A former girlfriend of the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case has dropped a major clue that may help prosecutors.
When McCann vanished from a holiday resort apartment complex in Portugal in 2007, paedophile and prime suspect Christian Brueckner fell silent when friends spoke about the missing 3-year-old.
But his ex-girlfriend Nakscije Miftari has now come forward, revealing Brueckner later admitted being nearby at the time McCann disappeared.
Miftari also said that the convicted paedophile, now 44, hit her when she discovered child pornography showing young blonde girls being abused on his phone.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, she said that McCann's disappearance had been raised by friends in 2014 at a party in their home in Braunschweig, Germany.
But Brueckner "made no answer".
Later on she confronted Brueckner about the topic, saying he went on to say: "I know about Maddie, I was near the hotel at the time.
"I was living in the area at the time. I am not going to say anything more. I am not a stupid guy, I am a businessman."
His former girlfriend had told German police of their conversation, and said she is petrified of him, describing him as controlling.
She came to meet him when she was 17, but their relationship ended when he unleashed a brutal attack on her when she discovered his child pornography on his devices.
"I asked him about the videos and pictures and that's when he punched me."
Miftari, now 25, said she fell down the stairs and was unconscious for around 10 minutes after the attack, which she and her mother reported to the police.
Last year German detectives identified Brueckner, 44, as their sole suspect in her disappearance but are yet to file any charges against him in relation to the case.
Investigators are now said to be "100 per cent convinced" the convicted sex offender is the man responsible.
Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said last month his team was compiling as much evidence as possible before charging him, which they predict they will do in 2022.
Wolters said among the evidence police have includes "circumstantial evidence" – a "confession" Brueckner made, and phone analysis which shows he was at the Ocean Club when the toddler vanished.
However, sources close to Bruckner say police have no evidence.
"B and his legal team remain sure Wolters and his investigators don't have a shred of evidence to convict him on or charge him over," the source told The Sun.
"Their position has always been clear: if there is evidence, show it. But the police never have. That's why they are convinced these comments are a bluff designed to get B to crack behind bars and confess to someone. That will never happen.
"B believes Wolters is simply a celebrity cop looking to make headlines."