A GERMAN paedo at the heart of the Madeleine McCann's disappearance has today been unmasked as a "sexual predator" who abused young girls and raped a tourist.

Christian B – a paedo allegedly caged for “multiple” child sex attacks – is now a "significant" chief suspect in the infamous case following a vital breakthrough in 2017.

The 43-year-old is a child sex offender who is currently in jail in Germany for raping a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal two years before Maddie was snatched from her apartment in 2007.

German police revealed today they believe the youngster is dead in a sensational press conference.

Braunschweig state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “The public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig is investigating a 43-year-old German national on suspicion of murder.

“From this you can see that we assume that the girl is dead.”

He added: "With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he's already serving a long sentence."

The 43-year-old prisoner was not officially named by British cops but was living in a campervan in Praia da Luz in Portugal around the time the youngster vanished on May 3, 2007.

We cannot reveal his full identity due to Germany privacy laws.

The suspect was born in Germany in 1976 but moved to Portugal in his late teens.

He has twice been charged with sex offences against young girls and is also a prolific burglar at hotels and holiday apartments, BKA crime director Christian Hoppe said.

He believes Madeleine may have been randomly targeted after her killer broke into her family’s apartment in Praia de Luz.

The officer also said the suspect could have had an accomplice who may know where Maddie’s body is.

The BKA is the federal investigative police agency of Germany.

When asked whether the attack was sexually motivated, Christian Hoppe, leading crime director at the Federal Crime Agency said: “We cannot rule that out.

“But it is also possible that the suspect, after an initial intention of burglary, spontaneously moved on to a sexual motive.”

He was also asked if the suspect could have had accomplices and replied: “We do not rule that out- besides the initial offender- there might be others who have known about the crime, the location of Maddie’s body or even participated in the crime.”

Mr Hoppe identified two houses in the Praia da Luz area where he said Maddie could have been taken after she was abducted.

The chief also said: “We think that she might have become the victim of a homicide.”

The man was living in Portugal between 1995 and 2007 and worked part-time in the food industry.

He was known to them at the time for drug offences and has twice been charged with sex offences.

According to the BKA, further indications suggest that he also makes his living by committing crimes, including burglary theft in hotel complexes and holiday apartments as well as drug trafficking.

While living in Portugal, the suspect lived in a dilapidated old farm building two miles from the holiday apartment, Sky News reports.

One neighbour said he rented the home from an English owner in the 90s and was "always a bit angry" before he vanished in 2006 "without a word".

The local added: "About six months later I was asked to help clean up the place and it was disgusting, absolutely vile. It had been trashed, with broken stuff like computers all over the place.

"We found a bin bag and inside were wigs and exotic clothing, whether just fancy dress or something stranger I couldn't tell."

German cops are treating Maddie’s disappearance as a murder inquiry – though the Met are still investigating the case as a missing person inquiry.

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