There is compelling evidence the German prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann killed her but it cannot be shared with the public, German prosecutors said today.
"If you knew the evidence we had you would come to the same conclusion as I do," Hans Christian Wolters, the prosecutor in charge of the case told the BBC. "But I can't give you details because we don't want the accused to know what we have on him — these are tactical considerations."
Christian Brueckner, a 43-year-old convicted paedophile and rapist, was named as a suspect in the toddler's disappearance in June, but is yet to be charged in connection with the case. German prosecutors say that while they have evidence against him it is not yet enough to secure a conviction.
"I can't promise, I can't guarantee that we have enough to bring a charge but I'm very confident because what we have so far doesn't allow any other conclusion at all," Wolters told the BBC.
The claim comes days after Scotland Yard said it had yet to see any evidence that Madeleine was dead or had been murdered, and that it was still treating her case as a missing persons inquiry.
"I would not expect necessarily, every single piece of material to be shared with us. I'm sure they're sharing the relevant things at the relevant times with us. We are working really, really closely with them," Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said.
Last month, an internal Portuguese police memo was leaked to the press which described its officers as "shocked" after a briefing from German prosecutors on their evidence against Brueckner. Portuguese police left the meeting convinced the Germans have "no evidence, just speculation" and were determined to "keep Brueckner in prison at all costs", according to the memo.
Madeleine disappeared from the holiday villa where she was staying with her family in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. She was 3 years old.
Brueckner is known to have been in the area at the time, but German prosecutors have previously admitted that without further evidence charges may never be brought against him over her disappearance.
A career criminal, he is currently serving a 21-month sentence for drug offences. He will remain behind bars when it ends in January after losing an appeal against a separate seven-year sentence for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman in the same area of Portugal where Madeleine went missing.
He has been convicted of child sex abuse on multiple occasions, the first time when he was just 17 years old. In 2017 he was convicted of possessing pornographic images of children under the age of 14 being abused by adults and being forced to perform sex acts.
The conviction came after police found a digital camera memory card containing hundreds of child porn images and videos hidden in a mobile home on a derelict plot of land belonging to Brueckner. The same search also uncovered a child's swimming costume.
German prosecutors have plenty of time to build a case against Brueckner, after his appeal against his rape conviction on an extradition technicality was rejected. He will not be eligible for parole for four and a half years, and his most recent parole application on another sentence was rejected on the grounds he is a danger to society.
Lawyers for Brueckner insist he is innocent.