THE prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is to be charged with the rape of a young woman early next year.

Christian Brueckner will be charged over the sex assault on an Irish girl, who was working on the Algarve.

Hazel Behan had been violently raped in a horrific evening attack in Portimao, in 2004, three years before Madeleine was snatched from nearby Praia da Luz.

In the case of the 20-year-old the attacker was wearing a balaclava, but Behan recognized his eyes and voice.

Christian Brueckner And Maddie
Christian Brueckner And Madeleine McCann

The attack had ‘remarkable similarities’ with a second attack the following year in the small resort, reported Spiegel.

Brueckner, 45, is currently serving a seven-year sentence for the 1995 rape on a pensioner, who lived less than 1000 metres from where Madeleine went missing.

The respected German media group reported that prosecutors found the attack of the American, 72, had the same ‘modus operandi’ as the earlier attack in Portimao.

In both attacks the women were first threatened with a 30cm long knife.

Both attacks and subsequent rapes were also filmed by the assailant.

In the case of the 20-year-old the attacker was wearing a balaclava, but Behan recognised his eyes and voice.

She told Sky News last year she is convinced the attacker is Brueckner.

Brueckner lived in Luz for seven years from 1999 and knew the resort well.

As reported by the Olive Press two months ago, Brueckner is also set to be charged with up to six separate sex crimes next year.

Prosecutor in Braunschweig, Hans Christian Wolters told editor Jon Clarke – in his book My Search for Madeleine – that ‘some are easier than others’ to prove.

The Olive Press understands the sexual assault of a child on a beach near Praia da Luz in 2007 and the flashing to four young kids in 2017, also on the Algarve, are the most likely to be leveled at him in February and March.

“While he is still the main suspect in the Madeleine case, these easier cases will be tried first,” said a German source close to the prosecutors this week.

“He will be charged with Madeleine later in the year,” she added.

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