Madeleine McCann latest news: Forensic expert says case WILL be solved as suspects 'hopes of early release dashed'

TOP forensic expert Professor Angela Gallop has today said Madeleine McCann’s disappearance WILL one day be solved.

Professor 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”.

This comes after suspect Christian B's hopes of an early release have been dashed by a European court.

There was confusion when Reuters reported the sex offender could be freed within days because the European arrest warrant issued cited the drugs conviction but not the rape charge.

However, this preliminary opinion by Advocate General Michal Bobek is not binding and the rest of the court sided with German prosecutors, it has been reported.

The rape happened in 2005, two years before Madeleine disappeared while holidaying with her family in the same resort.

Christian B, 43, was convicted and sentenced for her rape in December 2019 – 14 years after the brutal attack which devastated her so much she fled to the US.

Meanwhile, the McCann apartment in Praia da Luz was the "prime location" for crime, police told Madeleine's distraught parents after she was abducted.

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

  • CHRISTIAN B 'TOLD FRIEND ABOUT PERFORMING SEX ACT IN ROOM OF SLEEPING GIRLS'

    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 and started masturbating.

    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 coverage of recent police searches in Germany.

    Read the full story here.

  • WOMAN ASKS POLICE TO SEARCH HER HOME

    A woman in Germany who lives in the former home of Christian B has asked police to search the property.

    The new owner, a 30-year-old tour guide, reportedly phoned police after the suspect was identified in a television report last month.

    The home is a small property on the edge of an allotment plot in the city of Braunschweig.

    Christian B lived there for the three years up to 2016.

    Speaking to the Sunday People, the woman said: “I am worried he may have buried a body here.

    “I want the police to dig the ground and check.”

  • TOP FORENSICS EXPERT 'OPTIMISTIC MCCANN CASE WILL BE SOLVED'

    A top forensic expert has said she is confident the Madeleine McCann case will one day be solved.

    Professor Angela Gallop CBE is a world-renowned scientist whose work has helped to solve numerous cold cases.

    Speaking to the Sun Online, she said: “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.

    “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.”

  • CHRISTIAN B RAPE VICTIM 'FEARED SHE WAS GOING TO DIE'

    The woman raped by Christian B in the Praia de Luz resort in 2005 said she feared she was going to die.

    The 72-year-old, an American, was attacked while sitting in her home watching the coverage of Hurricane Katrina, then hitting the southern coast of the US.

    Christian B is currently in jail after being convicted for the rape in December last year.

    The widow was so traumatised after the attack that she gave up her Portuguese retirement home and returned to the US.

    Speaking to police at the time she said: “I feared I was going to die.”

  • GERMANY DID NOT FOLLOW CORRECT EXTRADITION PROCEDURE, SAYS COURT

    Germany did not follow the correct procedure when extraditing Christian B to Germany from Italy, an adviser to Europe's highest court has said.

    The 43-year-old suspect is currently serving a jail term in Germany for the rape of a woman in 2005.

    He is currently appealing that conviction on the grounds that he was initially extradited to Germany to face unrelated drug trafficking charges.

    The German court considering the appeal sought guidance from the European Court of Justice, which delivered a non-binding opinion that German authorities should have gotten permission from Portugal for the rape charge.

    Christian B has, however, been told the appeal is unlikely to succeed because he left Portugal voluntarily.

  • SUSPECT A 'CALM AND FRIENDLY' PERSON, SAYS LAWYER

    A lawyer for Christian B has said he is a 'calm and friendly' person and is not the person portrayed in the media.

    Friedrich Fulscher, currently representing the 43-year-old, said: “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.”

    Christian B is currently serving time in a German jail following a conviction for a 2005 rape that took place in the same resort from which Madeleine disappeared.

  • COPS BOAST OF 'SOLVING 90 PER CENT OF THE CASE'

    German cops boasted of “solving 90 per cent” of the Madeleine McCann case, it has been claimed.

    The dad of an alleged accomplice says police are close to charging him over her abduction.

