MADELEINE McCann suspect Christian Bruckner will finally go on trial on February 16 next year, it can be revealed.

German prosecutors have confirmed it will be a Friday morning start for the multiple sex crimes trial of the German paedophile.

Expected to last for ‘up to three months’, it will be presided over by a ‘panel of four to five judges’, it can be revealed.

Taking place at Braunschweig High Court, Brueckner’s lawyer has ‘accepted’ the start date, despite filing a claim against one of the key witnesses, Helge Busching, last week.

“It’s set to begin on February 16, a Friday and a half day, but there should be enough time to hear all the charges,” revealed prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters.

Maddie Abductor
IN THE DOCK: Christian Brueckner will stand trial from February 16
Hazel
FIGHTING BACK: Rape victim Hazel Behan previously told the Olive Press she was happy to see Brueckner in court. copyright Olive Press Spain

“Everyone is available that day and assuming there are not too many holdups from Christian’s lawyer, Mr Fulscher, we will hear his reply to the charges.”

He continued: “The first witnesses will be brought in the following week.

“There will be four to five judges, two of them lay judges, normal people who are brought in for such cases.”

Brueckner, 46, will be tried for five sex crimes, three involving minors.

They include three rapes, one of Irish woman, Hazel Behan, who was just 20 when she was viciously attacked during a four-hour ordeal in Portugal.

Two other rapes are understood to have been filmed at the small farmhouse he rented just outside Praia da Luz, where Madeleine McCann was snatched in May 2007.

The victims were a young teenage girl and an elderly woman in her late 50s or 60s, both of whom were tied to a post in the living room.

Maddie
MADELEINE: Disappeared in Portugal back in 2007

He is also facing the sexual assault of a young German girl, 10, on a beach near Praia da Luz, a month before Madeleine went missing.

During the broad-daylight attack on Zalema beach, the naked attacker firstly spoke in English, then German, before clambering away up a steep slope in full sight of the girl’s parents.

A further sexual assault on four children also took place in Portugal in 2017.

During the midsummer attack in Sao Bartolomeo de Messines, Brueckner allegedly flashed and masturbated in front of the kids as they played at midnight in a playpark.

An off-duty female officer was fortunately nearby and was able to detain him before discovering there was a European arrest warrant out for Brueckner.

The following year he was tried and found guilty of the horrific, sadistic rape of an American pensioner, also in Praia da Luz, in 2005.

He is currently serving seven years for the offence, in which one of his hairs was found in the 72-year-old’s bedroom.

In the case of Hazel Behan, in Portimao, in 2004, the evidence was illegally destroyed, for no explained reason, within two years.

“We expect Hazel to be giving her evidence for a couple of days and then it will be the turn of the other victims and witnesses,” added prosecutor Wolters today.

“The court will have translators in various languages and will be fully prepared.

“An official press release with all the details will be issued shortly.”

Jon Clarke With German Prosecutor Wolters.
Olive Press Publisher Jon Clarke With German Prosecutor Wolters (COPYRIGHT Olive Press Spain)

Meanwhile, he brushed off the official complaint issued to the court last week by Brueckner’s lawyer over key witness, Helge Busching, a former acquaintance of the German sex offender, to whom he allegedly confessed the Maddie abduction to in 2008.

“It will not be a problem at all, don’t worry. I spoke to Helge yesterday and it’s only an attempt to paint him in a bad picture,” said Wolters.

“We understand the issue and he will be fine.”

He also confirmed that the investigation ‘very much continues’ into the Maddie case and he expects a trial date for the abduction to be ‘set soon’.

“It’s certainly ongoing and I’m heavily involved, but the focus right now is on the trial in February,” he added.

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