Portuguese police 'incensed' by German prosecutor over Madeleine probe

EXCLUSIVE: Portuguese police are ‘incensed’ by German prosecutors’ claims that they have been slow to help Madeleine McCann investigation after paedophile Christian Brueckner was identified as prime suspect

  • Hans Wolters said work is ‘more cumbersome’ with the Portuguese authorities
  • But Judiciaria has had no requests to gather information since suspect identified
  • Sources slam Germans for saying girl is dead when ‘evidence is circumstantial’ 

A bitter row between furious Portuguese police and German prosecutors is threatening to derail the latest attempt to solve the mystery of missing Madeleine McCann.

Investigators with the Portuguese Judiciaria are ‘incensed’ at the way they are being made to look like they are dragging their feet over the renewed appeal for help.

A week after paedophile Christian Brueckner was identified as the prime suspect there have been no requests to the Portuguese investigative team to gather new information.

Sources said they had not been asked to interview any new witnesses, and instead have faced a barrage of criticism.

A week after paedophile Christian Brueckner, pictured left, was identified as the prime suspect in the hunt for Madeleine McCann, pictured right, there have been no requests to the Portuguese investigative team to gather new information 

‘Their strategy is all wrong and is not helpful,’ a Portuguese police source told MailOnline.

‘The German prosecutor has stated as a fact that Madeleine McCann is dead but then in another breath he says they have no idea where the body is and the evidence is circumstantial,’ said a police source.

‘Why would he say that and why has he not presented any evidence? Cases are solved on evidence and not assumptions.

‘We are ready to help, but all we have seen is a talking head and nothing more.’

German prosecutor Hans Wolters further stoked the row with an interview where he appeared to openly criticise the Portuguese police.

He said: ‘Working with authorities in south European countries is generally more time-consuming.

Hans Christian Wolters (pictured) said the working relationship with the Portuguese authorities is ‘cumbersome’ and that they have different ideas of what happened to the toddler who went missing in 2007

‘They take a long time for everything and the French or British police are faster. It’s more efficient.

‘We do stay in contact with the colleagues in Portugal but everything is more cumbersome.’

Portuguese police have insisted that Brueckner’s name was passed to British police with Operation Grange, the unit set up to solve the disappearance, in 2012.

They said he was not considered a suspect as at the time his only crimes in Portugal were for theft.

German authorities said it was only after he talked about the missing girl to a friend in bar that he became the focus of their inquiries.

The initial investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine focussed on her parents Gerry and Kate and was widely criticised as being flawed.

The Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday in 2007

The police chief in charge, Goncarlo Amaral, was taken off the case and later sued for libel by the McCanns over a book he wrote about the disappearance.

Portuguese police chief, Goncarlo Amaral, pictured, was taken off the case and later sued for libel by the McCanns over a book he wrote about the disappearance

Amoral had dismissed Brueckner as a suspect back in 2007 and claimed a German paedophile would be made the scapegoat for the girl’s disappearance.

The Portuguese side of the investigation is being run from the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Portimao section in Faro while the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig are leading the German side of the hunt for new information.

Met Police officers with Operation Grange make up the third side of the investigation.

Their only comment has been to reveal more than 400 tips have been received since the appeal for information was made last week.

Neither German or British authorities have made a request for their officers to fly out to Portugal.

‘If we receive formal notification we will act on it,’ said the police source.

The initial investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine focussed on her parents Gerry and Kate, pictured, and was widely criticised as being flawed 

Two former British girlfriends of Brueckner, who dated him several years before Madeleine went missing, have already made statements to police.

One, a 43 year old mother of two, has described how he beat her after becoming jealous of her talking to another man and stalked her after they split in 2004.

Brueckner is understood to have been dining with a Portuguese girlfriend called Maria on the night before Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz.

She too has been interviewed and her statement among a file passed to Operation Grange.

Much of the anger directed towards the German authorities stems from their claims that Brueckner could be responsible for other crimes on the Algarve.

An appeal by Hans Wolters for new witnesses, and in particular British tourists who might have taken photos of the suspect during their holidays from 1995 to 2007, has incensed police.

‘What does a photo from the year 2000 have to do with the investigation?’ said a source.

Portuguese police fully expected to receive an official request for search teams to begin digs near the two homes used by Brueckner – but have had none.

Six years ago, a team from Scotland Yard began digging close to the Ocean Club complex where the McCann family were staying after a tip off her body could be buried on scrub land.

Officers armed with shovels, strimmers and trained sniffer dogs scoured a small patch of land 300 metres from the apartment block where the three-year-old girl was last seen alive in 2007.

The search yielded no new clues and was abandoned after a week.

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