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Madeleine McCann latest news: Suspect Christian B will remain behind bars after losing appeal to get out of jail early

- When did Madeleine McCann go missing?
- How many ‘sightings’ have there been?
- Where are Madeleine McCann's parents now?
- Who is suspect Christian B?

MADELEINE McCann prime suspect Christian B will remain in jail as his appeal against a rape conviction has already failed, a German politician has claimed.

The 43-year-old convicted paedophile is appealing to the European Court of Justice but politician Ulrich Watermann says the court has already thrown out his bid.

A seven-year jail term for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz, Portugal will start at the end of him serving time for drugs trafficking in January next year.

In a hearing at the ECJ last week, his lawyers had argued it was a breach of international law to put him on trial for the rape, with a final decision due in the coming weeks.

But Ulrich Watermann says the court has already made up its mind that the conviction is lawful according to the Mirror.

Follow our live blog for all the latest news and updates.

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    FORENSIC EXPERT SAYS MCCANN CASE WILL BE SOLVED

    A top forensic expert is determined Madeleine McCann’s disappearance will one day be solved.

    Professor Angela Gallop, a world-renowned scientist whose work has helped to solve numerous cold cases, said the riddle would finally be solved because “contact always leaves a trace”.

    Speaking to the Sun Online, Prof Gallop CBE explained: “There have been so many cases where it has looked so hopeless at the start, but where we have been able to dig out something which has led to a resolution.”

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    PROSECUTORS FEAR CHRISTIAN B MAY DISAPPEAR IF RELEASED

    Madeleine McCann had been on holiday with her family in Portugal when she vanished from her bedroom, sparking a search that has lasted more than a decade.

    Earlier this year, Christian B was revealed as the prime suspect being investigated by a German prosecutor who believes Madeleine is dead. 

    43-year-old convicted paedophile was living nearby at the time of Madeleine's disappearance and telephone data suggests he was near the apartment an hour before she was last seen.

    He is currently serving sentences for rape and drug dealing in a prison in Kiel, north Germany.

    But his jail term for the drugs offence ends in January and prosecutors fear he could disappear once released.

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    WHAT SENTENCE IS CHRISTIAN B CURRENTLY SERVING?

    Christian B is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    The 43-year-old convicted paedophile is serving a prison sentence in Germany for drug trafficking and is appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in the same Portuguese resort, for which he was sentenced to seven years in jail.

    He was reportedly 18 when he moved to the Portugal with his then-girlfriend in 1995.

    Christian B spent 12 years living in the Algarve, and was based in a ramshackle farmhouse in hills overlooking Praia and just a short drive from the Ocean Club.

    His reported total of 17 previous convictions also includes theft and forging documents.

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    INVESTIGATOR SAYS UK POLICE WOULD HAVE BETTER HANDLED MCCANN CASE

    A specialist in major crimes and child abuse has revealed how he believes British police would have handled the Madeleine McCann case, had they been in charge of the investigation from day one.

    Mark Williams-Thomas told Express.co.uk: “It’s crucial to get house-to-house done really quickly, particularly in an area like that – if you’re doing house-to-house in central London you’re dealing with people who are living there, whereas in Praia da Luz you’re dealing with a transient community who are largely holidayers.”

    “Therefore 24 hours can make a significant difference in terms of somebody being there or not being there.”

    “The British police, we’ve had considerable experience dealing with critical time-sensitive cases, in particular, child abductions.”

    “We’ve learnt from major mistakes we’ve made in cases in the past.”

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    CHRISTIAN B WOULD FACE COURT ‘SERENELY AND CALMLY’ SAYS LAWYER

    The lawyer for Christian B, the main suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, says he doesn’t believe his client will ever face a trial – but if it did, the 43-year-old paedophile would face the court “serenely and calmly.”

    Lawyer Friedrich Fulscher insisted Christian B “has nothing to hide”.

    Prosecutors said in June that they had mobile phone data which put Christian B near the Ocean Club apartments in Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve from where Madeleine, three, was taken in May, 2007.

    Christian B is currently appealing at the European Court of Justice against his conviction for raping an American woman aged 72 in Praia da Luz in 2005.

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    CHRISTIAN B WILL 'NEVER FACE TRIAL'

    Prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance will never face trial, his lawyer claims.

    Police are adamant that the convicted German paedophile is the culprit and insist they have “concrete evidence’’ Madeleine is dead.'

