Madeleine McCann disappearance: Police ‘find hidden cellar’ while searching suspect’s former allotment

‘Christian B’ reportedly lived at plot shortly after three-year-old’s disappearance

Andy Gregory
Wednesday 29 July 2020 23:33
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Madeleine McCann- German police search Hanover allotment near where suspect Christian Brueckner lived

German investigators have reportedly found a hidden cellar at a former home of the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case.

During their third day of searching an allotment on the outskirts of Hanover, police used diggers, sniffer dogs and shovels in their desperate bid for evidence.

German media reported on Wednesday evening that they had discovered a cellar that was once part of a small building torn down in late 2007.

A former neighbour told local media that main suspect, Christian Brueckner, lived on the plot in a campervan in 2007 – arriving not long after Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia de Luz in Portugal‘s Algarve and leaving within a year.

Police have not commented on the reported discovery of a cellar and prosecutors did not say what they were looking for at the allotment.

However, it is suspected that police believe Brueckner may have driven from Portugal to Germany, taking the three-year-old with him.

Investigators at the allotment put up two tents and continued to dig even further into the ground on Wednesday after cutting down trees and bushes earlier this week, German news agency dpa reported.

They removed parts of the foundation of the former structure, dpa reported, in a likely reference to the cellar. A man on a neighbouring plot told the agency that the garden had not been used for the last two years.

German authorities said last month they had identified a 43-year-old German citizen as a suspect in the case and are investigating him on suspicion of murder.

Brueckner, 43, is currently in prison for drug dealing, and is appealing a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz. The attack happened a year and a half before Madeleine’s disappearance.

Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has said Brueckner had a history of child sex offences and other crimes, including drug trafficking and burgling holiday apartments in Portugal.

Having spent many years in Portugal since 1995, after fleeing a German prison sentence, he was last registered as living in the German city of Braunschweig, which is about 64km (40 miles) from Hanover.

Scotland Yard has previously admitted Brueckner was among 600 people previously considered of potential significance during the McCann inquiry, but was not considered a suspect until a 2017 appeal unearthed new information.

Additional reporting by PA

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