Christian Brueckner WINKS in court as trial of top Madeleine McCann suspect begins after dramatic delay to hearing

Christian Brueckner WINKS in court as trial of top Madeleine McCann suspect begins after dramatic delay to hearing

MADELEINE McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has appeared in court where he winked at his defence team as he shook hands with them this morning.

The handcuffed paedophile, 47, will appear at a hearing in Germany, accused of sex crimes uncovered during the Maddie investigation.

Dan CharityBrueckner was pictured arriving at court this morning[/caption]

Dan CharityThe German was seen covering his face ahead of the hearing[/caption]

Dan CharityThe twisted sex offender arrived at court in Braunschweig in a prison van[/caption]

PAThe German is not facing any charges over Maddie’s case[/caption]

While he is not facing charges over the McCann case – a string of key witnesses will give evidence in chilling overlaps set to reveal more details of the British tot’s fate.

The first will be an ex who will describe how the drifter secretly abused her daughter.

Nerves surround the case with Brueckner’s lawyer Dr Friedrich Fulscher last night threatening to nullify the jury and send the case to an embarrassing retrial at a cost of millions.

Legal sources in Germany believe the trial is being used test of witness credibility – with many of those who will give evidence set to be relied on if Brueckner is charged of 

A loss for prosecutors on the current charges would be embarrassing but nowhere near as devastating as losing a Maddie trial  – seen as the biggest criminal case in the world.

If Brueckner is convicted he faces up to 15 years behind bars – and prosecutors could fight for a ‘public danger’ clause, giving them the safety net for the Maddie case they want to pursue.

Brueckner will appear at Braunschweig regional court charged with raping Irish holiday rep Hazel Behan at knifepoint after tying her to a table and whipping her on camera.

In a chilling similarity to the Maddie case, he is said to have climbed over the balcony of a ground-floor flat in the Algarve.

He is also accused of tying a teenage girl to a post in the same resort Maddie was snatched from and forcing her to perform a sex act.

In the Praia de Luz raid – in the years before Madeleine disappeared – Brueckner is said to have raped a woman aged as old as 80 and hit her with a whip, filming the attacks on both victims.

He is also charged with grabbing the wrist of a child on a beach and performing a sex act on himself, only six miles from Praia, just weeks before Maddie vanished.

The defendant is also said to have performed a sex act on himself in front of a child on a park swing and made threats towards a prison guard.

If he is acquitted when his seven-year 2019 sentence for rape is complete.

The defendant denies all charges. Trial continues.

Brueckner’s trial was suspended last week after just nine minutes.

The twisted convict was pictured in 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.

Cover ImagesBrueckner’s trial last week was adjourned after nine minutes[/caption]

Brueckner was pictured in handcuffs at the hearing last week

Dr Fülscher claimed she had called for the assassination of a president on social media.

He said the woman had written “kill the b*****d now” and “kill the devil”, referring to Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro.

Dr Fülscher said the remark meant she was unfit to sit on the case and could not be relied upon as far as his client was concerned.

It comes as prosecutors allege Brueckner had surgery to remove a birthmark on his left thigh to avoid being recognised by student Hazel Behan. 

Cops also believe Brueckner has splashed out “thousands to change his looks” and could be unrecognisable to the man he was in 2007.

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.

Despite being the prime suspect in the disappearance of Maddie German authorities investigating him for the past five years, but he has not been charged.

Three-year-old Maddie vanished from her parents’ holiday house in Portugal in May 2007

APThe German was identified as the main suspect in Maddie’s case in 2020[/caption]

Key dates in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance

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

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”

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