    Christian B’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher has dismissed the claims, saying there will be no trial.

    He said: “Where is the evidence?”

    “Why has the prosecution not revealed it?”

    “There won’t be a trial for my client for Madeleine McCann. I am certain.”

  • Elizabeth Little 's avatarElizabeth Little

    MADELEINE MCCANN PRIME SUSPECT TO REMAIN BEHIND BARS

    The European Court of Justice has already decided on a ruling meaning the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance will not be released early from prison, a German politician has claimed. 

    Germany is treating the case as a murder investigation, with 43-year-old paedophile Christian B under suspicion.

    Christian B is currently in prison in the northern German city of Kiel for drugs offences.

    Ulrich Watermann, the parliamentary group's spokesman on domestic policy for the Social Party of Germany in Lower Saxony, has told The Mirror the European Court of Justice has already made a decision which will ultimately keep the main suspect behind bars.

  • Rebecca Husselbee 's avatarRebecca Husselbee

    'WE'VE LEARNT FROM MAJOR MISTAKES WE'VE MADE IN CASES IN THE PAST'

    A former detective has said that if British police were able to invetsigate from the start of the Madeleine McCann case, that they 'would have linked suspect with in days'.

    The specialist in major crimes and child abuse, Mark Williams-Thomas, explained how he believed that Brit cops would have been more aware of how to deal with the critical incident which may have lead police to prime suspect Christain B.

    He told the Express: “It’s crucial to get house-to-house done really quickly, particularly in an area like that – if you’re doing house-to-house in central London you’re dealing with people who are living there, whereas in Praia da Luz you’re dealing with a transient community who are largely holidayers.

    “Therefore 24 hours can make a significant difference in terms of somebody being there or not being there.

    “The British police, we’ve had considerable experience dealing with critical time-sensitive cases, in particular, child abductions.

    “We’ve learnt from major mistakes we’ve made in cases in the past.”

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    MISSING FOR OVER A DECADE

    On May 3, 2007, Madeleine McCann, three, vanished from her bedroom in the apartment her family were staying in at the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal while her parents, Kate and Gerry, ate with friends at a nearby restaurant.

    The apartment was broken into while Madeleine and her twin baby siblings were asleep, and local police concluded it was a kidnapping.

    The family voiced concern at what they called was a slow initial police response and a failure to secure the crime scene.

    In the following days, the McCanns turned to the media to help locate their daughter, and the case attracted global attention with soccer stars David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo joining the appeals for information.

    The media focus on the case led to reported sightings of Madeleine across the globe. However, the early investigation by Portuguese police produced no major leads.

    The following July, the Portuguese police dropped their investigation because of a lack of evidence.

    The British police began their own investigation – Operation Grange – saying they had identified 38 potential suspects.

    They released an e-fit image of a number of men, including one of an unidentified suspect they particularly wanted to trace.

    Soon after, Portuguese prosecutors ordered the case to be reopened by local police.

    The new inquiry led Portuguese police to interview four suspects, but they were later cleared of any involvement, and a search by British detectives of wasteland near Praia da Luz also failed to provide a breakthrough.

    In June 2020, British and German police said they had identified a new suspect in the case, a 43-year-old German man.

    Prime suspect Christian B lived in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007 and burgled hotels and holiday flats as well as trading drugs.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    WHAT IS OPERATION GRANGE?

    Nine years ago, the Met police said that it had agreed to bring its expertise to the Madeleine McCann case, after a request from the Home Secretary.

    Known as Operation Grange, the team is led by the Specialist Crime Command unit and involved, in the first instance, an ‘investigative review’.

    This was a check of all of the investigations that had been previously conducted into the circumstances of the toddler’s disappearance.

    Then in June this year – 13 years after she was abducted – DCI Mark Cranwell, who is heading Operation Grange, said they received more than 270 calls and emails following an appeal for information on German TV.

    Investigators were inundated with hundreds of tip-offs after paedophile Christian B was identified as the prime suspect in the child's disappearance.

    They also revealed:

    • Christian B used two vehicles around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance
    • The first was a distinctive early ‘80s VW T3 Westfalia campervan with a white upper body and a yellow skirting
    • It was used in and around the area of Praia da Luz, from at least April 2007 until sometime after May 2007
    • The second vehicle was a 1993 British Jaguar, model XJR 6, with a German number plate and registered in Germany
    • On 4 May 2007, the day after Madeleine’s disappearance, the car was re-registered to someone else in Germany – but cops believe the car was still in Portugal around that time
    • Both of these vehicles are now held by the German authorities
  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    WHY IS BRAUNSCHWEIG INTERESTED IN MADELEINE’S DISAPPEARANCE?

