Case against German Madeleine McCann suspect 'faces collapse as key witness threatens to withdraw help'

15 September 2023, 05:36

A key witness has claimed suspect Christian Brueckner told him ‘she didn’t scream’
A key witness has claimed suspect Christian Brueckner told him ‘she didn’t scream’. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

German police fear the case against their main suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is collapsing after a key witness threatened to withdraw his help.

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Detectives have been building a case against Christian Brueckner, who is in prison for raping a woman in Praia da Luz.

But sources say their main witness, "Helge B", who was friends with Brueckner, is now "wobbling".

"Word is that Helge B is about to withdraw his evidence," a German source told The Sun.

"He was paid a huge sum to repeat his statement in a German newspaper and now he's pulling the plug."

Helge B had said Brueckner told him about Madeleine's disappearance at a music festival in Spain not long after she vanished.

Christian Brueckner
Christian Brueckner . Picture: Alamy

It was claimed Brueckner, now 45, implied he had taken her.

The prosecutor leading the case, Has Christian Wolters, said he was unaware whether Helge B had changed his mind.

"Anyone who has said something must be measured by it. Witnesses are subject to the duty of truth — they have to testify. You can't just choose something like that," he said.

Brueckner has pleaded with his friends to support him if he faces trial for child rape.

Last autumn Bruecker was charged in Germany with several sex crimes on the Algarve against women and children including the rape of an Irish holiday rep in 2004 and the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl on a Portuguese beach in 2007.

He is the prime suspect in the separate disappearance of Madeleine, who vanished from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007 aged three. He denies any involvement in her case.

A friend told the Mirror: "I know of two people who got the messages from Chris. It really freaked them out. They hadn’t heard from him in years and then these letters suddenly arrived in the post from Germany.

Read more: 'The world believes I killed Maddie...I didn't': Madeleine McCann prime suspect letters from prison cell revealed

Read more: Key Madeleine McCann witness reveals moment suspect Christian Brueckner 'confessed' and how 'she didn’t scream'

Madeleine McCann who vanished in 2007
Madeleine McCann who vanished in 2007. Picture: social media

"He was asking them to speak in his defence, about what a good guy he was. He said the German police and prosecutors have it in for him, that they are saying he is a monster.

"It's outrageous for Chris to ask for help because now we all know about his past. Back when we were hanging with him in the early 2000s it was all a secret.

"We didn't know he was a paedophile. But now he doesn't stand a chance of anybody speaking up for him in court."

Brueckner is serving a seven-year prison sentence for rape and drug trafficking. He is due to be let out in 2026.

Separate letters from Brueckner were revealed for the first time in May, showing that the convicted sex offender has been trying to plead his innocence.

The German is hoping to convince authorities and the public that he is innocent, despite police singling him out as the prime suspect in Maddie's disappearance.

One letter he wrote days before Portuguese police started searching a remote reservoir near where the little girl went missing in 2007 said: "You can never imagine how it is when the whole world believes you are a child murderer, and you are not."