THIS is the house where the prime suspect in the Madeleine Mccann case spent several days at a time in the months following the toddler’s disappearance.
The extensive property sits in the sleepy village of Foral, around 50 minutes drive inland from Praia de Luz, where three-year-old Maddie vanished in 2007.
Several people in the village have confirmed that they saw Bruekner, now aged 43, and his distinctive Westfalia van parked at the nearby restaurant and outside the property, named Villa Bianca.
The German paedophile was seen on several occasions and often worked at the O Faro restaurant and did odd jobs around the village to earn cash or in exchange for showers.
“He came and went and was a really scary guy, people were scared of him in the village,” owner of the property Lia Silva told the Olive Press.
“Some people said they saw him carrying a gun which was obviously really terrifying.”
Silva added that at the time a German woman named Nicole was living there with her boyfriend Roman.
“She had a young daughter of her own and also a teenage girl living with her who she put up in the apartment.
“Nicole was having kids over from Germany and was supposedly running a rehabilitation programme for troubled youths.”
The property is now likely to become a key part of the investigation into the movements of Brueckner around the time of Maddie’s disappearance.
The home, which is currently being rented by two Brits, features extensive land and has a large swimming pool and barbecue area at the back.
Silva said Nicole was often seen covered in bruises and once may have had a broken arm, suggesting her relationship with Roman was abusive.
Nicole abandoned the property in 2009, owing Silva around €10,000 in unpaid rent.
Roman was kicked out shortly after since his name was not registered on the rental contract.
“They left behind needles, used syringes with a spoon and bricks of hashish,” recalled Silva, “it was horrible finding that in my house, but I burnt it all, I didn’t want to be incriminated by that stuff.”
Brueckner was not seen in the village after Nicole and Roman left.
Police turned up a couple of times looking for Roman but did not reveal to Silva why.
“He received some serious looking legal letters from Lisbon so maybe it was related to that.”
Talking to the Olive Press inside the grounds, she said she welcomed police digging up if it helps solve the Maddie case.
“I just want this case closed like everyone else, the parents need closure.
“I’m very happy for police to look around, if it was him who took Maddie, then I hope they hang the bastard.”
The property features two cars, including one Spanish-registered Mercedes, which Silva said is for sale.
According to several other witnesses in the town, police have never visited to ask questions about the case.
It comes as Brueckner allegedly told colleagues in Germany that Maddie was dead.
The Daily Mail reported that the suspect became frustrated when his work pals would not stop talking about the case while working at a kiosk.
“The child is dead now – and that’s a good thing!” Brueckner reportedly screamed, “you can make a corpse disappear quickly… pigs also eat human flesh!”
The suspect has 17 convictions, many of them sexual offences against children.
His first known offence was when he molested a six-year-old girl as a teenager himself in 1993.
A year a later he attempted to sexually assault a nine-year-old girl.
He then moved to Portugal with his then-girlfriend in 2005, in the area of Praia de Luz.
He broke up with his girlfriend soon after arriving, before raping a 72-year-old woman in Praia de Luz while robbing her home in the same year.
While he found some work as a waiter, he carried out odd jobs and was also robbing apartments and selling drugs.
It was only a couple of years later in 2007 that Maddie disappeared from the same area.
It was following her disappearance and until at least 2008, he moved to settle around Foral, some 50 minutes-drive away from Praia de Luz, which had become filled with investigators trying to crack the Maddie case.
He would go on to commit more crimes against children, including another sexual attack in June 2013.
According to Spiegel, in September 2013, he wrote in an online chatroom that he wanted to ‘capture something small and use it for days.’