    On June 3 2020, the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office announced that it was “investigating a 43-year-old German national on suspicion of murder”.

    The office explained its probe was “in connection with the disappearance of the then 3-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann on May 3, 2007 from an apartment complex in Praia da Luz in Portugal.

    “The accused is a sex offender with multiple criminal records, who has also been convicted of child sexual abuse.

    “The accused lived regularly in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, including for several years in a house between Lagos and Praia da Luz.

    “According to the information available here, he did several odd jobs in the Lagos area during this time, including in the restaurant business.”

    The Braunschweig public prosecutor's office said it was “involved in the investigation because the accused was last domiciled in the local district before his stay abroad”.

    The investigation in Germany is being carried out “on behalf of the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in close cooperation with the [UK[‘s] Metropolitan Police and the Polícia Judiciária in Portugal.”

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    ‘BARKED A LOT’

    Sniffer dogs used to search a Germany allotment connected to the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case were said to have “barked a lot” when a hidden cellar was uncovered by cops.

    The dogs are trained to bark should they come across traces of human remains or potential evidence as cops searched the ­allotment in Seelze, Hanover, once used by paedo Christian B.

    According to the Telegraph, a person present at the scene said: “The sniffer dogs were barking quite a lot in the morning”, as cops removed a cement block from the entrance to the cellar.

    Christian B, 43, left the site in 2007 or 2008, with no visible sign of the cellar left.

    But it was finally uncovered last month by 100 police and forensic officers, who spent days using dogs, diggers and underground radar equipment.

    Officials have not as yet revealed what they were looking for.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    ‘PAIN WILL REMAIN’

    German politician Ulrich Watermann said: “I hope that the case will be solved so that [Madeleine's] parents can close a terrible chapter.

    “But despite this, the pain will remain.”

    Madeleine McCann was aged three when she disappeared in May, 2007 while on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve.

    Watermann claimed that prime suspect Christian B is to remain in jail, as he understands his appeal against a rape conviction has already failed.

    A seven-year jail term for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz, Portugal is due to kick in at the end of him serving time for drugs trafficking, in January next year.

    In a hearing at the European Court of Justice, his lawyers had argued that it was a breach of international law to put him on trial for the rape.

    Watermann said he believed the court has already thrown out his bid, with the official ruling set to be announced later this week, reports the Mirror.

    The ECJ case in Luxembourg hinges on a legal point relating to Christian B's extradition to Germany from Portugal and later Italy.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    ‘WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?’

    Prime suspect Christian B will never face trial for Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, his lawyer claims.

    His lawyer Friedrich Fulscher said: “Where is the evidence?

    “Why has the prosecution not revealed it?

    “There won’t be a trial for my client for Madeleine McCann. I am certain.”

    He said if the case ever did get to trial, drifter Christian B would face the court “serenely and calmly . . . he has nothing to hide”.

    Prosecutors said in June that they had mobile phone data which put Christian B near the Ocean Club apartments in Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve from where Madeleine, three, was taken in May, 2007.

    Christian B is currently appealing at the European Court of Justice against his conviction for raping a American woman aged 72 in Praia da Luz in 2005.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    ‘WON'T GET AWAY WITH IT'

    A top forensic expert said that Madeleine McCann’s disappearance WILL one day be solved.

    Professor Angela Gallop, a world-renowned scientist whose work has helped to solve numerous cold cases, said the mystery would finally be solved because “contact always leaves a trace”.

    Her passion and attention to detail has seen her work on and solve murders including Stephen Lawrence, Rachel Nickell and the Coastal Path murders in Pembrokeshire in the 1980s.

    Speaking to the Sun Online, Prof Gallop explained: “There have been so many cases where it has looked so hopeless at the start, but where we have been able to dig out something which has led to a resolution.”

    She added: “I’ve always been interested in this case – after all this time it would be extremely tough.

    “But one thing I’ve found with some of these really difficult crimes is that you never say never about anything.

    “I’m an optimist by nature and an optimist now because of my teams’ success in helping to solve so many of these complex cold cases.

