. We are sure that he killed Madeleine McCann.’
And when asked about Brueckner’s claims he spent the night with an 18-year-old girlfriend, the prosecutor replied: ‘He has nothing. Christian B has no alibi’.
In the interview, Ms Felgueiras asked Mr Wolters: ‘Is it true that you found something belonging to Madeleine in the caravan of Christian Brueckner? You can’t deny it, can you?’
He replied: ‘I don’t want to deny it’, adding: ‘The suspect has not yet been informed’.
Under German law, details of a police investigation cannot be revealed until a suspect and their lawyers are given the full details. The case can then be made public.
But the police officer who was sacked after leading the first investigation in Portugal, Gonçalo Amaral, insists that Brueckner ‘had nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance’ and again claimed parents Kate and Gerry remain, in his opinion, the ‘principal people responsible’.
Mr Wolters said: ‘The fact that Christian B is a suspect in Portugal shows we are on the right path. The McCanns are not suspects and Mr Amaral and others are wrong if they think they [the McCanns] were part of the murder’.
He added: ‘There is no relationship between the McCanns and me. I have never spoken to them and I never wrote to them’.
German national Christian Brueckner, 45, insists he was having sex with a woman in his camper van when three-year-old Madeleine disappeared while holidaying with her family in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on February 3, 2007
Speaking on Portuguese TV last night (pictured), 15 years to the day since she vanished in Praia da Luz, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said he is ‘sure’ the toddler was murdered and that Brueckner, 45, did it
Kate and Gerry McCann were warmly welcomed by their community during a poignant prayer service in their home village of Rothley, Leicestershire. Mrs McCann read a poem while clutching her necklace made up of three rings
Brueckner is pictured in the van where prosecutors may have found new evidence linking him to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann
An undated handout photograph released by the Metropolitan Police in London on June 3, 2020, shows VW T3 Westfalia campervan, used in and around Praia da Luz, Portugal, by Christian Brueckner
Kate and Gerry McCann have been pictured for the first time in public in four years as they were warmly welcomed by their community during a poignant prayer service in their home village of Rothley, Leicestershire
Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry, mark the 15th anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance from Portugal at a vigil in their home village of Rothley
The German prosecutor’s appearance on Portuguese TV yesterday coincided with a memorial service held to commemorate the 15-year anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Kate and Gerry McCann were warmly welcomed by their community during a poignant prayer service in their home village of Rothley, Leicestershire. Mrs McCann read a poem while clutching her necklace made up of three rings, likely to symbolise Maddie and the couple’s two other children.
Convicted rapist and paedophile Brueckner was named by German prosecutors as prime suspect in the case two years ago with investigators saying they had ‘concrete evidence’ she was dead.
But since then there has been little sign of him being charged, prompting speculation there is not enough evidence of his involvement in her disappearance and earlier this week it emerged Brueckner claims to have an alibi the night she vanished.
Kate and Gerry, who hold on to hope that Madeleine – who would now be aged nearly 19 – is still alive, appeared overwhelmed by the support as they joined in prayers and readings to mark the occasion.
The annual outdoor event has been cancelled over the past two years because of Covid restrictions. Kate and Gerry said last night: ‘This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time.’
In 2019 Kate turned up alone with her twins Sean and Amelie – now aged 17 – as her heart doctor husband was away in Italy at an important medical conference.
Former surgery GP turned hospital medical worker Kate, 54, had dashed from work to join Gerry at the war memorial for the welcomed event.
Kate, wearing black jeans, cornflower blue V-neck sweater and trainers, fought back tears as children lit candles for Madeleine and other lost youngsters.
Neither parent addressed the 100-strong crowd but Kate, wearing reading glasses, read a poem, saying: ‘Survival can be summed up three words: Never give up.
‘That’s the heart of it really, just keep trying.
‘Sometimes you have to get knocked down, lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.
‘Perseverance is stubbornness.’
Prime suspect Brueckner has insisted he was with an 18-year-old German woman, having sex in his camper van miles away from where Madeleine vanished from and he has given full details to a US documentary.
When he was named in June 2020 police asked for information in the distinctive yellow and white T3 campervan and DNA experts have been examining it ever since.
In her report Sandra highlighted how the fact that Mr Wolters refused to deny that something of Madeleine’s had been found was proof of his guilt.
Mr Wolters also revealed how he had not been in touch with the McCanns and said: ‘There is no relationship between the McCanns and me. I have never spoken with them and I have never written to them. There is no relationship.’
He also highlighted how the fact that Portuguese police had made Brueckner an ‘arguido’ or suspect in the case showed the German investigation was ‘going the right way’.
Brueckner is currently serving seven years for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, two years before Madeleine was snatched and he is in Germany’s Oldenburg jail.
Prosecutors are investigating him over the rape of a Irish tour guide Hazel Behan in the Algarve as well as a sexual assault in Praia da Luz on a ten-year-old German girl a month before Madeleine disappeared.