    The father, whose daughter was linked to Christian B ­during burglaries in Portugal, said: “I was with the police for an hour last month.

    “They said they had 90 per cent solved the case and seemed very confident.”

    He added: “They seemed ­to be very convinced that Christian B was their man.”

    The retired ambulance driver met Christian B in 2007, the year Madeleine dis­appeared from Praia da Luz.

    He showed him his camper van and recalled: “I get goosebumps now when he said, ‘Look I can hide drugs in here or even a small child’.

    “If I’d known then what I know now I’d have killed him with my bare hands.

    “It makes me shudder when I think of him playing with my six-year-old granddaughter.”

  • WHO WAS 11-YEAR-OLD CLAUDIA RUF?

    Claudia Ruf, 11, was found murdered and burned 40 miles from the German town of Grevenbroich.

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

    Cops were investigating a potential link to Christian B.

    However, DNA tests ruled him out earlier this month as a suspect in Claudia's murder.

    “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.”

  • WHAT IS MADELEINE'S DISTINCTIVE EYE DEFECT?

    Dozens of images of missing Madeleine McCann have been released showing the distinctive mark in her right eye.

    But what exactly is it?

    Coloboma is a gap in part of the eye's structure, normally towards the bottom of the eye.

    It can affect just one or both eyes, and does not mean that there is a hole in the eyes – just that they did not fully form during pregnancy.

    Coloboma can affect the iris, lens and retina.

    It is hard to tell how much a child's vision has been affected until they are older.

    The most common form of coloboma is the one affecting the iris – often giving the sufferer a pupil shaped like a keyhole.

    Children with this form tend to have fairly good vision, although they might dislike bright lights.

    Coloboma is extremely rare, only occurring in one in 10,000 births.

    While Maddie's mark could affect as few as seven out of one million people.

  • MADELEINE KILL SUSPECT 'IS STAYING IN PRISON'

    THE prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case will remain behind bars after a court setback.

    Christian B now looks unlikely to get a rape conviction overturned following a European Court of Justice ruling.

    It means he will stay in jail as German prosecutors investigate him over three-year-old Madeleine's abduction in 2007.

    A source said: “It means we now have more time to build up a case against him as he will not be released anytime soon.''

    Christian B, 43, was sentenced to seven years for a 2005 rape in Portugal.

    He had attacked a 72-year-old American in Praia da Luz, near to where Madeleine disappeared two year later.

    But he appealed to the court, claiming his extradition to Germany broke European arrest warrant rules.

    He claimed it was invalid as he was returned from Italy on entirely separate drugs charges.

    In yesterday's interim ruling, known as an opinion, an ECJ judge said his claim was “obsolete”.

  • WOMAN BEGS POLICE TO SEARCH HOME FOR BODY

    German police have been asked to search a second former home of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B.

    The new owner is said to have called detectives last month after the convicted paedophile was identified on national TV news.

    The 30-year-old woman fears he may have hidden evidence of his crimes on an allotment plot near Braunschweig.

    She told the Sunday People: “I am worried he may have buried a body here. I want the police to dig the ground and check.”

  • WHERE DID CHRISTIAN B LIVE IN PORTUGAL?

    Christian B lived in a bungalow in a remote property in the hills outside Praia de Luz about two miles from the Ocean Club, the year before Madeleine vanished.

    He is then thought to have abandoned it and began living in a 1980s VW T3 Westfalia camper van some time in late 2006 around the the time of the three-year-old's disappearance.

    The VW T3 Westfalia camper van was reported to be placed near one of the McCann’s favourite beaches.

  • CHRISTIAN B'S TIMELINE OF CRIME

    1976: Born, probably in Bavaria, Germany.

    1992: Some minor crimes before a string of thefts.

    1994: On trial for the first time, aged 17, for child sex abuse and ­sentenced to two years.

    1995: Got out early and started dealing drugs.

    1996: Goes to Portugal with his then girlfriend. Thought to have been living between Germany and the Algarve from as early as the mid-1990s.

    1999: Arrested in Portugal and extradited to Germany, where he serves a youth sentence.

