4 Apr, 2024 @ 09:52
6 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Lawyer of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner is accused of ‘dirty tactics’ in court – as witness claims they saw paedophile’s ‘home-made rape videos’

THE lawyer of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has been accused of dirty tactics during the sex offender’s trial in Germany.

A key witness in the case claims Friedrich Fulscher worked with a journalist to trick his way into a friend’s social media account in order to locate and grill him.

Helge Bushching’s lawyer yesterday handed a detailed dossier of Facebook messages to the judge presiding over a multiple sex crimes trial of Brueckner in Germany.

The 34 pages of correspondence was allegedly sent by Fulscher and the crime journalist Bastian Schlüter masquerading as Busching’s friend Manfred Seyferth.

UNDER FIRE: Christian Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN)

The pair had teamed up in order to track him down in Corsica.

His lawyer Franz Obst claimed Fulscher had broken Article 138A of the German criminal code and lodged an official complaint with judge Dr Engemann.

The claims centre around how the lawyer from Kiel had teamed up with journalist Schluter to firstly track down and interview Seyferth in Ancona, in Italy.

The pair had then acquired his private Facebook account and password, via stealth, and masqueraded as Seyferth on Facebook Messenger in order to speak to Busching, it is claimed.

While Fulscher is likely to have to explain his involvement, he claimed his client was unable to get a fair trial due to all the negative media reports in the run up.

In particular, he claimed a bias by the prosecutors, who continually leaked information about Brueckner, including how cops found a giant stash of child porn at one of his properties.

Helge Bushching’s lawyer yesterday handed a detailed dossier of Facebook messages to the judge presiding over a multiple sex crimes trial of Brueckner in Germany. (Pictured: Helge Busching, COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN)

He also slammed prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters (who was in the audience watching) for claiming that he was ‘100% sure’ Brueckner was guilty of killing toddler McCann in May 2007.

Brueckner is the German authority’s prime suspect in the snatch from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, where he has also been made an official suspect (arguido).

He is currently serving a seven-year sentence over the rape of a 72-year-old American pensioner, Diana Menkes, also in Praia da Luz, in 2005.

Yesterday, the German court heard how a former acquaintance saw the sex offender in two home-made rape videos allegedly made by Brueckner.

Busching – who is in witness protection over the case – told Braunschweig Court the two victims – a pensioner and a teenager – were both shackled and beaten before being raped.

Christian Brueckner is accused of a string of sex crimes against women and children (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN)

The 53-year-old – who lived for many years in Portugal and Spain – recalled his shock when he saw Brueckner take off a mask at the end of one filmed attack.

He added the rape was not consensual as the pensioner in her 70s called out “you f***ing bastard” in English during the attack, which was filmed on two cameras from different angles.

He said he had ‘severely whipped’ the lady, who was blindfolded with eye glasses that had been painted grey (so she couldn’t see).

“At the end he pulled down his mask, a balaclava, and I realised it was him, Christian.”

He added the film ended with the woman lying on a bed and the suspect putting a ‘pillow over this lady’s face’.

In the second video he saw a ‘young girl, about 14 or 15, with long black hair’ tied to a post at Brueckner’s rented home just outside Praia da Luz.

The girl was naked and explained how she was tied to a post that he recognised from Brueckner’s property.

Busching, a petty thief who lived for many years in Spain and Italy, said: “She was shouting at Christian: ‘you know what this is? This is rape’.”

MADELEINE: Disappeared in Portugal back in 2007

“But he just sat on the end of the bed laughing,” he continued. “I couldn’t believe what I was watching.” 

Busching – who has been in witness protection for four years – revealed he had later shown the films to his pal Manfred and to a British bar owner in Santa Clara in Portugal.

Both films were made on the Algarve in 2005 – two years before Maddie went missing – as he remembered seeing the date at the top of the picture.

He revealed how he and pal Manfred, a German, had found the films along with a Sony video camera and about 20 more cassettes when they had visited Brueckner’s home in April 2006.

