03 July 2024

Arrest warrant for suspect in Madeleine McCann disappearance is lifted

03 July 2024

An arrest warrant for a man who is also a suspect in the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann was lifted on Wednesday by a German court in an ongoing trial over several unrelated sexual offences he is alleged to have committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

However, the 47-year-old German, who has been identified by media as Christian Bruckner, will remain jailed because he is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for a rape he committed in Portugal in 2005.

The Braunschweig state court said it lifted the arrest warrant in the current case, in which Bruckner has been accused of three counts of rape and two of sexual abuse of children, because there is no urgent suspicion, German news agency dpa reported.

The suspect has not been charged in the Madeleine McCann case, in which he is under investigation on suspicion of murder.

He spent many years in Portugal, including in the resort of Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance there in 2007. He has denied any involvement in her disappearance.

In the current trial, prosecutors had claimed that, at an unspecified time between 2000 and 2006, the suspect allegedly tied up and raped an elderly woman in her vacation apartment in Portugal. He allegedly beat the victim several times with a whip and recorded the incident on video.

During the same time period, he is alleged to have tied a German-speaking girl aged at least 14 to a wooden post in the living room of his residence in Praia da Luz, allegedly beating her with a whip and forcing her to perform oral sex.

However, Bruckner’s lawyers filed a motion during the trial to quash the arrest warrant because they no longer saw any reason for one after evidence in the alleged crimes had been taken in court.

The court ruled that there was no “strong suspicion” with regard to all charges, dpa reported.

A verdict in the ongoing trial is expected in the fall.

An arrest warrant for McCann disappearance suspect Christian Bruckner has been lifted (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP) (AP)

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