German authorities “ignored information about a suspect in 2013”
Seven years ago, German authorities allegedly ignored warnings from their own police that suspect Christian B could have kidnapped and killed Madeleine McCann.
A report from detectives monitoring Christian B identified him as a key suspect in the Magdalen Mystery, but he was ignored by the German Federal Criminal Bureau, according to the news magazine Der Spiegel.
The 2013 police report was triggered after British detectives re-appealed the Madeleine case on a German Crimewatch-style TV show.
Scotland Yard had just launched its own investigation and was appealing to European tourists who may have been in Portugal when Madeleine disappeared from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in 2007.
The report was sent to Federal Police HQ by the Braunschweig Police, who were monitoring the criminal behavior of Christian B. At that time, he had already been convicted of child sexual abuse.
Der Spiegel writes: “One person submitted information about Christian B, but the report from the Braunschweig police to the Federal Office of Criminal Investigations was apparently not followed up, much to the dismay of local investigators.
It comes as German police are said to be investigating Madeleine’s new suspect for possible involvement in a boy’s disappearance in Portugal in 1996.
They are re-examining the disappearance of René Hasee, according to German media.
The six-year-old from Elsdorf, Germany, disappeared from a beach while on vacation with his family in the Portuguese Algarve.
It follows the launch of an investigation to determine whether the suspect was involved in the disappearance of another child – Inga Gehricke.
The five-year-old went missing during a family barbecue in the Saxony-Anhalt region on May 2, 2015.
She is believed to have wandered through a forest in search of firewood and is known to German media as “The German Madwoman”.
Officers named the suspect – a convicted sex offender – only as Christian B and did not disclose his last name for legal reasons.
A Sky News investigation discovered last year that he was already considered a potential suspect for Inga’s disappearance.
It is understood that his home was raided by police in 2016, but no action was taken.
He would have had a property about 100 km southwest of Stendal in the town of Neuwegersleben when Inga went missing.
A year later, he became a suspect in the Madeleine case after police were notified by a man who claimed Christian B had indicated he was responsible for her kidnapping.
Christian B is currently in a German prison serving a seven-year sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American in Portugal 15 years ago. He was found guilty of the offense by the Braunschweig District Court in December last year.
The suspect had lived in the German city of Braunschweig before going abroad.
Madeleine was almost four years old when she disappeared from her bedroom on May 3, 2007 while on a family vacation in the Algarve, Portugal, while her parents were dining with friends nearby.
German police said he lived in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007.
Sky New understands the man returned to the frame in 2017 following an alleged confession.
He was in a bar in Germany with another man, around the tenth anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance. A report was broadcast on television on the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance and he said something to suggest he knew what had happened.
He also allegedly showed a video of himself raping a woman. Video of the rape led to an investigation which meant last year that he was convicted of raping a tourist in the Algarve around 2005 – bringing him back into the frame.
A spokesperson for Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann said they believed the identification of the German suspect was “the most important development in 13 years”.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for Madeleine’s family, said her parents “were trying to keep life as normal as possible” and were waiting for updates from the police.
German prosecutors said on Thursday they believed Madeleine was dead and police were treating her disappearance as a murder investigation.
Police called on anyone with information on the suspect to come forward, including the movements of two vehicles linked to him during the period surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance.
The two cars, a Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar, are now in the possession of the German police.
The suspect had the Jaguar re-registered in Germany under someone else’s name the day after Madeleine went missing, although it is believed the vehicle was still in Portugal.
The Metropolitan Police have received more than 270 calls and emails since the launch of the new appeal.
Chief Detective Inspector Mark Cranwell said Scotland Yard was “satisfied” with the information reaching the incident room and that he was assessing and prioritizing new leads.
Operation Grange de la force still sees the case as a missing person investigation as there is no “definitive proof whether Madeleine is alive or dead”.