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Madeleine McCann news: Apartment was ‘prime location’ for crime and suspect cleared of rape and murder of Claudia Ruf

- When did Madeleine McCann go missing?
- How many ‘sightings’ have there been?
- How old would Madeleine McCann be now?
- Who is suspect Christian B?

THE McCann apartment in Praia da Luz was the "prime location" for crime, police told the distraught parents are Madeleine went missing.

In their book Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Hear, mother Kate revealed how their ground-floor flat was a "prime" target for criminals.

She wrote: "Though I envied David and Fiona with their sea view, being on the ground floor meant we didn’t have to worry about the children’s safety on a balcony.

"Later, we were told by the British police that the ground-floor location, access to roads front and side, secluded entrance and partial tree cover made our apartment a prime target for burglars and criminals."

The book has resurfaced for the latest push to find Maddie and solve her disappearance - with Christian B currently the prime suspect in the case.

But he has been cleared of involvement in the rape and murder of another young girl.

The German national had been a suspect in the 1996 killing of Claudia Ruf, 11, whose partly burned body was found 40 miles from the German town of Grevenbroich.

She had been kidnapped while walking a neighbour's dog.

Cops investigating a potential link to Christian B today confirmed DNA tests have ruled him out as a suspect in Claudia's murder.

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

  • Chiara Fiorillo 's avatarChiara Fiorillo

    'ORDINARY YOUNG MAN'

    One man in the film, known only as Tomas, said he was horrified when he realised the man who had given him a lift in the camper 13 years ago was the main suspect in the disappearance of the young British girl.

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

    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.”

  • Chiara Fiorillo 's avatarChiara Fiorillo

    'CAMPERVAN TO HIDE KIDS'

    Christian B was filmed behind the wheel of a VW campervan he “converted to hide kids” just weeks before Maddie went missing in 2007.

    The campervan has become a crucial piece of evidence in the missing toddler case after witnesses claimed they saw the vehicle close to where the three-year-old as snatched in Praia da Luz.

    An eery clip shows the interior of the van as the suspect appears to be in good spirits after it emerged that he may have altered the vehicle to 'hide children'.

  • Chiara Fiorillo 's avatarChiara Fiorillo

    'NOT A MONSTER'

    The lawyer said Christian B was not a “monster” – despite his list of previous crimes, including the sexual abuse of a child, rape and drug offences.

    “I don't recognise the person the media describes. I am able to describe him as a very calm and friendly person when I talk to him in prison,” Mr Fulscher said.

  • Chiara Fiorillo 's avatarChiara Fiorillo

    SUSPECT'S SILENCE

    The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will never co-operate with the police, his lawyer says.

    Convicted rapist and child abuser Christian B's lawyer Friedrich Fulscher said his client would not help cops trying to find out what happened to the missing three-year-old.

    “Before our client starts to co-operate with the prosecutor's office, you could order holy water as a long drink in hell,” Mr Fulscher told the Sydney Morning Herald.

    “That is not unusual. It is very normal not to talk to the police when you are suspected of committing a crime. The prosecutor's office has to prove that a suspect has committed a crime, and not the suspect prove that he hasn't.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    LAWYER DISPUTES ‘PHONE PING’

    Christian B’s lawyer has disputed that the convict’s phone “pinged” a tower in the area where Madeleine disappeared on the night she vanished.

    Speaking yesterday Friedrich Fulscher added he did not think his client was a “monster”.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    POLICE STATEMENT ON CLAUDIA RUF

    German cops have confirmed Christian B, previously a suspect in the 1996 killing of Claudia Ruf, 11, could not have been involved.

    The girl’s partly burned body was found 40 miles from the German town of Grevenbroich.

    “After comparing the information obtained, it can be said that Christian B was not in Grevenbroich at the time of the crime in the case of Claudia Ruf,” a police spokesman today told Bild.

    “In addition, a DNA comparison is said to have been negative.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    COPS – NO COMMENT ON CELLAR DIG

    German cops have refused to comment on the excavation of a cellar once owned by Christian B, local media reports.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    MORE CLUES IN MADDIE DISAPPEARANCE

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHEN DID MADELEINE MCANN DISAPPEAR?

    Madeleine vanished 13 years ago on May 3, 2007, when her family, from Leicestershire, were holidaying in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, Portugal.

    Parents Gerry and Kate left their three children – including toddler twins Sean and Amelie – sleeping in their apartment while they dined at a tapas bar – 120 metres away.

    When Kate returned to check on the kids at around 10pm that evening, she discovered that Madeleine was not in her bed and was missing.

    In September of that year, Gerry and Kate, both doctors, were sensationally named as “arguidos” by Portuguese police.

    The following summer the McCanns were cleared by investigators in Portugal who declared they had exhausted all avenues in the case.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHERE PRIME SUSPECT CHRISTIAN B LIVED

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHO ARE KATE AND GERRY MCCANN?

    Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry are both practising Catholics who met in Glasgow in 1993.

    Kate became a GP after studying medicine at the University of Dundee while Gerry has been a consultant cardiologist since 2005.

    The couple got married in 1998 before having their first child, Madeleine, in 2003.

    They also have twin children, a boy and a girl, who were born in 2005 and live in Rothley, Leicestershire.

    Kate and Gerry had been married for nine years when Madeleine disappeared on the night of May 3, 2007.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    MCCANN’S APARTMENT WAS ‘PRIME LOCATION’ FOR CRIME

    In her book Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her, Kate McCann details how their ground-floor apartment was a “prime” spot for criminals.

    She wrote: “Though I envied David and Fiona with their sea view, being on the ground floor meant we didn’t have to worry about the children’s safety on a balcony.”

    Kate continues: “Later, we were told by the British police that the ground-floor location, access to roads front and side, secluded entrance and partial tree cover made our apartment a prime target for burglars and criminals.

    “Never once did this occur to us when we arrived.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    KATE MCCAN’S ‘HORROR DISCOVERY’

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

    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.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop 's avatarLottie Tiplady-Bishop

    ‘KATE AND GERRY ALWAYS SUPPORTED OPPORTUNIST CRIMINAL THEORY’

    The parents of Madeleine McCann have long supported the theory their daughter was snatched by an opportunist criminal working in the area, The Express reports.

    Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha reports the case’s prime suspect Christian B may have been tipped off by a staff member working at the Ocean Club where Madeleine disappeared to Brit tourists leaving valuables unattended in their apartments.

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    CHRISTIAN B LIVED IN 'SQUALID VILLA'

    The new suspect in the Madeleine McCann case once lived in a squalid villa in Portugal – just a few miles from where the youngster went missing in The Algarve.

    Pics of the “disgusting and vile” farmhouse-style property show rubbish scattered outside and a badly overgrown garden.

    Neighbours in Portugal described its former resident as an “angry” man who vanished suddenly after leaving a bizarre collection of wigs and exotic clothing.

    One told Sky News: “He arrived in the mid-nineties and rented the place from the English owner.

    “He went back to Germany at one stage and moved another German guy in to look after it, then came back and threw him out on the street.

    “He was always a bit angry, driving fast up and down the lane, and then one day, around 2006, he just disappeared without a word.

    The woman then added: “About six months later I was asked to help clean up the place and it was disgusting, absolutely vile.

    “It had been trashed, with broken stuff like computers all over the place.

    “We found a bin bag and inside were wigs and exotic clothing, whether just fancy dress or something stranger I couldn't tell.”

    She revealed she was later contacted by Scotland Yard who quizzed her about her former neighbour.

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    GERMAN PROSECUTOR: NOT ALL DETAILS SHARED

    The lead prosecutor in the Madeleine McCann investigation has said he can't share key evidence with the Met Police or cops in Portugal who are also investigating the case.

    Hans Christian Wolters claimed last month: “British police have been informed but don’t have all the evidence we have.

    “The results of our investigation have been shared but not every detail has been passed to Scotland Yard.

    “I don’t think the McCanns have been informed of all the details but they know the results.”

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    'WE MISS HER EVERY SECOND' SAY MCCANNS

    Several years ago, on the 10th anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s abduction, her anguished family thanked supporters for giving them hope in a heartbreaking letter.

    Kate and Gerry McCann addressed the message to “our dear friends” in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

    The poignant letter written in 2017 said: “We miss her every second.

    “Despite the evil and hurt that has come our way, we have been very fortunate, having witnessed and experienced goodness and kindness in great abundance during this long and difficult period of 'stolen' time.

    “We are especially grateful to our friends and supporters in Luz for being strong enough and brave enough to keep Madeleine and our family in your prayers and in your hearts.

    “Your love and compassion has given us fortitude over the years and sustained our hope in immeasurable amounts.

    “There will never be too many times to thank you… and so 'thank you' for everything… but above all, for not giving up on Madeleine.

    “With our love and our very best wishes, Kate, Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie – and all our family.”

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    CHRISTIAN B DESCRIBED AS ‘CALM AND FRIENDLY’

    Convicted rapist and child abuser Christian B's lawyer Friedrich Fulscher has disputed claims made by German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters that his client’s phone 'pinged' at a reception tower near the Portuguese hotel where the McCanns were staying shortly before Madeleine went missing.

    The lawyer said Christian B was not a “monster” – despite his list of previous crimes, including the sexual abuse of a child, rape and drug offences.

    “I don't recognise the person the media describes.

    “I am able to describe him as a very calm and friendly person when I talk to him in prison,” Mr Fulscher said.

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    CHRISTIAN B 'BRAGGED TO PAL ABOUT CREEPING INTO HOLIDAY HOME NAKED'

    Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B allegedly boasted to a pal about performing a sex act in front of a room full of sleeping British girls.

    The convicted sex offender told a close friend he crept into a holiday home in Portugal naked.

