German prosecutors believe that Madeleine McCann is dead

Madeleine went missing from Praia da Luz in Algarve in 2007 when she was three years old

Madeleine went missing from Praia da Luz in Algarve in 2007 when she was three years old
Madeleine went missing from Praia da Luz in Algarve in 2007 when she was three years old

German prosecutors believe Madeleine McCann is dead and are investigating a child sex predator on suspicion of her murder.

The suspect is a 43-year-old German national, Christian Breuckner, who is reportedly serving a seven-year prison sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in 2005.

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The MailOnline has said that Brueckner’s alleged admission to a friend about Madeleine’s abduction came on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance when her face appeared on a German pub’s TV screen after which he proceeded to show a friend a video of himself raping a woman.

The associate then reported Brueckner to the police.

Brueckner is known to have lived on the Algarve coast between 1995 and 2007 and his Portuguese mobile phone received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Madeleine went missing.

Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office, said: "In connection with the disappearance of the three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann on May 3 2007 from an apartment complex in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, the Braunschweig prosecution is investigating against a 43-year-old German on suspicion of murder.

“We are assuming that the girl is dead.

"With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he's already serving a long sentence."

He said the suspect was regularly living in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, where he worked jobs, including in the gastronomy business, but funded his lifestyle by committing crimes, including thefts in hotel complexes and apartments, as well as drug dealing.

Christian Hoppe, from Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), told the country's ZDF television channel on Wednesday night he is serving a prison sentence for a sex crime and has two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls".

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German newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung reported the suspect was convicted of rape in Braunschweig District Court in December last year.

German magazine Der Spiegel reported he was extradited from Portugal in 2017 and initially convicted of drug trafficking.

Mr Hoppe said German police have not ruled out a sexual motive for the alleged crime against Madeleine.

Additional reporting from the Press Association

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