‘Scotland Yard has more open thinking’ on Madeleine McCann than Germans who think her


Scotland Yard’s Madeleine McCann team has ‘more open thinking’ and is still treating her disappearance as a missing person’s investigation – despite German prosecutors insisting she is dead.

Among other theories, the bespoke London unit of officers codenamed Operation Grange is still working on a possibility she may be alive. 

Grange is still in an ‘active’ phase of their probe, using £350,000 from a special grant awarded by the Home Office until 2022 to exhaust all further enquiries. 

It is in stark contrast to the German authorities who are certain convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner, 43, took and killed Maddie.

In almost monthly updates since Brueckner was first named in June 2020, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading that investigation, said police had enough evidence to charge him.

But a source confirmed to MailOnline: ‘The Met Police’s Operation Grange is still running this as a missing person’s investigation.

‘Clearly the Met have more open thinking than the German authorities have at the present.

‘Madeleine’s parents have always said if they are presented with hard proof she has died they will accept it. 

Madeleine went missing on May 3, 2007, from an apartment where the family were staying

Madeleine went missing on May 3, 2007, from an apartment where the family were staying

Kate and Gerry McCann are still hoping one day they will see their daughter alive once more

Kate and Gerry McCann are still hoping one day they will see their daughter alive once more

Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters

Madeleine suspect Christian Brueckner

Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has insisted Christian Brueckner abducted and killed her

‘But the fact Operation Grange still exists and still gets funding shows the Met still thinks there is still work and investigation to be done.’ 

Police in Britain and Germany launched a renewed appeal for witnesses in June 2020 after disclosing they had a new suspect, who was later revealed to be Brueckner.

Mr Wolters went as far as holding a press conference where he addressed Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry over the air.

He insisted: ‘We are confident we have the man who took and killed your daughter.

‘All I can do is ask for your patience.’

But claims German detectives had sent multiple notes to Madeleine’s family were rubbished within days.

And the Met itself released a pointed statement correcting the allegations about the correspondence.

It said last year: ‘The Met received one letter from the BKA on June 12, which was passed to the family. 

The German suspect had lived in a warehouse outside Praia da Luz for several years but moved into a campervan just before Maddie vanished

The German suspect had lived in a warehouse outside Praia da Luz for several years but moved into a campervan just before Maddie vanished

The suspect is said to have lived at this property named Escola Vehla - meaning 'old school' - during his time in Portugal

The suspect is said to have lived at this property named Escola Vehla – meaning ‘old school’ – during his time in Portugal

What do we know about Maddie murder suspect Christian Brueckner?

1992: Christian Brueckner is arrested on suspicion of burglary in his hometown of Wurzburg, Bavaria.

1994: He is given a two-year youth jail sentence for sexually abusing a minor. 

1995: Brueckner arrives in Portugal as an 18-year-old backpacker and begins working in catering in the seaside resorts of Lagos and Praia da Luz. 

But friends say he became involved with a criminal syndicate trafficking drugs into the Algarve.

September 2005:  He dons a mask and breaks into an apartment where a 72-year-old American tourist.

The victim was bound, gagged, blindfolded and whipped with a metal cane before being raped for 15 minutes. She said afterwards that he had clearly enjoyed ‘torturing’ her before the rape.

April 2007: He moves out of a farmhouse and into a campervan now linked to the crime. The farmhouse is cleaned and a bag of wigs and ‘exotic clothes’ is found.

May 3, 2007: Madeleine McCann is snatched at around 10pm from her bed as her parents eat tapas with friends yards away.

Brueckner’s mobile phone places him in the area that night.   He returns to his native Germany shortly after that.

2008-2016: He is in and out of jail for drug dealing and child abuse offences on ‘little girls’. 

May 3, 2017: Brueckner is said to be in a bar with a friend when a ten-year anniversary appeal following Maddie’s disappearance is shown on German television.

He is said to have told him in a bar that he ‘knew all about’ what happened to her. He then showed his friend a video of him raping a woman. 

June 2017: He heads back to Portugal and extradited again to Germany. The reason was a sentencing of the Braunschweig district court to 15 months’ imprisonment for the sexual abuse of a child. 

August 2018: He is released from prison and lives on the streets

September 2018: Brueckner is arrested in Milan, Italy and extradited to Germany and put on trial for raping the American tourist in 2007 after a DNA match to hair found at the crime scene.

December 2019: He is jailed for seven years after being convicted of rape and extortion.

June 3, 2020: Scotland Yard and the German police reveal that that they have identified a suspect in the Maddie McCann case

June 4, 2020: Prosecutors in Braunschweig, where he lives, say they believe Maddie McCann has been murdered, says spokesman Hans Christian Wolters. He is named in the German press as the prime suspect.

‘The letter did not state that there was evidence or proof that Madeleine is dead, the MPS continues to investigate Madeleine’s disappearance as a missing person investigation.

‘No letter has been received by the Met from the German prosecutor.’

In fact in May this year Kate and Gerry restated they still believed she could be still be alive.

A statement that month said: ‘The Covid pandemic has made this year even more difficult for many reasons but thankfully the investigation to find Madeleine and her abductor has continued.

‘We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again. As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what.

‘We are very grateful to the police for their continued efforts.’

Brueckner is currently serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking and is expected to remain behind bars until 2026 after losing a bid to overturn a rape conviction.

He was last year found guilty of the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in the same Portuguese resort from which Madeleine vanished and sentenced to seven years in jail, at a court in Brunswick, Lower Saxony.

Brueckner was in Praia da Luz when Madeleine went missing on the night of May 3, 2007, pinpointed there by a mobile phone call.

Madeleine – then aged three – disappeared from an apartment where she was staying with her family.

Kate and Gerry, had been dining with friends in a nearby restaurant and periodically checking on Madeleine and her two siblings – Sean and Amelie – as they slept.

Around 9pm, Gerry went to check on the children and found them sleeping. At 9.30pm, a family friend went to the apartment and heard no noise, but did not check far enough into the room to see if Madeleine was there. 

At 10pm, Kate went to check on the children and found Maddie was gone.

The disappearance was reported immediately and a search party launched the same evening including officers from the Guarda Nacional Republicana and the Polícia Judiciária, which launched an investigation.

Amaral was brought in to head that investigation and ran it for several months, infamously naming both Kate and Gerry as suspects.

He was sacked shortly after launching a public attack on British detectives – accusing them of only pursuing investigative lines given to them by the McCanns.

He has since published a book and appeared in a documentary called ‘The Truth of the Lie’ in which he repeated his claims against the McCanns.

The family won a libel suit against him in 2015, and were awarded £500,000 in damages.

A spokeswoman for the Met said to MailOnline last night: ‘The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains ongoing.’

A Home Office spokeswoman added: ‘The Government has provided up to £350,000 for Operation Grange in 2021-22.’

Mr Wolters told MailOnline: ‘The investigation is ongoing. As you know, our preliminary investigation is a German preliminary investigation in which the BKA conducts the investigation.

‘But there is still a good and close cooperation with the Metropolitan Police.’



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