Police 'rule out' Christian Brueckner of raping Irish holiday rep

Police in Portugal have ALREADY ruled out Christian Brueckner as suspect in rape of Irish holiday r in 2004 – as Portuguese prosecutors reveal he has two convictions in their country

  • Hazel Behan, from Ireland, was raped in apartment in Praia da Rocha in 2004 
  • She says she was tied up and attacked by a masked man who entered her room 
  • But Portuguese press claim Brueckner has already been ruled out by police
  • Prosecutors say he was in jail in Portugal briefly in 1999 and 9 months in 2006

Police in Portugal have already ruled out Christian Brueckner as a suspect in the rape of Irishwoman Hazel Behan, it was claimed today.

The mother-of-two has waived her right to anonymity to reveal she was viciously sexually assaulted by a masked man in her Algarve apartment in 2004 and said she believes he could have been the 43-year-old convicted rapist.

Ms Behan told the Guardian yesterday the Met Police were taking her case seriously and said they would be contacting Portuguese counterparts after she gave a statement.

But respected Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticas reported today that Madeleine McCann suspect Brueckner has already been ruled out of the unsolved sex crime, which happened in Praia da Rocha a half-hour drive east of Praia da Luz where the young British girl vanished.

The newspaper said: ‘Jornal de Noticias has learnt that the idea it was Brueckner was considered when he became a suspect in the Maddie case. Unsolved crimes, like those of Hazel’s, were revisited and the investigators concluded he was not the author [responsible].’

Hazel Behan says a stranger entered her apartment in Praia da Rocha, Portugal, set up a video camera, tied her with ropes and raped her in 2004

Christian Brueckner (picutred left) left Portugal after Madeline McCann (pictured right) disappeared on May 3, 2007 – three years after Hazel was raped

Ms Behan was working as a holiday rep and was living in the resort town of Praia da Rocha, which is around 20 miles away from Praia da Luz – where Madeleine was abducted in 2007

State prosecutors have confirmed Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has two convictions in Portugal.

It was reported last week the 43-year-old had served two prison sentences in the country – one of two months in Evora Prison in 1999 for a minor offence and a nine-month jail term on the Algarve in 2006 for petrol theft which he completed shortly before Maddie disappeared.

There had been no official confirmation of the Portuguese press reports about Brueckner’s criminal record there.

But Portuguese prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of publicly confirming his criminal record.

A spokesman for the Faro District of the Portuguese Public Prosecution Service said in a statement released late last night/on Tuesday night: ‘In the last few days, several news articles have been published linking the German national suspected of involvement in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance to other court cases that took place in the Faro district.

‘In order to clarify the matter, the Public Ministry has been examining its records and has so far managed to collect the following information.

‘The Maddie suspect was convicted of disobedience in one case and of theft in another.

‘Five requests for international judicial cooperation were also found in which the name of the suspect is mentioned.

‘One of the requests is related to a case actioned against unknown people and closed in February 2006, and four related to the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.’

The statement added by way of background and an explanation of the current state of the Madeleine McCann probe: ‘The investigation is being conducted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Portimao section of the DIAP in Faro with the assistance of the Policia Judiciaria.

‘The investigation has been carried out in close co-operation with the German and English judicial authorities.

‘After the re-opening of the process, no arguidos or official suspects were constituted, and investigations have continued through the carrying-out of fact-finding work which would serve the purpose of identifying and punishing the person or people responsible.’

There was no immediate confirmation on whether the non Madeleine McCann-related request for international co-operation related to the November 2005 rape of an American OAP in Praia da Luz which Brueckner was convicted of late last year in Germany.

The newspaper offered no more information on what work had been done to re-examine Brueckner’s possible involvement in the 2004 rape, which occurred the year before the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz which the German was convicted of late last year in his home country.  Portuguese police have made no official comment.

Hazel Behan says a stranger entered her flat in Praia da Rocha, Portugal, set up a video camera, tied her up with ropes and raped her in 2004 when she was 20 yeas old.

The now married mother-of-two was working as a holiday rep at the time and living in the resortown, which is around 20 miles away from Praia da Luz – where Madeleine was abducted in 2007.

Mrs Behan, who now lives in Ireland, believes the attack on her bears the hallmarks of Christian Brueckner’s rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz in September 2005, the Guardian reports.

The victim in that case was tortured and raped by Brueckner, who filmed the savage attack.

The 43-year-old was sentenced in 2019 to seven years in prison by a German court after DNA evidence linked him to the assault. 

But Ms Behan’s assailant was never caught.

She claims Portuguese police made no attempt to examine her wounds for evidence and she  says she is ‘not confident’ that officers examined her room closely.

