11 Oct, 2022 @ 18:55
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Irish rape victim reveals ‘delight’ at finally seeing Maddie suspect Christian Brueckner in court after ’18 long years’


A RAPE victim allegedly attacked by Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has revealed her happiness to face him in court after nearly two decades.

Hazel Behan, 39, thought she had ‘zero chance’ of seeing her attacker in Portugal ever face charges.

The former holiday rep was just 20 when she had been sadistically attacked by a ‘German man with piercing blue eyes’ at her apartment in Portimao.

FIGHTING BACK: Rape victim Hazel Behan happy to see Brueckner in court. copyright Olive Press Spain

The attacker – who German police believe was convicted sex offender Brueckner – had climbed up to her apartment balcony and subjected her to a four-hour ordeal.

Starting at 3am on June 16, 2004, he had ‘brutally raped’ her while holding a knife and also filming her.

According to prosecutors in Braunschweig, in Germany, he will finally face trial over the attack, in which he also tied her up and beat her.

“I am delighted that after many hours and days of interviews in Ireland and Germany I am finally going to see justice,” Behan told the Olive Press today.

The former Sinn Fein constituency manager from Dublin continued: “It was very hard and gruelling going back over the attack, having to spend over 20 hours with detectives in Ireland and then three days with police in Germany. But the specific dedicated teams in both countries were so sensitive and good at taking me back to my room that night.”

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RAT’S LAIR: Brueckner’s rented home in nearby Praia da Luz. copyright Olive Press Spain

Behan, who had been just two weeks before her 21st birthday, continued:  “It was the most horrific attack and went on for hours and hours, all being filmed.”

Speaking from her home in Ireland, the mother-of-three added: “I always said from the get-go that my attacker was a German with piercing blue eyes and a voice I would recognise immediately.

“When Brueckner’s name was released in connection to the Madeleine case and to the rape of that poor woman Diana Menkes, I knew it was him. I knew I had to speak out and help the police. My family were behind me 100%. In fact, it was my brother who had spotted it first on RTE and sent me a link. The minute I saw it, I was certain he was my attacker. It made me sick to the core.

“Until that day I knew I had to bury it. I knew I had zero chance of justice, but thanks to all of the campaigning and the perseverance of Madeleine’s amazing parents, today, 18 long years after my rape, I have an opportunity to see my attacker behind bars.

“I just wish I could have got the Portuguese police to do their actual jobs at the time, as if they had, Diana would not have been raped, and Madeleine would be alive today. And maybe others.”

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SCENE OF CRIME: Hazel has crossed this bridge back to her apartment a few hours earlier . Copyright Olive Press Spain

The married mum, who lives near Dublin, added: “It’s been a very tough two years with all the media attention and stress of bringing it all up again. I had to leave my job, a great job as a secretarial assistant in Sinn Fein and I won’t deny I’ve been in a very dark place.

“I am looking forward to the trial and closure in the Spring and I really hope the media can respect my privacy.”

Her lawyer Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, added today: “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”

The solicitor, highly experienced in European law and spending considerable time in Strasbourg, added: “It is amazing it has taken Hazel so many years to get any opportunity of justice. We are confident that the German police are mounting a strong and credible case.

“What happened in Portugal in 2004 is a stain on justice worldwide.”




Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es

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