    2005: He ties up, rapes and robs an American woman, 72, in her home near Praia da Luz, but is not caught.

    2006: Lives in a bungalow about two miles from the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz. In this year, thieves steal a camera showing a brutal rape and attack, which eventually leads the police to him.

    2007: Christian B lives in a VW T3 camper van near one of the McCann’s favourite beaches. A 1993 Jaguar saloon with German plates, owned by him, has its registration swapped on May 4 — the day after Madeleine’s disappearance.

    2010: Returned to Hanover in Germany and began living in a caravan while working in a car repair shop.

    2011: District court in Niebüll, Germany, gives him a suspended sentence for drug dealing which is later activated and he is jailed.

    2013: He sexually abuses another child, it is claimed.

    2014: Christian B is in Braunschweig, Germany, where he claimed to be starting a business.

    2016: Braunschweig district court gives him a year and three months jail for “sexually abusing a child in the act of ­procuring and possessing child pornography”.

    2017: From June he is held on pre-trial remand over child pornography charges before being jailed in July. Christian B is convicted of assault.

    2018: He is released in August, but is homeless. Police monitor him but then German authorities have him arrested in Milan in September after he flees to Italy. He is jailed for drug offences. He is then jailed for rape.

    2019: He is hit with another prison sentence for violation of the ­Narcotics Act and then charged with the 2005 rape of the 72-year-old American in Praia da Luz. Now 43, he is jailed for seven years.

    2020: While in prison he is hit with another jail sentence for drug offences

  • DAD PUT CHRISTIAN B IN HEADLOCK AFTER HE EXPOSED HIMSELF TO HIS DAUGHTER

    A dad has spoken about how he put Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B in a headlock after he exposed himself to his daughter.

    Christian sauntered off when challenged by locals at the playground in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines, Portugal.

    The town is 37 miles from Praia da Luz, where three-year-old Madeleine was snatched in 2007.

    The Portuguese dad, who cannot be identified, said: “I grabbed him around the neck and held him down.

    “I had no idea who he was but was not going to let him get away with it.

    “I held on to him while the police were called.

    “I’d never seen him around here before and never saw him again.”

    Four children aged between 8 and 12 – including the dad’s daughter – were in the playground next to the party when Christian B stopped at the bottom of the slide.

    Cops arrived but the incident never went to trial and the case was archived.

    The dad said he recognised convicted rapist Christian, 43, when he was named as prime suspect in the McCann case.

  • LAWYER SAYS IT'S 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL' THAT SUSPECT WAS TRIED FOR RAPE

    Christian B's lawyer Friedrich Fulscher appeared before a panel of judges at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg demanding he be freed on a technicality.

    Fulscher argued it was “unconstitutional” that his client had been tried for the 2005 rape of an American woman in Portugal because it breached international law.

    Christian B is already due for parole from Kiel prison after being given time off for good behaviour from a 21-month sentence imposed by a German court in 2018.

    The convicted rapist applied for early release from his 21-month drugs trafficking sentence in June and was eligible after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

  • WHAT ARE THE KEY DATES IN MADELEINE'S DISAPPEARANCE?

