Maddie McCann suspect Christian Brueckner splashed out ‘thousands to change his looks’ as he tried not to be recognised

Maddie McCann suspect Christian Brueckner splashed out ‘thousands to change his looks’ as he tried not to be recognised

MADELEINE McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has splashed out “thousands to change his looks” and could be unrecognisable to the man he was in 2007, cops say.

German detectives monitoring the McCann case are thought to believe the convicted rapist has created “an illusion” with his current look and is now a wildly different man to when Madeleine vanished.

Christian Brueckner is said to have spent thousands on making himself unrecognisable to cops and alleged victimsRex

APChristian B is currently on trial over several alleged sexual offences committed in Portugal unrelated to McCann[/caption]

PABrueckner is a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case[/caption]

ReutersBrueckner arriving in court this week in handcuffs[/caption]

A source close to the investigation said that cops think this could be a key reason why the search has stalled for so many years.

On Saturday, the source said: “The Christian B of today is not the same person he was back in 2007 when Maddie disappeared.

“German detectives are convinced he looks very, very different and has blown tens of thousands of pounds changing the way he looks.

“For a long time, Christian B was a prolific drug-dealer who earned a lot of money and lived a very nice lifestyle. He had the means to have surgery and to make changes to the way he looked.

“Officers think there’s every chance the way he looks now is an illusion to the man he was 10, 15 years ago.

“They’ve always been concerned that this is a key area cops in the Algarve failed to properly grip or investigate fully from day one. So it’s an area they will be focusing on a lot more in the months ahead.”

The source added there’s even a chance they could re-issue photo e-fits and wanted posters to help find fresh information about the chilling case.

One of the ways Brueckner allegedly used to mask his identity was to have surgery to remove a birthmark on his left thigh after an alleged rape.

Prosecutors claim that Brueckner, 47, had it erased to avoid being identified after a knifepoint attack on student Hazel Behan was pinned on him.

The woman told police exactly where the recognisable mark was located during interviews although it was no longer on main suspect Brueckner’s body.

Officers did however, find scarring in the spot described by Hazel on him.

A source said: “When Brueckner was examined during his current imprisonment they found a scar where the birthmark should have been.

“They then went back through the records and found a body-scan of Brueckner done by German investigators.

“Crucially, photos of his entire body were taken and at that time he had a significant birthmark on his left upper thigh at hip level.”

The evidence against the German paedophile has been presented to judges.

It has also been said that he spent £7,500 on having his jaw reset and four “rabbit” teeth straightened just four months after Maddie vanished in Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve.

A police sketch that came out in the following few days showed a man with buck teeth near the McCanns’ holiday flat.

Brueckner appeared in court earlier this week facing a string of violent sex crimes in and around the resort where Maddie vanished.

One of these alleged victims includes Irish mother Hazel Behan, who says he raped her when she was 20 and working as a ­holiday rep in Portugal in 2004.

He is also charged with raping and abusing a teenage girl and a 70 to 80-year-old woman at his house in Praia da Luz between December 2000 and June 2006.

Prosecutors allege Brueckner also sexually molested children in Portugal twice.

A handcuffed Brueckner brazenly strode into the hearing with a blank expression on his face before the trial was adjourned after a judge’s “kill the b*****d” rant was read out in court.

Leaving the trial to last just nine minutes.

Brueckner’s latest trial is not related to the McCann case but cops are hoping that a string of witnesses giving evidence might lead them to discover a chilling overlap.

Further sickening allegations the court heard were that he masturbated in front of a girl at a playground in Messines in June 2017.

He also faces claims he did the same in front of another girl, on Salema beach, Portugal, in April 2007.

Brueckner, currently serving a seven-year sentence for rape, faces up to 15 years behind bars if convicted.

If found not guilty he would be free in two years when his current jail term ends.

He denies all the charges against him.


Brueckner was identified four years ago as the main suspect in the abduction of Madeleine from her family’s holiday flat in Portugal in 2007.

The three-year-old vanished from an apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve while holidaying with parents Kate and Gerry, 55, of Rothley, Leics.

German investigators believe Brueckner abducted and murdered her – although no charges have been filed against him.

They previously felt they had “hit a brick wall” with the investigation as no new leads had come forward for months.

The source told us: “Detectives hope the trial will offer new information and areas they can focus on.

“They are getting virtually no support from cops in Portugal who ruled out Christian B a while ago. As far as they’re concerned, linking him to Maddie is a nonsense.”

They are hoping the fallout from the new case could finally reveal crucial details about the toddler’s disappearance in Portugal.

Key dates in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance

MADELEINE McCann vanished on May 3, 2007 – and cops believe Brueckner could have been behind her disappearance.

Almost 17 years on, no one has been charged in connection. These are the key dates:

May 3, 2007 – Kate McCann finds Madeleine missing at 10pm

May 14, 2007 – Property developer Robert Murat is named an “arguido” or formal suspect

August 31, 2007 – The McCanns launch libel action against Tal e Qual – a newspaper that claimed the couple killed Madeleine

September 7, 2007 – Kate and Gerry McCann are made “arguidos”

September 9, 2007– Madeleine’s parents return to England with their two-year-old twins

October 2, 2007– Lead detective Goncalo Amaral is taken off the case after criticising British police in a newspaper interview

July 21, 2009 – Portuguese police lift the “arguido” status of  both Robert Murat and the McCanns

May 12, 2011 – On Madeleine’s eighth birthday, Scotland Yard launches a review into the case 

April 25, 2012 – Scotland Yard officers say they believe Madeleine McCann is still alive

July 4, 2013 – Two years into a review of the case, Scotland Yard launched its own investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance

October 24, 2013– Portuguese police reopen their case after new lines of inquiry are found

November 27, 2013 – Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe called for British and Portuguese police to work together

October 28, 2015 – Scotland Yard reduces the number of officers working on Madeleine’s disappearance

March 11, 2017  – The Home Office grants Operation Grange an extra £85,000 to continue from April until September

September 28, 2017 –  British police are granted £154,000 to keep the probe going until March 2018

November 2017 – Cops moved the search to Bulgaria

May 2018 – Another round of funding, thought to be in the region of £150,000 is granted

September 2018 – An extra six months of funding is requested from the Home Office

November 2018 – More funding, thought to be in the region of £150,000 is granted

November 2018 – UK police re-examine a theory Madeleine left the apartment to look for her parents

June 2019 – Another round of funding, believed to be £300,000 of government cash is granted

June 2019 – Portuguese police are probing a “new clue and suspect” after talks with British officers

June 2020 – New prime suspect revealed as a German paedo Christian Brueckner

April 2022 – Brueckner formally made an “arguido”

May 2023 – Police search remote Algarve reservoir Brueckner called his “little paradise”

Brueckner’s alleged victims include Irish mum Hazel Behan who identified a birthmark on her attacker

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