German suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann releases a statement from prison

The German suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has released a statement from prison protesting his innocence.

In his first public comment on the case, Christian Brückner said German prosecutors had failed to bring charges and accused them of persecuting him.

“Charging someone with a crime is one thing. It is something completely different, namely an unbelievable scandal, when a public prosecutor starts a public prejudicial campaign before proceedings are even opened,” the 44-year-old convicted paedophile and rapist said in a handwritten statement issued from his prison cell.

“You have proved worldwide, through arbitrary convictions in the past and through scandalous prejudicial campaigns in the present, that you are unsuitable for the office of an ‘advocate for the honest and German people who trust in justice’, and that you bring shame to the German legal system.”

Brückner was named as a suspect in the toddler’s disappearance a year ago. German prosecutors claim they have evidence he killed her but have yet to bring any charges against him in connection with the case.

Scotland Yard has said it is yet to see any evidence that Madeleine is dead or was murdered, and that it is still treating her case as a missing persons inquiry.

Brückner is currently serving a seven-year sentence for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman in the same area of Portugal where Madeleine went missing. He was dramatically named as a new suspect in the toddler’s case last June. But a year on, despite extensive searches and public appeals for information, no charges have been brought.

He called on the two German prosecutors in charge of the case, Hans Christian Wolters and Ute Lindemann, to resign.

His statement was accompanied by a crude childish drawing, apparently by Brückner himself, of the two prosecutors in a restaurant ordering a “fillet of forensic” — a reference to comments by the prosecutors that they do not yet have “forensic evidence” linking him to the disappearance.

The statement is dated May 8 but has only now been released to the media. It is signed with Brückner’s full name, apparently waiving his right to anonymity under German privacy laws.

Madeleine McCann was three years old when she went missing from a holiday villa in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007. German prosecutors said last year they have compelling evidence that she is dead and that Brückner killed her, but admitted it may not be enough to bring charges or secure a conviction.

“If you knew the evidence we had you would come to the same conclusion as I do,”Wolters told the BBC. “I can’t promise, I can’t guarantee that we have enough to bring a charge but I’m very confident because what we have so far doesn’t allow any other conclusion at all.”

But an internal Portuguese police memo leaked to the press last year described Portuguese officers as “shocked” after a briefing from German prosecutors on the case, and said they let the meeting convinced the Germans have “no evidence, just speculation” and are determined to “keep Brückner in prison at all costs”.

Scotland Yard has said it has not seen evidence Madeleine is dead but that it is working closely with German prosecutors.

“I would not expect necessarily, every single piece of material to be shared with us. I’m sure they’re sharing the relevant things at the relevant times with us. We are working really, really closely with them,” Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said last year.

Brückner, who is known to have been in the area around Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, has been convicted of child sex abuse on multiple occasions, the first time when he was just 17 years old.

In 2017 he was convicted of possessing pornographic images of children under the age of 14 being abused by adults and being forced to perform sex acts.

The conviction came after police found a digital camera memory card containing hundreds of child porn images and videos hidden in a mobile home on a derelict plot of land belonging to Brückner. The same search also uncovered a child’s swimming costume.

The conviction came after police found a digital camera memory card containing hundreds of child porn images and videos hidden in a mobile home on a derelict plot of land belonging to Brückner. The same search also uncovered a child’s swimming costume.

Lawyers for Brückner insist he is innocent.

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