    “(The concept) that every contact leaves a trace I now know to be absolutely true.

    “The difficulty is usually in finding the traces in the first place.”

    For the full story, see HERE.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    WHO IS MADELEINE SUSPECT CHRISTIAN B?

    German sex offender Christian B, who is currently serving time in prison for drug offences, is being investigated following Madeleine McCann’s disappearance during her family holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

    He is a prolific burglar, who has previous convictions for sex crimes against young girls.

    The prime suspect was already known to British and Portuguese police in relation to Madeleine's disappearance in Praia da Luz.

    Christian B has 17 child sex convictions and is known to have videoed victims.

    Yet recent information came from a witness who stepped forward following an appeal by the Met Police on the tenth anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction in 2017.

    He is in jail in Kiel on drugs charges and is appealing a conviction for the rape of a 72-year-old.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    ‘MAKES ME SICK’

    A man, known only as Tomas, said he was horrified to realise the man who gave him a lift in a camper 13 years ago was the main suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    He told the Mail Online: “It makes me sick to think that the little girl could have been taken away in the same van a month later.”

    In newly unearthed footage the paedophile, 43, can be seen laughing as he is filmed by three German travellers he had offered to drive from Portugal to Spain.

    In the video obtained by the Mail Online, Christian B can be seen wearing a white sweatshirt and black necklace, joking around while looking at a map in the back of the distinctive rusting campervan.

    The video, dating back to March 30 2007, was taken just five weeks before Madeleine went missing from the holiday apartment, sparking one of the biggest missing persons cases in recent history.

    Tomas added: “He seemed like any other ordinary young man. He was cheerful and joked a lot and happy to give us a ride in his VW van.

    “He didn't mind us filming him and taking his pictures. He was happy to pose and must have known we could never suspect what a terrible man he really was.”

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    COURT OPINION NOT BINDING

    A court last week sided against the suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance in his bid to overturn a rape conviction.

    At the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, Advocate General Michael Bobek gave a preliminary ruling on a legal point relating to Christian B’s extradition to Germany from Portugal and later Italy.

    He:

    • Considered judicial cooperation in criminal matters
    • Looked at the European arrest warrant and surrender procedure between member states
    • Considered the legal effects of voluntary departure from the country that issued the first European arrest warrant, and the forced return to its territory on a second warrant

    Bobek said that Christian B was prosecuted in Germany successively in three criminal cases for various offences: for dealing with narcotics; for sexual abuse of a child committed in Portugal and for a serious rape also committed in Portugal (predatory extortion).

    The case hinges on a legal point relating to his extradition to Germany.

    When the hearing at the ECJ in Luxembourg opened last month the German prosecutor’s lawyer, Felix Halabi, had argued that Christian B’s argument was “nonsensical”.

    He said: “The suspect made the most of European open borders and now he wants us to interpret the law so as to get it turned on its head in order to give him an advantage in court.”

    A final decision by ECJ judges will be known at a later date.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    KATE MCCANN’S ‘HORROR DISCOVERY’

    Kate McCann made a “horror” discovery while combing through police files on her daughter’s abduction in Portugal.

    The heartbroken mum revealed in her book how the family’s routine with friends they were holidaying with could have been easily monitored by anyone watching them.

    A friend of the family had made a block booking at a tapas restaurant close to their apartment so they could check on their young children intermittently.

    She wrote: “It wasn’t until a year later, when I was combing through the Portuguese police files that I discovered that the note requesting our block booking was written in a staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool reception for most of the day.

    “This book was by definition accessible to all staff and, albeit unintentionally, probably to guests and visitors, too.

    “To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence and simply to explain why she was bending the rules a bit, the receptionist had added the reason for our request.

    “[It was because] we wanted to eat close to our apartment as we were leaving our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently.”

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    APPEAL CONTINUES

    Last Thursday's ruling on Christian B's bid to overturn a rape conviction was only preliminary.

    It was an “opinion” given by Advocate General Michael Bobek at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.

    That means it's not binding, and Christian B's appeal has thus not yet been officially concluded.

    He is appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal, for which he was sentenced to seven years in jail.

    The case delves into a legal point relating to his extradition from Portugal – and later, Italy – to Germany, where he is currently in prison serving time for drug trafficking.

    Bobek said the consent of only the Italian authorities was needed for the Germans to carry out their proceedings legally.

