McCann suspect 'significant breakthrough' says former investigator
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Statute of limitations legislation in Portugal could have prevented him from being charged over her abduction in the country where she vanished after today’s painful 15th anniversary for the British youngster’s parents Kate and Gerry. But the clock stopped on the prescription of the crime when its Attorney General agreed to make convicted rapist Brueckner an “arguido” on April 20.
Leading Portuguese daily Correio da Manha reported today authorities there now have until November 3 2029 to “collect evidence” against the 45-year-old.
It said: “The authorities have another seven and a half years – half of the 15 years of the period of prescription – to do the work needed.”
Brueckner, serving seven years in prison in his native Germany for raping an OAP in the same Algarve resort of Praia da Luz Madeleine vanished from 15 years today, has also been identified as a prime suspect in the unsolved mystery in his homeland.
His recent parole application was turned down on the basis authorities thought he would reoffend if he was released from prison.
The district court in Oldenburg in north-west Germany where he is serving time concluded his “social prognosis” meant he had to be kept in jail.
Prosecutors in Germany are investigating him over Madeleine’s disappearance as well as a sexual assault and three other rapes.
He has claimed in correspondence from prison that he has been scapegoated.
And overnight it emerged paedophile drifter Brueckner had told a TV crew he spent the night of Madeleine’s disappearance with a teenage German holidaymaker in his camper van, although he has yet to offer prosecutors any alibi.
Kate and Gerry McCann have welcomed the Portuguese decision to make Brueckner a formal suspect over their daughter’s disappearance, saying: “It reflects progress in the investigation being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities.”
On Tuesday the couple from Rothley, Leicestershire, described the disappearance of their daughter as a “horrific crime” and said they are still seeking answers.
They said in a statement posted online: “This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time.
“Many people talk about the need for ‘closure’. It’s always felt a strange term. Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.
“It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential. We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring us those answers.
“As always, we would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued good wishes and support. It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people’s hearts and minds. Thank you.”
Confirming the decision to make Brueckner a formal suspect, the Portimao section of the Faro Department of Criminal Investigation and Prosecution (DIAP) said in an April 21 statement: “As part of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, a person was made an arguido yesterday.
“The man was made an arguido by the German authorities in the execution of a request for international judicial cooperation issued by the Public Ministry of Portugal.
“The inquiry is led by the Portimao section of the DIAP in Faro with the assistance of the Policia Judiciaria police.
“The investigation has been carried out with the cooperation of the English and German authorities.”
Brueckner’s lawyer Freidrich Fuelscher has labelled the decision a “procedural trick” linked to statute of limitations legislation in Portugal.
A top Portuguese police source, confirming the decision to make Brueckner a formal suspect was not theirs, said: ““The arguido status development is entirely a prosecution services initiative, in line with all legal and other rights enshrined in Portuguese and EU law.
“The Policia Judiciaria is committed to finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann and in addition to the work we’re doing, we will continue to cooperate with British and German authorities on that mission.”
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