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Madeleine McCann suspect extradited twice on child sex offences

Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner was twice extradited from Portugal for sex crimes against children but detectives investigating the three-year-old Briton’s disappearance never considered he could be involved, it has emerged.

The serial sex attacker was first sent back to Germany in 1999 after he had spent four years on the run in the Algarve and served a two-year sentence in youth custody for sexually abusing a child.

He was sent back to Germany a second time in 2017 to serve a 15-month prison sentence for sexually abusing a child and possession of child pornography.

Brueckner was taken into custody in Portugal that year after he was caught indecently exposing himself at a children’s playground just 30-minutes-drive from Praia da Luz from where Madeleine McCann went missing.

Despite these two convictions for sex crimes against children and the indecent exposure Brueckner, who had lived on and off in the Algarve for 22 years, was never put on Portugal’s sex offenders register.

This contributed to the failure of detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann to consider Brueckner could be linked to the crime.

The new revelations are made on Portuguese broadcaster RTP’s show ‘Friday at Nine’ tonight.

Presenter Sandra Felgueiras said: ‘It may be hard to believe, but it is true.

‘The suspect in the murder of Madeleine McCann was twice extradited from Portugal to Germany for sex crimes against children but was never investigated into her disappearance from Praia da Luz.’

Parents of the children who raised the alarm after Brueckner exposed himself in the playground in the town of Sao Bartomoleu de Messines in 2017, have told of their horror.

One mother said: ‘Brueckner could have taken my daughter.

‘It is so difficult to realise that somebody linked to so many criminal case and so potentially dangerous, was so close to my daughter.’

Brueckner was arrested at 2.15am by local police officers after four children told their parents he had flashed at them while they were playing.

The Portuguese police have maintained that Brueckner was dismissed from their initial inquiries into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann because they did not know about his child sex crimes.

But the latest revelation that he was a known child sex attacker adds the catalogue of failures of the Portuguese authorities.

Last month it emerged that Brueckner had admitted to a judge that he was a sexual predator in 2006, the year before the youngster went missing.

But this admission was not logged and he was not put on the country’s sex offenders register.

Brueckner only became a suspect in 2017 after he boasted to a friend in a bar in Hannover Germany he was knew what had happened to Madeleine McCann as they watched a TV appeal on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance.

The German Federal Police asked Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria to investigate Brueckner and they discovered that the took a phone while he was in Praia da Luz just before the youngster vanished.

Brueckner had returned to Portugal in 2017 but was extradited back to Germany after he was caught exposing himself to serve a 15-month prison sentence for sexually abusing a child and possession of child pornography.

He was released in August 2018 and fled the country.

He was arrested in September 2018 in Milan, Italy, and extradited back to Germany and charged with drug dealing.

In 2019 he was charged and convicted of raping a 72-year-old tourist in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2005.

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