Suspect in McCann Case on Trial in Germany for Unrelated Sex Offences


Christian Brückner, the prime suspect in the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has appeared in a German court for a trial concerning unrelated sex offences. Brückner is facing charges of rape and sexual abuse dating from 2000 to 2017 in Portugal. He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for rape.

Despite being the main suspect in the McCann case, Brückner has never been charged with her disappearance and denies any involvement. This court appearance was his first since being named as a suspect four years ago. The trial was postponed after Brückner’s defence team claimed that one of the lay judges had posted radical views on social media.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Algarve region in 2007, a case which remains one of the world’s highest-profile missing persons investigations. Brückner, now 47, was identified as a suspect by German investigators in June 2020. Portuguese authorities have also named him as a formal suspect, but no formal charges have been brought against him in the McCann case.

Brückner’s current trial concerns five separate offences in Portugal, including the rape of three women and the sexual abuse of two girls. The trial is taking place in Lower Saxony, where Brückner was last officially registered. If found guilty, he could face between five and 15 years in prison according to German law.

Brückner’s lawyer, Friedrich Fülscher, has argued that the charges are based on “very shaky foundations”. Brückner was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1976 and lived in the Algarve from 1995 to 2007. His criminal record includes convictions for petty crime, theft and rape.

In the aftermath of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, Brückner was not closely investigated. Portuguese police initially named McCann’s parents as suspects, but their status was lifted in 2008 and they later received an apology for the handling of the case. Brückner is currently serving a prison sentence for raping a 72-year-old American tourist in 2005. The outcome of his current trial could determine whether he remains in prison after his current sentence ends in December 2026.

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