THE prime suspect in the case of missing Madeleine McCann will be charged with three separate sex crimes in February.
Christian Brueckner will face ‘up to nine years’ in prison for the violent rape of an Irish girl in Portugal in 2004.
He will also face a number of years each for the sexual assault of five young children in 2007 and 2017.
Both attacks were close to Praia da Luz, where British toddler Madeleine McCann vanished during a family holiday in May 2007 just before her fourth birthday.
The Olive Press can reveal that prosecutors in Germany have built up an ‘extremely strong case’ against the German, 45, in all three cases.
The strongest is hinged around his fingerprints being left in the apartment of the rape victim, Hazel Behan, it has emerged.
Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters will accuse Brueckner of waking the 20-year-old in the middle of the night while wearing a mask and holding a knife to her throat.
Behan’s assailant – who spoke English with a German accent – had climbed up to her first floor balcony and slid open her patio doors, which she had left slightly ajar.
According to a new TV documentary on German channel Sat.1, he had then picked up one of her kitchen knives to threaten her not to scream.
He then proceeded to set up a video camera to record how he violently attacked and then raped her, during an ordeal that lasted over an hour.
By amazing fortune, the programme will reveal, while he had attempted to clean up the scene he left a partial fingerprint on the knife.
“Initially German police believed all the evidence had been destroyed,” said an investigator working on the film Der Fall Maddie – auf der Spur des Taters (meaning The Maddie Case – on the trail of the culprit).
“But while most of it was thrown away by Portuguese police, luckily the main bits had been uploaded onto a computer, including half a fingerprint, which links to Brueckner.
“It makes it a very clear case and the prosecutors in Germany have known about this for some time, since 2017 in fact.
“Wolters is very sure about it and is set to proceed with the conviction now, and we are pretty certain it will be in February.”
The investigator added that while the Maddie case ‘will take a little longer to pull together’ Brueckner will be charged with two other crimes in February.
The first involves the sexual assault of a 10-year-old German girl on a beach, near Praia da Luz, one month before Madeleine went missing in the same resort.
In the sinister broad daylight attack, the girl’s naked assailant had first talked in English, then German, before groping her while playing with himself.
He had been forced to run away in clear sight of the girl’s parents, who noted his age, hair and height to police in a statement the following day.
Brueckner, then 30, fitted the description perfectly.
“There is a good basis for our suspicion,” Wolters told the Olive Press this summer.
“It has really helped that the German tourists have now formally recognised Brueckner,” the German TV source added.
In the second, most recent attack, the German pervert was arrested and extradited back to Germany after being caught exposing himself to four children in a playpark.
Brueckner will be charged with the late night offence, when he stripped off while sitting under a slide during a festival in Messines, in June 2017.
“It is fair to say that the evidence is rather better than other cases,” Wolters also told the Olive Press in June.
“I cannot say how long he will face, but it will be two, four or six years. And it will be higher because it is not his first offence.”
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year sentence for the rape of an American woman, Diana Menkes, who was 72 at the time of the attack in Praia da Luz, in 2005.
Menkes, who passed away earlier this year, also faced a nearly two-hour ordeal that was filmed by Brueckner using a camera and a tripod.
Brave Menkes recognised her assailant and testified against him from America two years before her death. Police found one of his hairs in the beachside apartment close to where he lived.
He used a similar modus operandi in the attack on Behan, who also recognised the German and insisted police reopened the case last year.
Olive Press editor Jon Clarke revealed in his book My Search for Madeleine, published this summer, that friends of Brueckner had found a series of sinister videos at his former home in Praia da Luz.
Four friends spoke out about ‘up to 20’ rape videos, in which Brueckner sometimes appeared.
They had found the hoard in the so-called ‘yellow house’ where he lived overlooking Praia da Luz for seven years.
Police in Germany also unearthed a stash of tens of thousands of films and photos involving child pornography, animal sex and rape.
Brueckner had hidden the collection of memory sticks and other devices under the dead body of his buried dog in a derelict box factory, in Former East Germany.
The former orphan, who has a long crime record, has been twice convicted of child sex abuse offences, involving at least four children, in Germany.
German police made him the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case in June last year, in particular looking for information about two phone numbers and two vehicles.
In a dramatic appeal they announced that his phone had been used in a 30-minute call near the Ocean Club just hours before the toddler went missing.
The German TV documentary set to air in February will give much more detail on the week in question and reveal ‘substantial’ new information.
As well as talking in detail to the police and prosecution, they have had ‘considerable’ communication with both Brueckner and his lawyer.
“It looks extremely likely that Brueckner took Madeleine, but I don’t think he did it alone,” added the investigator. “It is going to be an explosive programme.”
- ‘I’m sure he did it’: Best pal of prime suspect in Madeleine McCann case reveals all in new book
- ‘Tirelessly researched’ new book on missing Madeleine McCann is a deep dive into murky world of Spanish and Portuguese costas