A German court has issued an arrest warrant for the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann over a string of alleged sex crimes involving children that took place in Portugal.
The court in the town of Braunschweig confirmed on Monday that it had issued the arrest warrant for a 45-year-old suspect on five counts of sexual assault.
Although the court only referred to a 45-year-old male, the man in question is Christian Brückner, a convicted drug-dealer and sex offender whom prosecutors believe is culpable of the murder of McCann.
The British toddler disappeared from an apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007, but her body has never been found.
Brückner is currently serving a seven-year sentence for rape in a different case.
The court said that it was convinced there was a high risk that he would seek to flee or commit similar offences if he were released.
In October, prosecutors charged him with five sex crimes that took place in Portugal between the years 2000 and 2017.
In three of the crimes, Brückner is accused of abducting and raping his victims, while in the other he allegedly exposed himself to very young children.
Brückner, a drifter who had lived in several parts of Germany, was living in a camper van near to the Praia da Luz holiday resort when three-year-old McCann disappeared.
The first time Brückner came to the attention of the authorities regarding her disappearance was in 2017, after he allegedly told a friend he “knew all about” what had happened to her.
After years without progress in the case, German prosecutors made the shock announcement in 2020 that they had identified a suspect.
Hans Christian Wolters, the lead prosecutor, said last year that he and his colleagues were “confident we have the man who took and killed her”.