It came after they heard how Brueckner and his friend Michael Tatschl had been put in prison for diesel theft that month.

When they got to the home – less than a kilometre from the Ocean Club where Maddie vanished in May 2007 – they found the door open.

He revealed it had already been ransacked but there were still plenty of items around ‘worth stealing’.

Looking relaxed in a black Lacoste polo shirt, jeans and polished black shiny shoes, Busching explained they didn’t take laptops, as they could be identified, but they stole a camera, some fuel as well as a gun.

He added the pistol had later been thrown into Santa Clara reservoir, some 45 minutes inland from Praia da Luz.

It was only when they had returned home later that night to his caravan parked up in Santa Clara that he decided to watch the films.

“They were in a shoe box with a lot of videos in it… Not large VHS videos but small ones. Many were tourist videos from people in Spain and Portugal.

“I took the video recorder as I wanted to sell it, but I kept the videos in a caravan in Santa Clara.

“I ended up leaving it there as I had to return to Spain quickly.”

In mostly convincing testimony that lasted for six hours, he described Bruecker as ‘dangerous’ and then added his ‘biggest regret’ was not going to police sooner with the evidence.

“I don’t know why I didn’t take the videos straight to the police. I regret this. It was the biggest failure of my life,” he said.

That said he insisted he had first tried to give evidence to the McCann family in the UK, in 2008, via a detective agency run by Dave Edgar.

It came after he had seen an appeal by Edgar on Spanish television in Valencia, where he lived at the time.

But they had ignored him (due to receiving thousands of tips) and it was not until a decade later that he had first given his evidence to two police detectives from Scotland Yard in Athens in 2017.

The following year he backed it up to the German BKA in Wiesbaden.

“I have been carrying this around in my stomach for years but I didn’t try and give evidence again until 2017 as I was afraid I would get into trouble for breaking into the house to steal them (the videos).

“I was also involved in other things so I kept my mouth shut for a while.”

Later, in cross-examination, Busching denied he had been paid by Scotland Yard for the information he had given them.

He also told the court how his life had turned upside down after it emerged he was a key witness in the trial and he had quit his ‘good job’ in Corsica and had to move away.

It was from that moment in June 2020 that he had to go into witness protection.

“I lost my job, my friends and my family because of all this,” he said.

He had earlier recalled how he had first met Brueckner in Portugal in 2006 via his friends Seyferth and Tatschl, who called him the ‘Head waiter’ (oberkellner) as he always dressed smartly. 

During cross-examination he was asked to describe and then draw a whip he had seen Brueckner use in the videos.

It led to an almost comical moment when he was given a pen and paper by the judge and had to stand up by her desk to make the sketch. Within a minute the dozen or so lawyers and specialists were all gathered around him watching.

Later he was questioned by forensic psychologist Christian Riedemann and also by the lawyer of Irish rape victim Hazel Behan, who was particularly interested in the way Brueckner had prepared and used the camera during his attacks. 

‘Was there a tripod and how were the cables used,’ he asked. Busching replied he could ‘see the tripod and second camera’ in one of the attacks and added he had later stolen one of the cameras with a tripod.

Busching has previously revealed to German media Brueckner was an expert lock picker and could have easily got into the apartment in Praia da Luz where Maddie was snatched.

He told Bild, Brueckner even boasted he had a ‘burglary toolkit’ which he would use to ‘break into hotels and holiday homes to steal from tourists’.

Later in the afternoon, Brueckner’s lawyer, Friedrich Fulscher, started to grill Busching, firstly bringing up money he was allegedly paid by the media and then exactly what he had found at Brueckner’s rental home.

He also asked him about his prison record, in particular, if he was ‘in jail in Greece’, to which he replied, “you can go to Greece and find out if you want”.

Busching – who has never denied being a petty thief – must return to field further questions from the defence in June.

The trial continues tomorrow with evidence from Austrian Michael Tatschl, who spent time with Brueckner in Portugal – eight months of it in prison – and later Orgiva, near Granada.

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.

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