Madeleine McCann prime suspect may not face charges over her disappearance after German court ruling

20 April 2023, 12:25 | Updated: 20 April 2023, 12:51

Christian Brueckner (r) may not face charges in Germany over Madeleine McCann's (l) disappearance
Christian Brueckner (r) may not face charges in Germany over Madeleine McCann's (l) disappearance. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner may not face charges in Germany over the toddler's disappearance after a German court ruling.

Convicted rapist Brueckner, 45, was named as the man responsible for Madeleine's kidnap and murder after investigators in Germany claimed they had "concrete evidence" that she was dead.

Last year he was charged with a string of sex offences last year said to have taken place on the Algarve between 2000 and 2017.

But now his lawyer Friedrich Fulscher has had the charges dropped against him after successfully arguing that prosecutors have no jurisdiction over him in Brunswick, Germany, where the case was being brought.

Christian Brueckner was named as prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's kidnap and murder
Christian Brueckner was named as prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's kidnap and murder. Picture: Alamy
Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007
Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007. Picture: Alamy

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In a statement to MailOnline Mr Fulscher said: "In its decision of April 19, 2023, the Regional Court of Braunschweig declared that it had no jurisdiction over the charge against Christian B. and revoked the arrest warrant against him.

"The defense already pointed out during the preliminary proceedings that the Braunschweig judiciary should not have local jurisdiction.

"For reasons that are not understandable here, the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig clung to its jurisdiction and thus risked being overturned by the Federal Court of Justice if it were opened. This is very questionable, in particular given the fact that a large number of witnesses would have had to appear in court again (on very incriminating issues) in the event of an annulment.

"The court's decision also means that the Braunschweig judiciary is not responsible for the 'Maddie' case."

The ruling will be devastating for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann who had hoped that this would finally end the mystery of what happened to their daughter who vanished from their holiday apartment in Portugal 16 years ago.

Brueckner has protested his innocence in her case insisting that prosecutors are "out to get him" and they have "no evidence" to bring charges.

The decision means that arrest warrants for Brueckner on the case are dismissed but he will not be released from jail where he is serving a seven year sentence for rape and is not due for release until 2026 after a parole request was rejected.

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