Madeleine McCann detective reveals bombshell tip-off that led police to identify prime suspect Christian Brueckner

2 May 2024, 16:44

Christian Brueckner is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Christian Brueckner is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have revealed a bombshell clue that led them to identify Christian Brueckner as their prime suspect.

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German man Brueckner is on trial for unrelated sex crimes in the city of Braunschweig. The crimes are said to have been committed in the same area of Portugal where Madeleine went missing in May 2007.

Metropolitan police officer Detective Constable Mark Draycott has appeared at the trial to tell of how he spoke to Helge Busching, who is a key witness in the disappearance of Madeleine.

Convicted people smuggler Busching told Draycott of his fears that Brueckner was involved in Madeleine's case in 2017 - three years before the German was named as prime suspect in 2020.

He told the court: "One of my jobs was to check the answerphone on a daily basis, and on May 18 I checked the answer phone and there was a message.

Read more: Madeleine McCann investigation to receive up to £192,000 extra funding, Home Office confirms

Read more: 'I have said Auf Wiedersehen': Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner disowned by his mother over crimes

Handout Photo of Madeleine McCann who has been missing since May 3 2007.
Handout Photo of Madeleine McCann who has been missing since May 3 2007. Picture: Alamy

"It was from a male by the sound of his voice, he spoke good English, and he asked to speak to Dave Edgar, he said he had information, and he left a Greek mobile number.

"I then rang this Greek mobile number, and spoke to a male I now know to be Helge Lars Busching, within that conversation he referred to himself as Lars, and he gave information in relation to the McCann investigation.

"As a result of that information we conducted other inquiries and searches and this became a line of enquiry".

DC Draycott said that eventually Mr Busching gave a statement to the police in 2018.

He asked by the judge if the Met had ever made promises to Busching in return for his help - which he denied.

Christian Brueckner sits in the courtroom during his trial at Braunschweig Regional Court
Christian Brueckner sits in the courtroom during his trial at Braunschweig Regional Court. Picture: Alamy

DC Draycott said Busching told him that he had seen Brueckner at a festival in 2008, the year after the 3-year-old Madeleine disappeared.

Busching told police that Brueckner said him: "It was strange she didn't scream when she was taken." This has since become a key piece of evidence against him.

British police then contacted their German counterparts, and Brueckner was arrested.

Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine's parents display a poster of their missing daughter in 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine's parents display a poster of their missing daughter in 2007. Picture: Getty

Brueckner is on trial accused of three rapes and two sexual assaults between 2000 and 2017.

He is already serving a seven-year jail term for rape. He has never been charged with Madeleine’s disappearance and has denied any involvement.

The news comes after additional £192,000 was granted for the Scotland Yard investigation into her disappearance.

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