26 Mar, 2024 @ 17:50
6 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Wanted accomplice’ and friend of Christian Brueckner speaks out: “He’s a monster and I’m sure he knows what happened to Madeleine McCann”

By Rainer Burkard and Jon Clarke in Braunschweig

A CLOSE friend of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner sought by police as a witness in the case has finally broken his silence.

Ralph H – a self-confessed ‘accomplice’ of the paedophile – revealed Brueckner, 47, is a ‘very sick man’ and is certain he knows ‘what happened to Maddie’.

“Christian has two faces; the face of a good guy and the face of the monster!” he told the Olive Press.

“He’s a career criminal and simply knows no boundaries.

“Believe me, I’ve known him for years, sold drugs with him, robbed homes with him… Even stole solar panels from the side of the motorway!

“He’s a very sick man and definitely has a thing about children…And while he told me he doesn’t want to talk about the Maddie case, I’m sure he knows something!”

Ralph H says former friend Christian Brueckner is a ‘monster’

Speaking from his home in the Kennelblick allotment community, in Braunschweig, Germany, where Brueckner also rented a home for three years, he continued: “We spent a lot of time together.

“The route to his house led directly past mine so he often stopped by for a chat.”

Ralph H, a local career criminal, met Brueckner soon after he rented his quirky blue gingerbread-style home in 2013.

He added: “I liked him at first. He was always happy to help undertake repairs on my house and other neighbours’ nearby.

“He was constantly bringing (stolen) stuff in and letting everyone use it, things like space hoppers, where you bounce around doing jumps.

“He once gave us small remote-controlled helicopters, everyone got one, it was difficult to fly them, but it was a lot of fun.”

It is the first published interview with Ralph H, 49, since armed police swooped on his home to grill him over his links to the sex offender a fortnight ago.

Ralph H’s house (pictured) was visited by police who wanted to quiz him over his links to Brueckner (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN/RAINER BURKARD)

Making world headlines, he had been forced to flee to a friend’s home in nearby Wolfenbuttel and has been lying low ever since.

Wrongly labelled a ‘suspect’ in the Maddie case, up to ten armed police had actually knocked on his door to interview him about Brueckner voluntarily. 

While they surrounded his house, they did not have a search warrant… and unsurprisingly he has spent little time there since.

“I still hope we can talk to Ralph H about what he knows about Christian B,” prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, told the Olive Press this week.

The lawyer – who is preparing to prosecute Brueckner over the abduction of Maddie, then three, in Portugal in 2007 – added: “I gave all the information (on Ralph) to the BKA, but I’ve had no response to date.

Former house of Christian Brueckner (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN/ RAINER BURKARD)

“Officially we don’t want to say any more about this special witness.”

Ralph himself is adamant however, he will ‘not help the police’ and has now got a lawyer.

“Where I grew up, anyone who goes to the police is out of the community,” he explained.

Speaking from the garden of his small allotment cottage, his words offer a unique insight into the psyche of the long-time sex offender Brueckner, currently facing five other sex assault charges, three of them rapes, at Braunschweig High Court.

While stopping short of openly admitting being a paedophile and sex offender, Brueckner frequently alluded to it, claims Ralph. 

“He had an inner restlessness and was always in financial trouble, despite all the drugs he dealt around the area,” explained Ralph, who grew up in a tough suburb of Braunschweig.

“He also stole a lot and I sometimes drove him to his burglaries and waited in the car. 

In the dock: Brueckner at first day of current trial in Germany (CREDIT: OLIVE PRESS SPAIN)

“He would steal everything he could. One time from the hardware store, other times the grocery store. He would work out the parts of shops where there were no cameras.

“He even dismantled solar panels on the highway in broad daylight. He would put on one of those protective yellow vests like a workman and just get on with it. 

“We also dismantled entire rows of fences at a trade fair in Hanover, and walked off with them.

“A lot are still here today around my house and at Christian’s own allotment garden.”

As to his involvement in crime, Ralph doesn’t try to hide it. 

“Of course I also liked to earn a few euros on the side and so I became his accomplice,” he admitted.

