Irish tour guide feared Madeleine McCann suspect 'would behead her during rape' as full accusations revealed in court

23 February 2024, 11:45

Accusations against Brueckner have been read out in court
Accusations against Brueckner have been read out in court. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

An alleged rape victim of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner feared he would behead her, a German court has heard.

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Brueckner, 47, was said to use rape drugs to leave his victims incapacitated and hold them prisoner.

The German is accused of three rapes and two sexual assaults said to have been carried out on Portugal's Algarve coast in a period from 2000 to 2017.

The alleged attacks took place close to where Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Braunschweig regional court heard he tied Irish tour guide Hazel Behan to table legs and raped her after breaking into a ground floor flat over the balcony.

He asked if she was afraid of him and whipped her during the 2004 ordeal, the court was told.

Ute Lindemann, prosecuting, said: "While holding [a] knife, the accused asked the injured party to go to the bathroom, which she verbally refused in no uncertain terms.

Madeleine McCann has been missing for more than 15 years
Madeleine McCann has been missing for more than 15 years. Picture: Alamy
Brueckner appeared in court on Friday
Brueckner appeared in court on Friday. Picture: Getty

"The accused did not pursue this request, but instead grabbed the injured party by her hair again, dragged her to the small sofa in front of the living room window and asked her to kneel in front of the sofa and lower her head.

"At that moment, the witness Behan was in fear of death because she feared that the accused would cut off her head with the knife."

He is also accused of raping and beating a woman aged between 70 and 80 and making a 14-year-old girl vomit as he orally raped her.

The German's trial is not linked to the three-year-old's disappearance, but he was named as the prime suspect nearly four years ago.

The convicted rapist's lawyer Mr Fulscher complained at the start of proceedings: "Since June 2020, our client Christian Brueckner has been under constant worldwide media fire.

Read more: What happened to Madeleine McCann? Timeline of events and developments in the 16 years since her abduction

"According to the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office, he allegedly abducted and murdered Madeleine Beth McCann.

"The investigating authorities have been repeating this theory to the media like a prayer wheel."

Brueckner's lawyer complained about the attention drawn to his client over the Madeleine allegations
Brueckner's lawyer complained about the attention drawn to his client over the Madeleine allegations. Picture: Getty

He added: "The results of the investigation have not yet been presented to the defence, so that the accused has not been able to substantiate this allegation. A comparable media campaign of prejudgement has been sought in vain.

"The greatest challenge for the court in these proceedings will be to free itself from these ulterior motives when investigating the procedural truth and assessing the evidence with regard to the accusations levelled."

Read more: Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner seen for first time in four years as he faces rape charges in German court

Brueckner was brought to court in a police van and arrived in handcuffs and surrounded by guards.

As his trial got under way, he listened to proceedings and looked through a file in front of him.

Brueckner faces trial in Germany
Brueckner faces trial in Germany. Picture: Handout

He made notes and sometimes whispered to his legal team.

It took nearly half-an-hour to read out the indictment.

Last week, the court sat for just ten minutes as one of the judges was asked to quit by Brueckner's team because she was alleged to have made threats against former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

British police continue to consider Madeleine's case to still be a missing person investigation.

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