German police looking to solve the 13-year hunt for Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper hope to wrap up the case “within months”.
Braunschweig public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has refused to say if paedophile Christian Brueckner will face charges over the British three-year-old’s abduction in 2007.
But police are facing a race against time to keep him in jail – with an appeal against a rape conviction due to be heard in court tomorrow. Mr Wolters said: “We have no endeavours to drag this out unnecessarily. We’ll draw a line at some point and see: Is it enough for an indictment or not?”
Brueckner, 43, was named as prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance last month – more than a decade after she vanished from her holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
He is in Kiel prison, Germany, serving a 21-month prison sentence for drug offences after he was extradited back to Germany last year. He was subsequently convicted of raping a 72-year-old American woman in the resort in 2005.
But tomorrow he will appeal against the rape conviction in a Luxembourg court, claiming his extradition under a European Arrest Warrant was unlawful as it related only to the drug charge.
If successful he could be released as early as next February but Mr Wolters hopes the German will fail in his bid to be freed.
He said: “We have an interest in keeping our suspect in custody. This gives us access to interrogations and in the event of an indictment.”
Last week Portuguese police searched abandoned wells near a seaside haunt where the paedo parked his campervan.
But German prosecutors were not told about fresh searches.
They say they do not even know what prompted them to begin the hunt. It raises fresh concerns about the probe, which has faced claims of “botches” and missed chances to find her.