‘WE will never give up’. This is the message from the Parents of Madeleine McCann to mark her 20th birthday.
Kate and Gerry McCann vowed to carry on the search for their missing daughter in a post on the official Find Madeleine McCann Facebook page, adding that they would keep looking ‘for as long as it takes’.
It was May 3, 2007 when Maddie – aged just three at the time – vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz.
No sign of Madeleine has been found since that fateful day, despite massive world-wide publicity and police investigations costing millions of pounds, which are still ongoing.
But the finger of suspicion has been pointed at convicted German sex offender Christian Brueckner, who is serving a jail sentence.
Brueckner, who spent a lot of time living in Granada as well as the Algarve, was identified as a suspect in the case in June 2020, with German prosecutors painstakingly building a case against him.
He also faces charges over the rape of an Irish woman, amongst other offences.
Despite press reports that charges against Brueckner had been dropped, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told the Olive Press last month that a trial had not been cancelled.
A date has not yet been set for a hearing of the five charges that were levelled at the convicted paedophile, 46, in October last year.
The chief prosecutor in the case has told the Olive Press it is ‘merely an issue of jurisdiction’ and the trial will ‘certainly’ still go ahead.
Wolters confirmed there was ‘no reason to speculate’ and ‘nothing has changed’ after Braunschweig Landgericht, or the city’s lower court, provisionally passed the case over to the region of Magdeburg.
“And in terms of the Maddie case, for now, nothing will change as a result of the decision and we are continuing to investigate it,” he added.
In fact, police sources in Germany, told the Olive Press the case against Brueckner abducting and killing the British toddler in Praia da Luz, in May 2007, is ‘stronger than ever’.
And meanwhile, new evidence has emerged over the five sex charges, three rapes and two child abuse cases, all in Portugal, between 1999 and 2017.
In particular, in the vicious rape of Irish woman, Hazel Behan, on the Algarve, in 2004, a new ‘key witness’ has recently come forward, the Olive Press can reveal.
The technicality, which will merely slow down the prosecution ‘between two and five months’, came about after Brueckner’s lawyer, Friedrich Fulscher, insisted the Braunschweig court had no jurisdiction over the case, as his client’s last address was near Magdeburg, 100km away.
However, as Wolters explained, this was a deserted box factory, in the village of Neuwegersleben, that had no running water, electricity or sewage.
Under German law you cannot be registered permanently at such an address and he will appeal the decision to Braunschweig’s upper court next week.
Failing that he will argue his case at Germany’s BGH High Court, which he would be ‘confident of winning’ as it has already made similar rulings on jurisdiction cases.
He is certain the sex offender was living on and off in Braunschweig since 2013 and had various addresses, plus an official PO Box there.
He has also been tried and convicted of the rape of a 70-year-old American pensioner, in Portugal, in 2005, at Braunschweig court, for which he is serving a seven-year prison sentence.
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