A BRITISH expat has admitted to unwittingly destroying all DNA evidence linked to a home Maddie McCann suspect Christian Brueckner rented for years on the Algarve, in Portugal.
She also filed a Missing Persons report after he suddenly vanished.
Speaking for the first time, the next door neighbour did this despite the unease she felt about living next door to ‘monster’ Brueckner, 43, for many years.
“We just did not know if Christian was alive or dead and so we decided to go and report him as a missing person,” said Ruth Maclean who saw Christian on a daily basis for years.
“We went to the GNR (pólice) station in Lagos, we made a report there.”
Little to their knowledge, he was actually in prison at the time with his friend Michael Tatschl, who told the Olive Press newspaper this week that he had made a series of sickening videos including one of him raping an elderly woman.
Maclean, who has lived in the hamlet of Sitio das Lajes, near Praia da Luz, since 1988, believes that Brueckner first moved to the seaside resort in around 1994 or 1995.
“We didnt have interaction really and you wouldn’t suppose you lived next door to a monster,” she told the documentary Friday at 9, on Portugal’s national RTP channel.
Her daughter Rosie, 29, added: “I remember he used to make me feel uncomfortable, I had a bad feeling about him, maybe I had a good sixth sense.”
She continued: “I remember his Jaguar and I remember vans, loads of cars, it looked like a scrapyard.”
Yet despite his strange behaviour and the many odd people who were seen around his house, police have yet to search the villa or probe the nearby area.
“There were no searches in our area, maybe closer to the cliffs, closer to Luz, but not in Sitio das Lajes,” said Rosie.
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Her mother meanwhile confirmed that Brueckner had not been living in the house for at least a year before Maddie went missing in May 2007.
This was due to the German having been arrested in April 2006 for petrol theft for which he spent over 8 months in prison, alongside Austrian friend Michael Tatschl.
The British neighbours had finally gone into the property in May 2006 after an apparent burglary, and on the request of the owner had unwittingly cleaned out most potential DNA matches with Brueckner.
“We went there to clean the house out because it had been burgled,” said Ruth.
“It was empty for some time, I believe, and it was in a really terrible state with food in the fridges, rats, it was not pleasant, not pleasant at all. We just emptied the house.
“There was a massive mess, several computers all turned over, on the floor, dirty clothing, blankets, everything just had to be ditched.
“We just cleared it up, emptied the fridge, the kitchen, cleaned all the surfaces.”
The documentary went on to look at various reports of rapes around the 2004 to 2005 time, in particular those of an elderly American woman and Irish girl Hazel Behan, 20, who was raped in 2004.
In both these rapes the attacker tied up the victims and sinisterly filmed them. Tatschl believes he may have then sold these on the ‘dark web’.
Most alarming was the fact that DNA in the crime of Behan was destroyed by pólice in 2007 and again in 2014.
The documentary also uncovered a series of burglaries – a total of 25 – that took place between January and August 2005, always in the same fashion, in rental homes of German or British tourists.
Police now believe Christian was guilty of committing those.
This was backed up by Tatschl, who said he had ‘hundreds of passports’ kept in hiding places in the house near Luz, as well as cameras, mobile phones, computers and watches.
Locals are now asking for pólice to search the house he lived in near Luz.
“I have never seen activity around here, only reporters, never pólice, no excavations, drones, yes, but no pólice, no searches,” said Ruth.
According to the documentary maker Sandra Felgueira, police in Portugal Are finally accepting that the investigation was poorly handled.
“Basically Amaral, who led the Maddie investigation, was incompetant. He was the wrong man, in the wrong job at the wrong time.
“He just didn’t have the skills to do the job.”
She believes he got fixated on finding Maddie’s parents guilty and ignored many other clues.
“The police were simply not aware of his profile. They did not look at him as the monster he is. They failed to join the dots,” she slammed.
For the past week, the crack journalist, who appeared in the Netflix documentary on Maddie, has also been probing potential links to drug trafficking and the possibility of a paedophile ring operating in the Algarve.
It comes after Brueckner was traced to a house in Foral, a sleepy inland village some 50 minutes from Praia da Luz, in the months after Maddie vanished.
He was staying with and visiting a German woman named Nicole Feringer, who alarmingly was running a rehabilitation programme for troubled teenagers from Germany.
Locals say around the time Brueckner showed up, one of the teens ran away before being dragged back and found to be pregnant.
Felgueira has not been able to confirm anywhere that Nicole had a licence to work with children, nor that she even had any training as a therapist.
Another line of enquiry by Felgueira is whether or not the infamous Joana Cipriano case could be linked to Maddie’s.
The Portuguese eight-year-old disappeared in September 2004 from Figueira, a village in the Algarve just 11km from Praia da Luz, where Maddie disappeared.
But the investigation, run by disgraced cop Goncalo Amaral, rushed to place the blame on the mother and uncle, both vulnerable adults.
After a gruelling 48-hour interrogation, the pair confessed, but the mother withdrew her confession a day later. Covered in bruises, including a black eye, she said police beat a confession out of her, while cops maintained she threw herself down the stairs in the police station in an attempt to take her own life.
Five officers would later be charged for the assault, with just two being convicted, one for the assault, and Amaral for covering it up.
The police filmed a recreational video in which the uncle claimed he fed the body of the girl to some pigs and that she had been chopped up and put in a freezer – however an identically-sized and chopped up figure of the girl did not fit inside the said freezer, casting doubt on the confession.
Felgueira now concludes that she is ‘very hopeful’ of solving the case in the next few months.
“I’m pretty sure we have all the clues to do that,” she added.
Last night German prosecutor Wolters told the documentary that he would like to ‘investigate more in Portugal’ and he ‘continues to believe’ he can solve the case by focussing on Brueckner.