17 May, 2024 @ 11:22
4 mins read

‘His eyes bored into my skull’: Irish former expat picks out Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner as her rapist as she tells court he wore women’s tights and underwear during horror attack

A FORMER expat who claims she was raped by Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has insisted she will never forget his ‘piercing’ blue eyes.

It came after Hazel Behan, 40, was accused of making up the rape claims against the German sex offender.

Facing her attacker on the second day of testimony in a German court, the mother-of-three said his eyes had ‘bored into my skull’.

It was these ‘very intense blue eyes’ that had made her come forward when Brueckner, 47, became the prime suspect in the McCann case in June 2020.

READ MORE: Day 1 of Irish alleged Brueckner victim’s testimony

Pic 11 Mugshot Of Christian Brueckner
Christian Brueckner
Hazel’s former apartment in Portugal where Brueckner is alleged to have launched horror rape attack (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN)

In particular she had recognised his eyes from a photo she had seen of him on Google.

“It had made me feel physically sick seeing them,” she told Braunschweig court, with Brueckner sitting and staring at her from just four metres away.

Towards the end of the gruelling six-hour session, she added: “I believe this man is the attacker,” looking directly at him.

She went on to recall further details of the harrowing attack, at the age of 20, when working at a holiday resort in Portimao, Portugal, in 2004.

For a second day she was asked to remember being woken up by her attacker who was carrying a knife and wearing a mask showing just his eyes.

“When you are in that situation and there is nothing else you can see other than their eyes, it is the only thing you remember,” she said.

Hazel Behan Rte
Hazel Behan during a previous interview with Irish broadcaster RTE

“They were bored into my skull, I will never forget them. They were so blue, everything was so dark, but they seemed so bright, I’ll never forget them.”

When Brueckner’s lawyer, Friedrich Fulscher, asked how many times she had looked him in the eye, during the attack, she replied: “I couldn’t count how many times, or how long. But he was the only person in the room with me and the only person I could see. 

“They left a huge mark on me. They were just very very blue.”

The former holiday rep, who now works in administration, was then asked if she recalled anything else ‘unusual’ about her attacker, who had filmed the attack carefully placing a camera, alongside the knife on top of her television.

She again pointed out the distinct ‘mark’ or ‘dark spot’ on his right thigh and how he had acted very oddly, wearing women’s tights or a leotard and had the smell of shampoo.

She had previously suggested it was a cross-like mark, a tattoo or ‘a pull’ in the ‘60 denier’ tights Brueckner was wearing. He denies he has such a mark.

“His behaviour was really not normal. I found him very aggressive, hateful, even,” she said. “I had the feeling he thought: I am the man, I have the control.”

Hazel
Hazel Behan is facing her alleged rapist Christian Brueckner in court this week (Copyright Olive Press Spain)

She continued: “He smelt of shampoo, a shampoo my mum had bought me that I had in the bathroom.” She was unable to explain why.

“He wasn’t wearing shoes and his tights were 60 den, definitely tights. He was wearing something over the top that looked like female underwear, some sort of flexible material, like bikini bottoms,” she recalled.

The previous day she told the court she had smelt the fruit-flavoured condoms that he had taken to the attack which came in a purple packet.

The court went on to hear allegations that she could have made the rape up, despite continuing to suffer pain and panic attacks to this day.

Behan, of County Westmeath, told judge Ute Engelmann she ‘couldn’t understand’ why her ex-partner would claim she was ‘lying’ about the incident.

When the judge announced that British expat, Jason Coates, had sent an email claiming she had made up the rape, Behan hit back suggesting he was bitter.

She said they had not spoken for 15 years, despite having a son together, and he had effectively ‘dumped her bags in the street’ outside their house in Portugal and told her to leave in February 2007.

The debate hinged on the relevance of police in Portugal finding his DNA in her underwear around the time of the attack.

The judge asked whether she had sex with Coates around the time of the incident. She said she assumed so but couldn’t remember exactly when.

But she did say Coates had ‘not wanted a baby’ and said she would be just another ‘statistic’.

She told the court: “He said he didn’t like how I looked pregnant and when he put my bags out on the street he said he didn’t care what happened to me and that I was dirty.”

She continued: “Jason told me he would spend the rest of his life talking bad about me to make people hate me.”

Behan said she had been raped after she was followed home from an Irish pub in Portimao, where she argued with Coates, who German police are trying to locate in Spain and France.

She reiterated she felt she was being watched from a ‘wasteland’ overlooking her apartment and that someone had burgled her ‘about two weeks earlier’. 

Money had gone missing from the apartment, around €70, that was kindly replaced by her boss.

She also said the lock on her first floor balcony door was faulty and despite complaints to fix it or move her to a higher floor, the management at Clube Praia da Rocha ignored her.

Disgracefully, there was ‘a series of steps’ up to a water hydrant cover just below the balcony making access even easier.

Brueckner – who has been described as a prolific burglar and ‘master climber’ – lived in the area at the time and had membership at the local Casino da Praia da Rocha, the Olive Press can reveal. 

He also regularly camped in his distinctive blue and white VW van on nearby beaches.

He is currently serving a seven year sentence for a sadistic rape on an American woman, Diana Menkes, 72, in nearby Praia da Luz in 2005. 

British toddler Madeleine, then three, was snatched from her holiday bed in the resort two years later on May 3, 2007.

In the current trial Brueckner is facing four other sex crimes, all committed on the Algarve between 2000 and 2017 and involving two rapes and two assaults on children. 

Behan waived her right to anonymity and agreed to give evidence in a public trial and not a private hearing that was offered to her, to ‘encourage’ other women to come forward to rape crisis centres around the world.

“I wanted other women to feel there was a safe place they could contact,” she told the court. “I had nowhere to go when it happened to me, that was the reason.”

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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