New arrest warrant for Madeleine McCann suspect as German linked to other cases

Authorities in Germany believe Christian Brueckner is behind five cases of abuse, including three against children

A picture of British girl Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from the Praia da Luz beach resort in the Algarve, at Our Lady of Fatima shrine in northern Portugal, in May 2007. AP
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The main suspect in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal 15 years ago has had a new arrest warrant issued against him over five separate cases.

The German man, identified by media as Christian Brueckner, 45, is serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for a rape he committed in Portugal in 2005.

His prison term is scheduled to end in September 2025.

In a bid to stop him being released before standing trial again, prosecutors in the northern city of Braunschweig announced last month that they had charged him in five separate cases involving sexual offences committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

The Braunschweig state court said it approved an arrest warrant on the grounds that there was “urgent reason” to believe he was behind three cases of serious rape and two of child sexual abuse.

The arrest warrant must still be approved by authorities in Italy, where he was arrested in 2018, before being extradited to Germany.

The Madeleine McCann case — in pictures

The Braunschweig court has said a decision on whether to send the case to trial — a necessary step in the German legal process — is still pending.

Because of its list of other cases, the opening of any trial cannot be expected before next year, it said.

Brueckner has not been charged in the McCann case, in which he remains under investigation on suspicion of murder.

He spent many years in Portugal, including in the resort of Praia da Luz about the time of Madeleine’s disappearance there in 2007.

He has denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine, who was aged 3 at time.

Updated: November 29, 2022, 7:19 AM