    • May 3, 2007 – Kate and Gerry McCann leave their children asleep in their holiday apartments while they eat eat a nearby Tapas restaurant. At 10pm Kate finds Madeleine missing.
    • May 14, 2007 – Property developer Robert Murat is quizzed by cops and named an “arguido” or formal suspect.
    • August 31, 2007 – The McCanns launch libel action against Tal e Qual – a newspaper that claimed the couple killed Madeleine.
    • September 7, 2007 – Kate and Gerry McCann are made “arguidos”.
    • September 9, 2007– Madeleine's parents return to England with their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie.
    • October 2, 2007– Lead detective Goncalo Amaral is taken off the case after criticising British police in a newspaper interview.
    • July 21, 2009 – Portuguese police lift the “arguido” status of  both Robert Murat and the McCanns, and shelve the investigation.
    • July 24, 2009 – Detective Goncalo Amaral alleges that Madeleine died in her family's holiday flat the day she went missing in a book called The Truth Of The Lie. In a documentary for Portuguese television he claims there was no abduction and the McCanns had hidden her body.
    • May 12, 2011 – On Madeleine's eighth birthday, Mrs McCann publishes a book about her disappearance. Scotland Yard launches a review into the case after a request from Home Secretary Theresa May, supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.
    • April 25, 2012 – Scotland Yard officers say they believe Madeleine McCann is still alive. A new picture is released, showing what she might look like as a 9-year-old, and they call on the Portuguese authorities to reopen the case, but Portuguese police say they have found no new material.
    • July 4, 2013 – Two years into a review of the case, Scotland Yard launch its own investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. They claim to have “genuinely new” lines of inquiry and identify 38 people of interest including 12 Britons.
    • October 24, 2013– Portuguese police reopen their case after new lines of inquiry are found.
    • November 27, 2013 – Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe called for British and Portuguese police to work together.
    • April 28, 2015 – Detective Goncalo Amaral is ordered to pay Kate and Gerry McCann £209,000 each in damages by a court in Lisbon over claims made in The Truth Of The Lie and bans further sales of the book.
    • October 28, 2015 – Scotland Yard reduces the number of officers working on Madeleine's disappearance from 29 to four.
    • January 31, 2017 – Portugal's Supreme Court rules against Kate and Gerry McCann's £418,000 libel claim. The court claims freedom of expression laws protect Detective Goncalo Amaral's claims in the book.
    • March 11, 2017  – The Home Office grants Operation Grange an extra £85,000 to continue from April until September.
    • September 28, 2017 –  British police are granted £154,000 to keep the probe alive until March 2018.
    • November 2017 – Cops moved the search to Bulgaria as they tried to find a “woman in purple” they wanted to speak to.
    • May 2018 – Another round of funding, thought to be in the region of £150,000 is granted.
    • September 2018 – An extra six months of funding is requested from the Home Office amid fears the cash will run out by the end of the month.
    • November 2018 – More funding, thought to be in the region of £150,000 is granted
    • November 2018 – Former detective David Edgar, who once helped search for Madeleine, says she could still be alive and imprisoned, with “no idea who she is”. He believes she is being kept against her identity in a “lair” and could even still be in Portugal.
    • November 2018 – UK police are re-examining a theory Madeleine left the apartment to look for her parents. They are also looking at whether her disappearance was the result of a kidnapping or burglary gone wrong.
    • June 2019 – Another round of funding, believed to be £300,000 of government cash is granted
    • June 2019 – Portuguese police are probing a “new clue and suspect” after talks with British officers, according to a bombshell local media report.
    • August 2019A DNA expert in the US offers to analyse samples to provide an investigative lead.
    • June 2020 – New prime suspect revealed as a German paedo, in a huge breakthrough in the 13-year investigation.

    WHAT THEORIES ARE THERE ABOUT MADELEINE'S DISAPPEARANCE?

