‘He enjoyed torturing me’: Chilling testimony reveals how new Madeleine McCann prime suspect whipped and raped US tourist, 72, in her own home in horrific sex attack
- Video showed how woman was bound and masked and whipped then raped
- Second film showed a younger person in house tied naked to a wooden beam
- Cold-case officers turned up at American widow who was attacked in 2005
- She was in house alone when she was dragged to her bedroom and beaten
- Christian Brueckner is prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance
A year and a half before the mysterious disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann another crime had occurred in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in the Algarve: A 72-year-old American was brutally raped and robbed in her home.
There was no trace of a perpetrator for years.
Until a witness spoke to police In 2006. He stole a video camera from a friend’s house in Praia da Luz. The acquaintance had been detained for diesel theft and he and a friend had used the opportunity to break into his home.
Christian Brueckner (left) is the new key suspect in the Madeleine McCann case. In 2013 police released a photofit (right) of a man seen lurking near the McCanns’ apartment
The man testified at the trial of Christian Brueckner in December, stating he saw a film sequence on the video camera in which an older woman was bound and masked and whipped then raped.
‘Then the man sat on the bed and pulled the mask off his face. Then I thought: That can’t be. ‘ He recognised the house occupant.
A second film showed a younger person in the house. She was tied naked to a wooden beam. The house inhabitant, his acquaintance, had sat on the sofa in this sequence. The young woman had asked him to release her a few times.
It was a rape, what was going on, she said in German. The witness who stole the camera said he and his friend wanted nothing to do with what they found.
He claimed he left the videotapes in his motorhome which which was later scrapped. He said he and his accomplice were certain that what they saw was no staged scene.
The farmhouse where the new prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance lived was located just two miles from where she went missing from her family’s holiday apartment
For the police, this statement prompted them to look for possible rape victims.
Cold-case officers turned up the American widow who was attacked in September 2005 as she was watching a TV news report about Hurricane Katrina.
She was in her house alone when the patio door was opened and she was grabbed from behind and dragged by her hair to her bedroom.
The factual events showed parallels to one of the video recordings described by the witnesses.
The 72-year-old was also beaten with a metal, flexible object. ‘I felt that he enjoyed torturing me,’ she told the investigators. He carried a sabre, she claimed, 30cm long.
The 43-year-old German prime suspect lived in the rented building on a remote hillside along a footpath that runs from above the beach where Madeleine and her family played on holiday
The victim remembered ‘a long and planned procedure by the perpetrator,’ an investigator investigator said in court. After pushing her into the bedroom, he gagged her, tied her up and blindfolded her.
After the physical and sexual abuse of his victim, the perpetrator is said to have claimed money. She went to the kitchen with him and gave him between 80 and 100 euros from her wallet. Then he led her to the bathroom and told her to stay calm for ten minutes.
After a few minutes, she went to her office to call a neighbour and the police. There she noticed that the perpetrator had also stolen her computer.
It seemed to her that this ‘methodical procedure’ by the masked person took at least 15 minutes.
The victim’s home was near the beach and investigators discovered a vital clue. A body hair found on her bed came from Brueckner’s body.
The last photograph taken of Madeleine McCann shows her smiling next to her little sister Amelie and their father Gerry at 1.30pm on May 3 in Portugal, the day she went missing
According to a BKA DNA analyst, there is no doubt that the hair is from the accused. The gene profile found is only once among 244 billion people.
In court Brueckner came across as ‘eloquent’ and leafed through legal texts as evidence was heard. He called what happened a ‘bad deed,’ denied he had any role in it and added; ‘If I had committed this act, I would have earned ten years.’
In court he repeatedly mentioned the names of ex-lovers who he said would testify as to the ‘normalcy’ of his sex life.
He branded the witnesses as liars and said the body hair mave have got on to the victim’s bed after he had petted one of her cats on the street and the cat transferred the hair inside the house.
German witnesses from his Portuguese time described the man, who appeared intelligent in court in a plain gray shirt and slightly too-large jeans, as a wannabe big shot who drove a Jaguar and always paid attention to his appearance.
The suspect’s battered camper van. Scotland Yard released images of the VW T3 Westfalia camper van, with a white upper body and a yellow skirting, with a Portuguese registration plate
‘He was walking around very well, always wearing a shirt and jacket,’ said one.
As a young man, he dreamed of emigrating with his girlfriend at the time. He had just turned 18, had a fresh driver’s license and went to Portugal with his girlfriend because he had trouble with the judiciary and didn’t want to go to prison.
‘We didn’t know anything about Portugal. We went to Lagos because we liked the name so much. We had a tent with us and camped in the wild,’ he said.
According to his description, they met Germans who arranged jobs. He had planned to start his own business. In 1999 his escape from the law in Germany came to an abrupt end: he was arrested in Portugal and extradited back home where he served a youth sentence.
According to witnesses, he lived in Praia da Luz in a somewhat dilapidated and remote house accessed by a dirt road. ‘In terms of furnishings, it was a typical bachelor’s apartment,’ says an acquaintance.
Pictured, the Jaguar car he re-registered the day after Maddie disappeared
But the emigrant did not only seem to earn his money legally. He was imprisoned in Portugal for diesel theft, and is also said to have traded passports and stolen goods. ‘He probably got into one or the other apartment through open windows,’ says a witness. But he didn’t want to know more about it. ‘We never spoke directly about his earnings.’
He was convicted several times by German as well as Portuguese courts for crimes including theft of documents and drug trafficking.
He later came to Braunschweig. He wanted to start his own business with his partner at the time. ‘We came across a shop in Braunschweig via the Internet.’
He had been registered in Braunschweig since 2014. In court, he said he worked until seven in the morning until midnight but the business, along with his relationship, failed and he began to hit the bottle and live on social assistance.
The Ocean Club in Praia Da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007, during a family holiday with her parents and younger twin siblings
He returned to Portugal where he was arrested in June 2017 and extradited again to Germany. The reason was a sentencing of the Braunschweig district court to 15 months’ imprisonment for the sexual abuse of a child. In addition, the court ordered multi-year supervision in its 2016 ruling.
After his release in August 2018, he was homeless, the accused continued at his trial. He spent nights sleeping in park benches before fleeing to Italy where he was arrested in Milan in September 2018.
The victim remembers a long and planned procedure by the perpetrator, said the investigator in court.
After pushing her into the bedroom, he gagged her, tied her up and blindfolded her. She suspected that the man had a rope to tie him up and the blindfold with him.
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