“It bonded us together; he knew he could rely on me and reliability creates trust.”

It was this trust that allowed Ralph to finally see a different deeper side of Brueckner… and learn about his harrowing upbringing and darker crimes.

“Christian told me about his childhood in Wurzburg,” he continued. “How he missed his biological mother who gave him away and his violent stepfather and the lock-up punishments in the cellar.”

MaddieMcCann e
Madeleine McCann vanished from Portugal in 2007

It caused him ‘to die mentally’ and he had to ‘develop survival strategies’ he told Ralph. 

“He developed an inner and an outer demeanour. Two faces exactly,” he explained.

“And violence, of course, begets violence. And as he grew older and taller, Christian took advantage of his physical strength and began to get what he wanted by force. And once Christian got going, there was no stopping him.”

He went on to tell Ralph about his many youth sentences and his aborted apprenticeship as a mechanic. 

Then about his ‘escape’ to Portugal, where his ‘talents’ as a criminal came into their own.

“He met the right crooks in Portugal, he sold drugs at festivals and met a German woman with (a similar) criminal energy.”

He explained how this woman, who became his girlfriend, was able to get them into the homes of the wealthy and always ‘knew where the money was’, on one occasion leading to the theft of €100,000. 

Ralph claimed: “She got work in these wealthy households as a babysitter, scouted them out then organised them to be robbed or burgled. She couldn’t get enough of it”.

Christian was her perfect accomplice, a good burglar who could get into any hotel to steal passports and other items, he alleged. 

“Then this fine lady had the contacts to discreetly turn into money,” explained Ralph. 

“She was a real ice-cold angel, and Christian told me he needed a strong, guiding hand like that. And she even supported his sexual preferences,” he continued.

“I didn’t know his thing was little girls at first, it just came out later when I started to ask questions!

“Of course he kept avoiding the topic, but it slowly became obvious.

“In any case, I knew he was sick. Take the time he undressed his girlfriend naked in the gardens, allowing everyone to touch her.

“It was awful and while everyone was drunk and laughing their heads off, the poor girl was clearly upset and crying. 

“I quickly intervened and grabbed him to put an end to it there and then.

“He was initially angry with me about it, but then he calmed down and let her go home. Thankfully, she had soon left him, helped by some other friends.”

From that day Ralph grew increasingly suspicious of Brueckner, particularly after he was accused of raping a pensioner, 72, to which he was found guilty and given a seven-year sentence in 2020.

Police had already found child pornography on a camera at his kiosk and a mutual friend was investigated for child porn, AFTER Brueckner had been surfing on his laptop.

“I realised he had an even darker soul than I could have imagined, particularly when I discovered he had pimped his own girlfriend as a whore on the internet.

“Clearly nothing was sacred to him and it was then I started to ask him repeatedly about Maddie’s disappearance. 

“I bombarded him with questions about the case and could see he was lying.

“He didn’t want to talk about it and kept avoiding it. 

“But I didn’t let up and suddenly he lost his nerve and dropped his guard for a moment and brought up the Maddie case, and that was that, I really grilled him on it.

“He shuffled around and then finally replied irritably: ‘Actually I don’t want to say anything about that’.

“It was obvious he knew something and had just stopped short of opening up.”

He continued: “I didn’t give up however and I drove him into a corner asking him about the child porn and why he needed three computers at his kiosk.

“Eventually he snapped, became really aggressive and then suddenly he left and climbed over my garden fence without a word and ran away. …and that was that, our friendship was over.”

All that’s left for Ralph, who was brought up in a red light district surrounded by petty criminals, is to look back and try and figure out just what exactly ‘makes Christian tick’.

“When I analyse my friendship with him there’s nothing good I can take away, but one thing is also clear: Christian wasn’t born a monster, he was made that way, I’m sure of that!”

German investigators believe Brueckner abducted and murdered Madeleine McCann from her holiday home in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, though no charges have been filed against him.

His current trial in Braunschweig involves three rapes and two counts of sexual abuse against children in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

Brueckner denies all the charges as well as any involvement in the Maddie case.

The trial continues next week.

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