Home Australia Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner arrives in court as his unrelated sexual assault trial finally begins in Germany

Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner arrives in court as his unrelated sexual assault trial finally begins in Germany

by Elijah
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Christian Brueckner was photographed pulling up in a prison van outside the courtroom in Brunswick, Lower Saxony.

The man who German prosecutors believe is responsible for Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has arrived in court to stand trial on a series of sexual abuse charges.

Christian Brueckner was photographed pulling up in a prison van outside the courtroom in Brunswick, Lower Saxony, wearing a dark green hooded sweater, shortly after 8am local time this morning.

His bright blue eyes could be seen peering through the bars across the vehicle’s windows before he was pulled out and led past a clamoring crowd of about 40 journalists toward the courthouse.

Armed police stood guard outside as the approximately 100 members of the public queuing to enter the building passed through airport-style security checks.

It is the first time the convicted sex offender has been seen in public since 2020, when he was caught getting into an ambulance for treatment after being assaulted in prison.

The 47-year-old man is accused of three rapes and two indecent assaults in cases involving five women and girls aged between 10 and 80; charges which the convicted sex offender brazenly told MailOnline were “ridiculous”.

Discussing the case before the trial, he mockingly said, “I hope they find some answers to their questions soon.”

If convicted on all charges, Brueckner will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

But officials hope that, upon obtaining a conviction on the charges, Brueckner will relent and offer information about Madeleine in exchange for a more lenient sentence, although sources close to him say he will remain silent and not offer testimony.

Brueckner is already serving a seven-year sentence for raping an elderly American woman in the Algarve in 2005 and was jailed in 2019 following evidence from two former friends who will also testify at his retrial.

Christian Brueckner was photographed pulling up in a prison van outside the courtroom in Brunswick, Lower Saxony.

Christian Brueckner was photographed pulling up in a prison van outside the courtroom in Brunswick, Lower Saxony.

Christian Brueckner was photographed pulling up in a prison van outside the courtroom in Brunswick, Lower Saxony.

Brueckner, 47, was sensationally named in June 2020 by German police as the man responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Madeleine while she was on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

Brueckner, 47, was sensationally named in June 2020 by German police as the man responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Madeleine while she was on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

Police officers stand guard as people queue at the entrance to the court where a man, suspected in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal, is tried in Germany on unrelated sexual assault charges, in Braunschweig, Germany, on February 16th. 2024

Police officers stand guard as people queue at the entrance to the court where a man, suspected in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal, is tried in Germany on unrelated sexual assault charges, in Braunschweig, Germany, on February 16th. 2024

Madeleine McCann's suspect and convicted rapist Christian Brueckner has cheekily told MailOnline that his upcoming sex crimes trial is

Madeleine McCann’s suspect and convicted rapist Christian Brueckner has cheekily told MailOnline that his upcoming sex crimes trial is “ridiculous”.

Brueckner, 47, was sensationally named in June 2020 by German police as the man responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Madeleine while she was on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

The three-year-old boy from Rothley, Leicestershire, was abducted in May 2007 from a holiday flat in Praia da Luz, on Portugal’s Algarve coast, and has not been seen or heard from since.

Brueckner, who lived in the area at the time, has previously denied to MailOnline any involvement in her kidnapping and murder.

The charges he faces in court today are unrelated to the Madeleine case.

He insists that the electronic and DNA evidence against him is flawed and that witnesses are lying about him.

Prosecutors also face a dilemma as two of the rape victims are not identified but the third victim is known: Irish tourist guide Hazel Behan, who says she was attacked in 2004 while working in the Algarve.

She says she was threatened with a knife, tied up and subjected to an hour-long attack by a man she later recognized as Brueckner after German police released his photograph in 2020.

She was a 20-year-old representative at the time and now married and a mother of three will be among several key witnesses who will testify at the trial which runs until June.

The other two rapes involve an unidentified woman between 70 and 80 years old and an unknown girl around 14 years old.

The fourth charge is an indecent assault against a 10-year-old girl on a beach near where Madeleine disappeared a month later, and the last is also an indecent assault against another child in the Algarve at a playground in 2017.

MailOnline learned that Brueckner was transferred from Oldenburg prison in northern Germany, where he was serving his seven-year sentence, to Schnedebruch, near Hanover, for the duration of the trial.

He was also transferred after complaining of mistreatment by guards in Oldenburg, where he was in a secure, isolated unit.

Bruecker told MailOnline: ‘My situation didn’t change at all. I just moved out of prison. I remain totally isolated. Since (sic) more than two years.

“I’m still not allowed to talk to anyone except my lawyer and my punishers (guards).”

Undated file photo of Madeleine McCann

Undated file photo of Madeleine McCann

Christian Brueckner photographed outside a battered VW camper van just weeks before Madeleine McCann's kidnapping

Christian Brueckner photographed outside a battered VW camper van just weeks before Madeleine McCann’s kidnapping

Madeleine McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said they welcomed that Portuguese authorities have declared Brueckner a formal suspect in her disappearance.

Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said they welcomed that Portuguese authorities have declared Brueckner a formal suspect in her disappearance.

Prosecutors also face a dilemma as two of the rape victims are unidentified but the third victim is known: Irish tourist guide Hazel Behan, who says she was attacked in 2004 while working in the Algarve.

Prosecutors also face a dilemma as two of the rape victims are unidentified but the third victim is known: Irish tourist guide Hazel Behan, who says she was attacked in 2004 while working in the Algarve.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher said he is “seeking a full acquittal” of all charges.

He said: “The hope is for a fair trial, but my client has been attacked in the media.” He will not speak at the hearing other than to say his name, but nothing should be inferred from this.

‘What needs to be made clear is that these charges have nothing to do with Madeleine McCann and that now, almost four years since he was named a suspect, there has been no update from prosecutors.

“He has not been charged with anything in relation to the McCann investigation and I have not even been given access to the files in that case and I have no idea what the evidence is against him.

“Only the prosecution believes it has the right person.”

As part of his defense team, Fulscher has recruited three other exporters, including Philipp Marquort, who is an expert in computer forensics and will assist Brueckner with mobile and computer data.

Other members of his team include interrogation expert Atilla Aykac, who recently requested a case be dismissed after revealing that a trial judge was having an affair.

Mr Fulscher warned: “Some of the prosecution witnesses will have to be prepared for some unpleasant questions.”

The final member of the team is law professor Dennis Bock, whom Fulscher described as “simply legally brilliant.”

Witnesses include Brueckner’s former friends and ex-girlfriends, and Hazel’s ex-boyfriend will also testify.

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