EXTRADITION proceedings are being launched to bring five new charges against Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner.
A German prosecutor confirmed this week that he is sending paperwork to officially extradite Brueckner from Italy, where he was last a free man, despite him actually being in a German jail.
Describing it as ‘a formality’, he told the Olive Press, that it would mean the German paedophile being charged with five new offences ‘within weeks’.
The crimes – three rapes and two child sex assaults – are expected to come to court in the early autumn.
“It’s only a formality and I hope it’s not a problem,” said Hans Christian Wolters, the chief prosecutor, in Braunschweig, where the Madeleine McCann case is being handled.
“I hope it will only be some weeks or a month,” he added. “I hope this year we will charge and prosecute him for these crimes. In total, three rapes and two child sex offences.”
A prosecution against Brueckner, 45, in the case of abducted Madeleine, who vanished in Portugal, in May, 2007, will follow immediately after.
Wolters revealed he was now seeking to prosecute Brueckner for two rapes in addition to the sadistic attack on an Irish woman, Hazel Behan, in Portugal, in 2004.
Both attacks – one on a teenager and the other on an elderly lady – took place around the same time on the Algarve.
While the victims have not yet been revealed, the evidence comes from two videos Brueckner allegedly made of the attacks, witnessed by his former friends Manfred Seyferth and Helge Busching.
“We hope the evidence of Helge and Manfred will be enough, although the charges would be easier if we had those videos,” said Wolters this week.
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman, Diana Menkes, in Praia da Luz, in 2005.
The convicted rapist filmed the long ordeal, in which he beat his victim before assaulting her, as he allegedly did during the rape of Behan, who was 20 at the time.
As well as the evidence of his former friends, one of his hairs was found at the scene of the crime.
Brueckner – who has a number of convictions for child sex assaults going back to his teens – was living less than a mile from the holiday home, where Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz, at the time.
German prosecutors hope to convict him in another case, in which a young German girl, 10, was sexually assaulted on nearby Zalema beach, less than a month before Maddie was abducted.
He is also accused of exposing himself to a group of children at a late night event, in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines, in 2017.
“We are extraditing him over the Joana.E case, as well as three children he sexually assaulted at a snail festival in Portugal in 2017,” continued Wolters.
He explained they needed to officially extradite Brueckner from Italy as he had last been arrested there in 2018, when he was accidentally freed from a German prison and fled there, via Holland among other countries.
He had been picked up by police in Milan in September 2018, after applying to the consulate there for a new passport.
At the time he was extradited to complete a prison sentence for drug smuggling, as well as face charges in the rape trial of Diana Menkes.
As the five charges this month are all new, the Germans need to put through another official application.
“We can’t charge him until we get the answer from Italy,” explained Wolters. “Italy was interested in extraditing him the last time, so we don’t expect it to be long.”
The move comes after a series of files of evidence in all five cases was officially sent to Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher, in Kiel, last month.
As is the legal process in Germany a suspect’s lawyer must be given up to three weeks to study the evidence, before he is officially charged.
Fulscher has now played the legal process card, which means the German prosecution must undertake the necessary step of officially extraditing him from Italy.
Fulscher has already attempted to pour cold water over the evidence in the Behan rape claiming on national German TV that the victim had wrongly placed a cross tattoo on one of his thighs.
This is firmly denied by Behan’s lawyer, who has sent a legal letter demanding that Fulscher also desists from contacting his client directly, as he did by email in August 2020.
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