Madeleine McCann: The Case Against Christian B will air on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight, following the investigative work of Mark Williams-Thomas, a former police officer turned journalist. It is aimed at investigating Christian Brueckner, the convicted rapist and child sexual abuser German prosecutors investigating Maddie’s disappearance have named as their prime suspect.
Ahead of the documentary being released, the sleuth, who exposed Jimmy Savile as a paedophile, said that though he started from the a position of believing prosecutors were on the right track, the lack of evidence he found against Brueckner means he now believes him innocent.
Madeleine disappeared when she was three years old, while her family were on holiday in Portugal in 2007.
The public prosecutors’ office in Braunschweig announced in 2020 that they believed Brueckner was responsible for the killing of Madeleine McCann, after finding mobile GPS data which placed him within the area of the hotel the McCanns were staying in.
Christian Brueckner has always denied all allegations in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
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In the build-up to the documentary, Mr Williams-Thomas said he had been given an alibi by Brueckner in an exchange of letters from his Oldenburg prison cell, which the team had been able to independently verify.
He told sister paper the Star: “In that last letter that we have [from him], that we feature in the documentary, he tells us his alibi.
“We set out to see if his alibi had any validity. We took it with a real pinch of salt. Brueckner is protective of her [the alibi] – she has moved on with her life now and he doesn’t want to drag her into it.
“He would tell us who she was. We had to find her ourselves.”
When he tracked Brueckner’s alibi down, he claims she told him that she had been with him the week Madeleine went missing.
Despite being named as a suspect in the case two years ago, Brueckner has yet to be charged with any offence in relation to Maddie’s disappearance. So far, any evidence revealed by investigators has been circumstantial.
Hopes were raised last week following speculation that fibres from Madeleine’s pyjamas had been uncovered in Brueckner’s campervan – which he was known to use for drug dealing while in the Algarve.
Hans Christian Wolters, spokesperson for the public prosecutors’ office in Braunschweig, said that investigators had uncovered “some new evidence – not forensic evidence, but evidence”.
He also said previously Brueckner had not given German authorities any information, nor were they aware of any alibi. A Channel 5 insider accused Brueckner of playing “mind games” with investigators.
Mr Wolters remains “100 percent certain” they have the right man.
Last Thursday, he said that the fact that the Portuguese authorities had named Brueckner as a suspect as well “shows everyone that we are not on the wrong way”.
However, Mr Williams-Thomas believed the naming of Brueckner as an “arguido” – or formal suspect – by Portuguese authorities just before the 15th anniversary of the disappearance, rather than being a step closer to justice, could lead to disaster in the case.
He said: “In Portugal after 15 years any serious crime including murder can’t be prosecuted. Christian Brueckner was made an arguido to get around this. I believe he is innocent.
“Therefore, in Portugal, Madeleine McCann’s killer is in the clear.’’
Mr Thomas-Williams’ fears aren’t universal among those researching the case. Jon Clarke, a journalist who was one of the first on the scene in Praia da Luz and is working on his own documentary, said recently he still believes Brueckner to be responsible.
Speaking in the i newspaper yesterday, he said: “I worked on the show, but my beliefs do not coincide with Williams Thomas’ narrative, that Brueckner is innocent.”
New charges against Brueckner, unrelated to the disappearance of Madeleine, are expected to be brought imminently regarding his other alleged crimes, including the alleged rape of Irish tourism rep Hazel Behan in 2004.
It is expected these charges are aimed at keeping Brueckner in prison, having already reportedly been denied parole after still being deemed a risk to the public.
Mr Williams-Thomas also said: “I am no fan of Christian Brueckner. He has committed some horrific offences. But that doesn’t make him the killer of Madeleine McCann unless there is the evidence to support that. And there isn’t.
“They cannot place him outside Madeleine’s apartment on the day of the disappearance and furthermore he has a credible alibi which places him away from there.”