A German man serving time for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman should be charged for the kidnapping and murder of British toddler Madeleine McCann if a German prosecutor has the proof he claims he does, a prominent detective has said in an Australian documentary.
If not, then Christian Brueckner should be let free when his sentence for the rape ends in two years, though he is expected to be charged for an unrelated rape he committed in the same resort where McCann disappeared in the coming days.
Brueckner was named as the only suspect in the case in April of this year after German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters says he has proof of convicted rapist’s involvement in the cold case. Brueckner worked as a handyman in the same resort where McCann was sleeping near her younger siblings while her parents ate tapas nearby with friends. Police found little girl bathing suits and child pornography in the camper he lived in at the time, but Brueckner swears he was having sex with an 18-year-old lover the night McCann disappeared, and thus could not have been the kidnapper.
In a lengthy interview for 60 Minutes Australia, British detective Mark Williams-Thomas questioned whether Wolters’ so-called “proof” was enough to hold up in court. “There is no direct evidence that places Christian Brueckner in Praia da Luz,” Williams-Thomas told the program. “The German prosecutor has been very clear that he has got that evidence, [but] when you pull it apart, it doesn’t exist.”
He says Wolters has in fact acted prematurely in insisting Brueckner be named in McCann’s case and that by grandstanding but not coming through with evidence tying him to the case, it causes more anguish for the McCann family. “If he’s got the evidence that Christian B. is responsible, get on and charge him and let the courts decide whether or not he’s the right person,” Williams-Thomas said.
Wolters, who was also interviewed for the program insisted that he will not be pressured by critics. “There’s only one suspect in the Madeleine case, and this is Christian B.,” Wolters said, using only Brueckner’s last name initial to stay in line with German privacy laws. “She’s dead and Christian B is the murderer.”
Two years ago Wolters identified Brueckner as the prime suspect and sequestered the camper van and dug up his back yard in Hamburg where a child’s toy bucket was found. Brueckner, who had not previously spoken to any one about the case and has denied wrongdoing through his lawyer, wrote a letter to Williams-Thomas which said his “holiday romance” with the 18-year-old some 50 miles away was his alibi.
Wolters insists that everyone they have interviewed as part of the investigation points to Bruckner as the only person who could have taken the young child. “We spoke with everyone who was a part of Christian’s life at this time,” Wolters said. “If we don’t have enough evidence, I wouldn’t speak about this in this way.”