    He only fled when one of the teens woke up and began to alert her friends, it's claimed.

    The friend broke his silence about the alleged incident after seeing this week’s police searches in Germany, the Mirror reports.

    He said: “The strangest thing he ever told me was about breaking into a room where four teenagers from Britain were sleeping on the sofa and floor.

    “When one woke up and tried to wake the others up he panicked and ran out.

    “He said he ran naked through the town. He told it like a funny story.”

    The friend said he didn’t know for certain if the incident happened in Praia da Luz, where

    Madeleine disappeared – but he believes it was in the same area.

    He told how he befriended Christian B at a kiosk the German owned in North Germany in 2013.

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    WHO IS 'GERMANY'S MADELEINE' INGA GEHRICKE?

    The German paedo suspected of murdering Madeleine McCann is being investigated over a second missing girl.

    Cops are revisiting their initial investigation of Christian B, in relation to the 2015 disappearance of a five-year-old girl in Germany, say prosecutors in the northern town of Stendal.

    Inga Gehricke, five, has been known as the “German Madeleine” since she suddenly disappeared without trace in Germany five years ago.

    Inga went missing on May 2, 2015, from a forest in Schönebeck, Saxony-Anhalt, during a barbecue.

    At the time of her disappearance, the girl was visiting the Wilhelmshof district of Stendal.

    She went to collect wood for a campfire with other children in the forest.

    But, Inga did not return, and there’s been no sign of her ever since.

    Like Madeleine’s case, there has been no trace of missing Inga.

    It has since been claimed in the German media that Christian B booked a parking space in a rest area less than 60 miles from the spot where Inga disappeared – at the same time – near Schönebeck.

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    RECAP: WHAT HAPPENED IN PORTUGAL IN 2007?

    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.

    In 2013, the British police began their own investigation – Operation Grange – saying they had identified 38 potential suspects.

    Later that year, 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.

  • Hana Carter 's avatarHana Carter

    CHILDREN'S CLOTHES DISCOVERED IN CHRISTIAN B'S MOBILE HOME

    Christian B kept kids’ clothes and swimwear in his mobile home, it has emerged.

    Convicted paedophile Christian B, 43, bought the red and white Allegro Bay RV in early 2010 — three years after moving back to his native Germany from Portugal.

    Pals said he used it to drive regularly back and forth between Germany, Spain and Portugal and once boasted how he could allegedly “carry children and drugs” inside.

    Cops found the clothes and swimwear after seizing the RV as part of their probe into missing Inga Gehricke, who disappeared in 2015 during a picnic with her parents.

    Christian B used a derelict crate factory at Neuwegers­leben as a weekend pad where he kept the RV.

    The items were found there in 2016 along with USB sticks containing images of child sex abuse.

    Other images on the sticks included some of Christian B partially naked or wearing stockings performing a solo sex act.

    The six data sticks and two memory cards were found buried under the body of his dog at the factory, wrapped in a carrier bag.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    GRIM DIG

    Cops who searched the former underground cellar of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B were looking for evidence of a murder, the editor of the Bild newspaper has claimed.

    Police spent three days last week using diggers, sniffer dogs, and underground radar in Hanover.

    They have not disclosed what they were looking for, but Julian Reichelt, editor of German tabloid Bild, has claimed they were searching for evidence of a murder.

    “What we are hearing from our sources is that they have moved into the direction of recovering and finding evidence that will make this a murder case clearly to everyone,” he told Good Morning Britain.

    “The German investigation has declared this a murder case but so far it is completely unclear to the public how that is – what proof makes this a murder case and not a case of missing child to them.

    “What they have found there they have not commented on.”

    For the full story, see HERE.

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    SAFETY FEARS

    Christian B is currently serving sentences for drug offences and rape in high security Kiel prison in north Germany.

    Claus Christian Claussen, justice minister for the state of Schleswig-Holstein, said in June that he had been moved to a single cell to prevent any assaults.

    He said: “He is in a single cell for Christian B's safety and security against possible attacks from other inmates.”

    Christian B's lawyer Friedrich Fülscher, who represents him along with Hamburg attorney Johann Schwenn, earlier suggested his client would deny the charges if German cops uncover enough evidence to prosecute him for Madeleine'’s murder.

    When asked how his client was doing he replied: “How can a person, who is isolated in a prison and whom half the world's population accuses of the worst crimes, be?”

  • Debbie White 's avatarDebbie White

    FREEDOM TO RUN

    The prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance exploited the EU's open borders to evade justice, judges have been told.

    The claims came as Christian B's lawyer appeared at the European Court of Justice in mid-July to argue he should be freed from jail on a technicality over his conviction for a rape in Portugal.

    Christian B is currently jailed in Kiel in Northern Germany for drugs offences and is shortly set to start the sentence for the rape conviction.

    However, lawyers for the German government argue he has no right to challenge his arrest and say he “made the most of open European borders.”

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