Main Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner set to be charged with 2004 rape of Irish tour rep

In June 2020 police identified 43-year-old German Christian Brueckner as the prime suspect in the case of  Madeleine McCann.
In June 2020 police identified 43-year-old German Christian Brueckner as the prime suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann. Photo credit: Getty Images / BILD

The main suspect in the abduction of Madeleine McCann is set to be charged with the 2004 rape of an Irish tour rep.

In June last year police identified 43-year-old German Christian Brueckner, a convicted rapist and paedophile, as the prime suspect in the case of the missing British toddler.

He is now suspected of raping Hazel Behan, then 20, at a resort close to where the McCann's stayed in 2004 - just three years prior to Madeleine's disappearance in 2007.

According to the Daily Mail, Brueckner is currently in prison serving a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old American in 2005. 

Hans Christian Wolters, the German prosecutor leading Behan's case, said the case was "in a good way" and Brueckner may be charged "in the next three months".

Wolters said Behan's case presented similarities to Madeleine's.

Madeleine disappeared from an apartment in a Portuguese resort while on holiday with her family in 2007. Her parents were dining in a nearby bar and when they returned found Madeleine missing.

Behan, now 37, was also attacked in her Praia da Rocha apartment, a 30-minute drive from where Madeleine was abducted, and subjected to a prolonged sexual assault. 

"There are parallels with the case of the American tourist who was raped, the attack on Hazel Behan, and the abduction and murder of Madeleine McCann," Wolters said as reported by The Mirror.

"In each case, the person has come into the person's apartment or property by breaking and entering, often not through the door."

When asked whether this comment meant Madeleine's abductor had entered through the window he responded saying: "I can't comment."

Behan contacted UK police asking them to reopen her case after noticing it had striking similarities to the rape of the American in 2005, which Brueckner was convicted of in December 2019.

"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," she told The Guardian at the time. 

"I puked, to be honest with you, as reading about it took me right back to my experience."

A masked Brueckner allegedly climbed over the balcony to her apartment and held a knife over her throat before raping her for four to five hours. 

Despite his seemingly imminent charge for the rape, traces of DNA at the scene didn't come back as a match for Brueckner, reports the Daily Mail.

It's not yet known what evidence has been uncovered that has led to him becoming the lead suspect in Behan's case. 

Brueckner is understood to have often broken into hotels in the area.

"He had several occasional jobs, among other things in the gastronomy business, in the Lagos area in this time period. In addition, there is information suggesting that he also earned his living by committing criminal offences, such as burglaries of hotel complexes and holiday flats as well as trafficking in narcotic drugs," German prosecutors said in a statement released in June 2020.

"Furthermore, the suspect was sentenced on numerous occasions to prison terms for sexual abuse of children in the past. This fact is probably not known to most of the contact persons."