    It comes ahead of a final decision by ECJ judges at a later date.

    A delighted German prosecutor Julia Meyer told the PA news agency: “The advocate general shares our opinion.

    “We are pleased and wait for the decision of the court the next few weeks.”

    The Guardian reports that ECJ judges usually back the Advocate Generals' opinions.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    'IT CHANGED MY WHOLE LIFE'

    The elderly American widow raped by Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian B told an FBI agent the horrific attack “changed my whole life and led to me moving back to the United States.”

    Official documents tell how she failed to notice balaclava-clad fiend slipping into her home because she was gripped by TV news about Hurricane Katrina.

    She told the agent: “I went to the study. I was grabbed by a very strong and tall man by the neck in the dark and pulled up the five stone stairs into the bedroom.

    “I was briefly able to recognise a masked figure.

    “Dark eyes looked out of slits and he had held a long, curved knife, which looked like a sabre.”

    Christian B, 43, is appealing a conviction for raping the 72-year-old woman.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    TEST PROBE

    Madeleine McCann investigators in Germany want to re-test a saliva sample from the Portugal flat where she vanished to see if it matches main suspect Christian B, it’s been reported.

    In June, The Sun reported how a scrap of blue material in the vaults of a Portuguese forensic lab could provide the vital link between Christian B and Madeleine McCann.

    Detectives hope advances in DNA testing may yet provide a full profile for comparison with the 43-year-old convicted paedophile and rapist.

    The material comes from the bedspread draped over the bed Madeleine was sleeping on when she was abducted from her family’s holiday apartment.

    Tests uncovered a microscopic a DNA profile initially identified as semen, but later confirmed to be saliva.

    And according to Sky News, German authorities are now keen to re-examine a sample from the Praia da Luz holiday apartment where Madeleine vanished from in 2007.

    Sky News claimed Portuguese tests on the sample apparently found no DNA match to Christian B.

    Authorities in Germany believe their scientists should do their own tests.

    But Portuguese police may not send the sample due to legal restrictions in sending samples abroad for testing and recent criticism of them from Germany, Sky reported.

    Asked about the report about the saliva sample, Braunschweig state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the Madeleine investigation, said in June: “That information is not mine.

    “I don't know where it comes from. I can't confirm anything.”

  • Tariq Tahir 's avatarTariq Tahir

    CHRISTIAN B TO REMAIN IN JAIL AS APPEAL ALREADY DECIDED

    Prime suspect Christian B is to remain in jail as his appeal against a rape conviction has failed, a German politician has said.

    The paedophile is currently appealing to the European Court of Justice after being convicted of raping a 72-year-old American woman.

    But Ulrich Watermann says the court has already made a decision that the conviction is lawful, ultimately keeping Christian B behind bars, the Mirror reports.

    Waterman is a Social Democratic Party of Germany politician in Lower Saxony and prosecutors there are leading the case against Christian B.

    A court in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, is also handling the rape appeal.

    Christian B is currently on jail for drugs offences but is soon eligible for parole meaning that if his rape conviction had been overturned he could have walked free.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    RAPE DNA DESTROYED

    DNA from a rape case allegedly linked to Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B was destroyed on the orders of Portuguese prosecutors.

    Irish rape victim Hazel Behan waived her right last anonymity in June to say she believes a masked man who targeted her in her Algarve apartment could have been the German sex offender.

    She went public about her horrific 2004 attack after discovering Christian B was convicted late last year of the September 2005 rape of an elderly American woman in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

    Met Police told her they were taking her case very seriously and were contacting Portuguese counterparts after taking her statement.

    But, it later emerged that biological material collected from the crime scene was destroyed.

    The extraordinary decision was laid bare in court papers relating to Ms Behan’s rape in Praia da Rocha – which is a 30-minute drive east of Praia da Luz.

    The former holiday rep suffered a terrifying five-hour ordeal during which she was abducted, gagged, threatened with a machete and raped.

    But, potentially key evidence was thrown away after the case was mothballed in March 2007.

    Cops shelved the investigation as the attack happened during Euro 2004, when there were more people in the area, and they decided it was a “one-off”.

    Case files in Ms Behan's case describe her rapist as an English speaker who could be “German, Belgian or Dutch.”

    They add: “As they are in a bad condition it is improbable that if this re-investigation was reopened the material could be subjected to counterproof analysis.”

    For the full story, see HERE.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

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