Madeleine McCann suspect had ‘children’s swimming costumes’

Thousands of child abuse images were also discovered, documentary claims

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 17 June 2020 14:32 BST
German suspect identified in Madeleine McCann disappearance

Police found children’s swimming costumes at the motorhome of the suspect in the Madeleine McCann case during a past investigation, according to German media.

Thousands of child abuse images and children’s clothing – mostly “small swimsuits” – were reportedly discovered several years ago by authorities looking into Christian Brueckner over the disappearance of a German girl.

Police seized the motorhome in May 2016 as part of an investigation into the disappearance of five-year-old Inga Gehricke, according to a documentary by Spiegel TV.

During a six-day examination of the site where it was found in Germany, they found computer memory sticks with more than 8,000 files, mostly containing pictures and videos of child abuse, which were in a carrier bag buried underneath the body of Brueckner’s dog, the report said.

Spiegel TV said police had also found numerous items of children’s clothing – mostly “small swimsuits” – in the motorhome, even though Bruckener does not have any children.

The 43-year-old – who German investigators believe killed Madeleine – was under suspicion after Inga vanished from the woods during a family picnic in Germany in 2015.

He was charged in relation to the child pornography, but not in relation to Inga’s disappearance.

Brueckner also reportedly boasted a motorhome he owned and drove repeatedly between Germany and Portugal was ideal for hiding “drugs and children”.

Authorities in Germany are investigating him as a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine in Praia da Luz in Portugal 13 years ago – which they are treating as a murder inquiry.

A German prosecutor has said there is a “little bit of hope” she is still alive, despite previously claiming there was evidence pointing to the fact Madeleine is dead.

“We don’t want to kill the hope and because there is no forensic evidence it may be theoretically possible,” Hans Christian Wolters said.

The murder suspect is currently in prison for drug dealing and is appealing a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman, also at Praia da Luz, for which he was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Brueckner has racked up 17 convictions across Europe, including for sex offences against children, drug offences, theft and forgery.

His lawyer, Friedrich Fulscher, said Brueckner denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Alongside the developments in that case, German investigators have also reopened the file into Inga’s disappearance, and the murder of Tristan Brubach in Frankfurt in 1998, according to German media.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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