He is also being probed over an indecent exposure in a children’s playground in the Algarve and last month MailOnline revealed he was also being investigated over two further rapes.
The McCanns joined family, friends and villagers for their informal evening service yesterday as Wolters spoke with Portuguese TV.
A family source said: ‘Kate and Gerry enjoy going to the service for a time of prayer and quiet reflection. They always appreciate the support of the public.’
They met in the chilly night air at Cross Green on the milestone anniversary – where a candle for the world’s most famous missing child still burns around the clock.
During the service, local children went up to light candles to remember Madeleine, or a special person of their choice.
One little girl tripped and stumbled on the ground as she ran back to her mother, and a concerned Kate joined others calling ‘Whoops!’ then smiled as the child picked herself up unscathed.
Renowned and respected cardiologist Gerry, 53, casually dressed in navy trousers, salmon-pink T-shirt and grey-blue sweater, later individually thanked well wishers for attending the half-hour gathering.
Vicar of the local parish church, The Rev. Rob Gladstone, who led the prayers, opened the service by telling the crowd: ‘Once again after a gap of two years we’re able to come together again here at Cross Green to remember Madeleine, to show solidarity to Kate and Gerry, Sean and Amelie.
‘Lord we thank you for sustaining Gerry and Kate through these painful years.
‘Keep us their hope of finding Madeleine, of discovering the truth of her disappearance… real hope is hard won.’
During the gathering, touching messages of support were read out by children.
Iconic pictures of a young Madeleine were tied to the railing around the war memorial and a vase of fresh yellow flowers was placed on the ground.
The McCanns joined family, friends and villagers for an informal evening service yesterday in Leicestershire
The annual outdoor event has been cancelled over the past two years because of Covid restrictions
On May 3, 2007 Kate and Gerry McCann went to a small tapas bar metres away from their apartment to dine with friends. But when Kate returned to do a routine check on their children, she found that Madeleine had disappeared
The farmhouse where the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance lived was located just two miles from where she went missing from her family’s holiday apartment
Brueckner lived in the farmhouse above Praia da Luz (pictured) on the Algarve in Portugal and is said to have seldom mixed with his neighbours and allowed the property to fall into disrepair
The suspect, who is in prison in Germany for rape, has been linked to an early 1980s camper van – with a white upper body and yellow skirting, registered in Portugal – which is seen here on the Algarve in 2007. Police believe it may have been used in the crime
Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann have never given up hope of finding their daughter alive but are said to have welcomed the news that Brueckner has been charged
Madeleine vanished on May 3 2007 while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie
The last photograph taken of Madeleine shows her smiling next to her little sister Amelie and their father Gerry at 1.30pm on May 3, 2007 in Portugal, the day she went missing
Officers are hoping to nail Christian Brueckner (pictured left) A man matching his description was seen outside the McCann’s apartment in the four days before (efit right). A phone call also links him to the area
It is suspected that Brueckner received a telephone call shortly before three year old Maddie was abducted from her ground floor apartment. Pictured: The Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday in 2007
45-year-old German national Christian Brueckner was first named as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance by German Police in 2020 and is known to be a convicted paedophile
The Madeleine candle burned brightly as Rev Gladstone said: ‘We hope the light here in Rothley dispels the darkness.’
At times Kate and Gerry appeared tearful, at other times they smiled.
Kate, who appeared to be limping, was hugged by friends and supporters.
Three-year-old Madeleine vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007.
She was discovered missing from her bed in the seaside complex by her horrified mum shortly after 10pm. She had been left alone her younger siblings while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas restaurant with their seven pals.
Madeleine’s great uncle, retired head teacher Brian Kennedy, 83, who lives in the same village and has attended all 13 anniversary gatherings with his wife Janet, said: ‘Kate and Gerry feel heartened that something positive seems to be happening with the investigation.
‘They are being kept updated by the Met Police but they have no details to share now.
‘They have never lost hope even after all these years, and in juts over a week’s time Madeleine would be 19.
‘If you had told our family 15 years it would go on for so long without a resolution we would have thought that was very unlikely.’
He had earlier read a poem ‘The Beacon’ previously written for Kate and Gerry by former Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.
Madeleine’s parents told of their ‘need for answers’ in a public posting on the eve of the latest anniversary which they say is ‘a very long time.’
In a heartfelt posting on Monday on the Find Maddie and Official Campaign websites, the McCanns wrote: ‘Many people talk about the need for ”closure”. It’s always felt a strange term.
‘Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.
‘It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential.’
The couple praised three nations’ police forces for their continued work in trying to crack the painstaking case.
They posted: ‘We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring us those answers.’
They added: ‘As always, we would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued good wishes and support.
‘It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people’s hearts and minds. Thank you. Kate and Gerry.’
Their post is accompanied by a touching phrase from Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne, with a picture of Pooh bear and Piglet, saying: ‘But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.’