    • In June 2020, it was revealed that a German prisoner was the prime suspect in the case, with evidence showing he was in and around the Praia da Luz area at the time.
    • Investigative journalist and ex-police officer Mark Williams-Thomas believes Madeleine left the apartment in search of her parents.
    • Ex-police chief Goncalo Amaral has claimed MI5 helped cover-up Madeleine McCann’s body after her parents accidentally killed her.
    • Veteran investigative journalist Danny Collins believes the toddler could not have been snatched from the room. He is convinced she left the apartment in Praia da Luz looking for her parents before being abducted and possibly sold to gypsies.
    • Former Scotland Yard detective Colin Sutton says the “most likely and credible scenario” for Madeleine’s disappearance is a targeted kidnap by child traffickers – possibly to replace some grieving parents’ own dead child.
    • In the 2019 Netflix documentary The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, investigators point out that the coastal resort of Praia da Luz would make it easier for traffickers to escape on a boat and travel to North Africa. The resort is also only 90 minutes drive from the border with Spain.
    • A local resident in the Netflix film pointed out that the Algarve has many wells, some of which are 100ft deep. They suggested Madeleine could have wandered out of the apartment and fallen to her death.
    • Parents Gerry and Kate have been forced to confront rumours around their daughter's disappearance, with the couple vowing to fight "tooth and nail" if they are ever prosecuted over leaving their children alone. 
    • In July, 2017, Madeleine parents failed in their bid to silence ex Portuguese cop Goncalo Amaral's over his claims they faked their daughter's kidnapping to cover up her death.
    • Another theory is that Madeleine was taken as part of a bungled burglary in which an intruder panicked and snatched her after she woke up. While Scotland Yard looked into this theory it has always been dismissed by cops in Portugal since nothing else was taken from the apartment.
    • US think tank The Rutherford Institute said Madeleine could have been taken by a sex trafficking gang after studying how kids are abducted and abuse in the sex industry. The institute's John Whitehead also believes these gangs could be aided by “predator cops” – although there is no evidence suggesting Portuguese police were involved in assisting with Madeleine's kidnapping.
    • In 2019 Portuguese police were said to think Madeleine was kidnapped by a surgical-mask wearing man who is known to the cops, after a tip off from Scotland Yard.

    HOW MANY 'SIGHTINGS' OF MADELEINE HAVE THERE BEEN?

    Potential sightings of the British three-year old followed up by British cops total 8,685 across 101 countries and territories, a Freedom of Information request by The Sun showed in October 2016.

    A list of sightings from each of the 101 countries – nearly all of which have been labelled NFA or No Further Action.

    Most serious were the alleged sightings in the hours and days following Madeleine's disappearance.

    On the night she was taken, police received two separate potential sightings from members of the public – however one was fully ruled out as being a holidaymaker with his daughter.

    There were six reported sightings between May 4-17, 2007, in Portugal, including CCTV footage that showed a girl matching Madeleine's description with two men and a woman at a petrol station in the town of Nelas.

    Over the border in Spain, there have been three reported sightings but all were ruled out, along with eight major alleged sightings in Morocco.

    There were as many as 29 in Malta in the month after the toddler's disappearance which led to the capital Valletta being briefly locked down.

    One of the most serious potential sightings in Amsterdam was revealed when Portuguese police released their case files in August 2008.

    It showed a blonde girl of Madeleine's age and description, who told a shopkeeper her name was “Maddie” and she had been “taken from mummy”.

    'I HOPE HE WON'T KILL ME'

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

    She said: “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.

    “He gagged me, tied my arms behind my back and then, as I later found out, put bedclothes and other material on the windows so no one could look inside.

    “I remember thinking, ‘I hope he won’t kill me.”

    SICKENING SUSPECT

    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 and started masturbating.

    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.

    TEACHER SAYS SHE SPOTTED MADDIE NEAR SUSPECT'S CAR

    The woman who claims to have spotted missing Madeleine McCann at an Algarve supermarket says she also remembers seeing suspect Christian B's distinctive VW camper van nearby.

    The Portuguese woman, a German-speaking teacher known only as Maria, went to police recently to tell them a girl she was 'sure' was Maddie because of the unique blemish in her right eye, had been beside her at Apolonia Supermarket in Gale near Albufeira.

    She went public with her sighting on an investigative programme called Sexta as 9, screened by Portuguese state broadcaster RTP.

    GERRY'S LAST MOMENTS WITH MADDIE

    In Kate McCann's book, ‘Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her,’ she revealed the details of Gerry’s final check on his daughter.

    She wrote: “After ordering his food, Gerry left for the first check just before 9:05pm by his watch.

    “He entered the apartment via the patio doors and noticed almost immediately that the children’s bedroom door was further ajar than it had been.

    “He glanced into our room to make sure Madeleine hadn’t wandered in there, as she was prone to do if ever she woke in the small hours.

    “Seeing no little body curled up in our bed, he went over to look in on the children.”

    It adds: “Madeleine was lying there on her left-hand side, her legs under the covers, in exactly the same position as we’d left her.

    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.”

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