But following the announcement that Brueckner had been made a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine, and media reports of his brutal attack on a woman in Praia da Luz, she has since given a statement to the Metropolitan Police.

Ms Behan has also waved her right to anonymity while revealing details of the attack on her in an interview with The Guardian.

She told the paper: ‘My mind was blown when I read how he had attacked a woman in 2005, both the tactics and the methods he used, the tools he had with him, how well he had planned it out.’

‘I had little hope over the last 16 years that they would find the man who did this. I was told at the time that I should just be quiet.

‘Then I read about the poor American woman who was raped – who I would love to talk to – and the possible link that was being made between her attack and the person who abducted Madeleine McCann, and I was so full of anger, I knew in my gut it was the right thing to do to speak out.’

Ms Behan says the attack took place just weeks before her 21st birthday.  

A friend of Christian Brueckner’s two British ex girlfriends revealed he went off the radar following Maddie’s disappearance in May 2007. 

A day before the three-year-old vanished, the convicted German drug dealer told one of the women he had ‘a job to do in Praia da Luz tomorrow’.

‘It’s a horrible job but it’s something I have to do and it will change my life. You won’t be seeing me for a while,’ according to The Sun.

Three years later his other British ex joked that Brueckner looked like some of the photofits in the search for Maddie’s abductor and asked him if he took her. 

A friend of both women, who have each been interviewed by police but are not suspected of being involved in Maddie’s disappearance, said: ‘He blanked the question and shrugged — then added, ‘Just don’t go there’.’

The anonymous friend, originally from North Yorkshire but now living in Lagos, Portugal, said people dismissed the flippant comments, adding that both of his exes were beaten by Brueckner when they dated him. 

He claims to have met Brueckner when he worked at expat bar The Tavern in the Portuguese town.

He added: ‘What he said at that dinner suggests he could of planned the whole thing very carefully and that he might even have stolen Madeleine to order.’

Maddie disappeared from her hotel room in May 2007, 13 years later police have named a suspect

Newly unearthed satellite imagery appeared to show Brueckner’s campervan at the site of his former house in Praia da Luz around the time after Madeleine vanished in 2007

One of the unnamed women, understood to be from Berkshire, is said to have lived in Praia da Luz where she dated German paedophile Christian Brueckner for around a year from 2004 – three years before Madeleine went missing. 

She is not a suspect in the case, but according to reports, has agreed to cooperate with police and has twice spoken to detectives investigating her former partner.

The mother-of-two, who is still living in Portugal, was interviewed last year by police as part of the investigation into Brueckner, and, according to The Mirror, has spoken to them again in recent days after the 43-year-old was identified as a prime suspect in the Madeleine case.

On Monday police revealed they wanted to speak to a third ex of Brueckner’s, Nakscije Miftari

The latest development comes as a German prosecutor has claimed that Maddie was killed soon after she was kidnapped. 

Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation into Brueckner, told The Times that police have found that the suspect discussed kidnapping, raping and killing a girl in a conversation with another paedophile online.

At one point he wrote about his desire to ‘catch something little and use it for days’, and when asked about getting caught he added: ‘Meh, if the evidence is destroyed…’

‘My private opinion is that he relatively quickly killed the girl, possibly abused her and then killed her,’ said Mr Wolters. ‘We believe our suspect committed further crimes, especially sexual crimes, in Portugal possibly but also elsewhere like Germany.’

Mr Wolters added that he wanted to collect as much evidence as possible before confronting Brüeckner, so that he would have a smaller chance of being able to weaken the case against him.    

Brueckner is currently serving a jail sentence in Germany for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Portugal. 

But he is reportedly eligible for parole this weekend and one friend has since revealed to the Sun that the unnamed woman is terrified he will come after her.  

The friend said: ‘She’s really nervous, she knows B is in prison but fears he could be released one day and come after her.

‘It’s true they were together.’

Meanwhile, the Mirror say the woman’s British ex-husband, a businessman who also lives in Portugal, was also spoken to by Interpol last year in connection with Brueckner.  

He told The Mirror: ‘We’ve decided not to talk. The police have been in touch and we’ve spoken to them. We don’t want to be involved in this.’

On Monday police revealed they wanted to speak to a third ex of Brueckner’s, Nakscije Miftari.

Nakscije met Brueckner when she was 17, after he set up home in a run-down part of Braunschweig, a crumbling industrial city in northern Germany, and ran a kiosk selling beer, soft drinks, snacks and sweets.

He later took Nakscije, who is German of Albanian descent, to Portugal in 2014 but she was deported back to Germany less than a year later following allegations of criminality.

Detectives in Britain and Germany want to quiz her about what she knows about Brueckner’s past, in particular his time in Portugal. 

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