The man who German prosecutors are “convinced” murdered Madeleine McCann is reportedly of the belief that they do not have “a shred of evidence” with which to charge him.
Hans Christian Wolter, who is leading the investigation, said this weekend that police now have enough evidence to charge 43-year-old Christian Brueckner, who is a convicted paedophile, but want to “strengthen their position” first.
Investigators are “100 per cent convinced” the British girl who went missing from a holiday complex in Praia da Luz in 2007 was murdered by Brueckner, and hope to bring charges against him next year “with the best body of evidence possible”, Mr Wolter said.
“When we still have questions, it would be nonsense to charge rather than wait for the answers that could strengthen our position,” he told The Mirror.
But a report on Sunday suggested the suspect – who is currently serving a prison sentence for rape and drug trafficking, and has refused to speak to police – believes the lead investigator’s comments to be a “bluff”.
“B and his legal team remain sure Wolters and his investigators don’t have a shred of evidence to convict him on or charge him over,” The Sun cited sources close to the suspect as saying.
“Their position has always been clear: if there is evidence, show it. But the police never have.
“That’s why they are convinced these comments are a bluff designed to get B to crack behind bars and confess to someone. That will never happen.
“B believes Wolters is simply a celebrity cop looking to make headlines.”
In his comments to The Mirror, Mr Wolters conceded that investigators have “no body and no DNA”, but touted “other evidence.
Addressing Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, he said: “We are confident we have the man who took and killed your daughter. All I can do is ask for your patience.
“I personally think a conclusion will be reached next year. We have no body and no DNA but we have other evidence. Based on the evidence we have, it leads to no other conclusion.
“I can’t tell you on which basis we assume she is dead. But for us, there’s no other possibility. There is no hope she is alive.”
Brueckner, who was convicted for child sex abuse for the first time in 1994, moved to Portugal in 1995 while fleeing a prison sentence in Germany and was living in a camper van in Praia da Luz at the time Madeleine went missing, police have previously said.
He denies being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance, but is alleged to have confessed to abducting Madeleine while talking to a criminal associate at a bar.
He was extradited from Italy to Germany in 2018 on an arrest warrant for drug trafficking, for which he was convicted and served a 21-month sentence in the German city of Kiel. He is now serving a seven-year sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in 2005.