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Madeleine McCann: new witness claims suspect ‘wanted money’ when he took toddler

A witness has claimed that the suspect in Maddie McCann's disappearance wanted money 

madeleine mccann eyes photos
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
10 April 2024
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A witness in Christian Brueckner’s trial for rape and sexual assault has stated in court that he believed that the convicted rapist kidnapped Madeleine McCann because he wanted money. 

Michael Tatschl, 50, has previously claimed that he “knows” that Brueckner killed the youngster who went missing in Portugal aged 3 back in 2007. He testified in a German court that he believed that he planned to sell Madeline to a paedophile network that was operating in Morocco at the time, explaining: “That was my suspicion because he wanted money.”

WATCH: A brief history of the Madeleine McCann case

“Helge Busching told me has intestinal cancer,” he said at the time. "He says he does not have long according to his diagnosis. He said he got the diagnosis two or three months ago in Germany in a hospital. He just said he didn’t want treatment and chemo or anything.

An undated handout image supplied shows a police mug shot of Christian Brueckner© Handout
An undated handout image supplied shows a police mug shot of Christian Brueckner

“Brueckner broke into houses, tourists' houses, at night when they were not there. And he would even break in when they were sleeping and also if they were up on the first or second floors. He told me he once he went into a room when three teenage girls were sleeping and he went in naked. A girl woke up and screamed aloud.”

He also spoke about another witness, Helge Busching, revealing that the other former friend of Brueckner has cancer. Helge had previously claimed that the suspect told him that Madeleine “didn’t scream” when he took her, and that he had shown Helge video footage of him having held other young girls hostage. 

Madeleine McCann went missing when she was three© Getty
Madeleine McCann went missing when she was three

He added: “Brueckner told me about all his burglaries and how he did them. And he didn't care if they were sleeping or not… I found out about his attack on the girl in prison. Brueckner was boasting about what one could do.”

MORE: Madeleine McCann: where is Julia Wendell, the woman who claimed to be missing Brit, one year on?

Helge had also testified, claiming that the suspect was supplied girls by a contact. He said: “I was told Christian Brueckner brought a woman washing machines and instead of paying him for it, she provided him with young girls.”

Kate and Gerry McCann hold up a picture of Madeleine during a press conference in 2007© Getty
Kate and Gerry McCann hold up a picture of Madeleine during a press conference in 2007

Brueckner is already convicted for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz, and is currently on trial for five offences committed in the Algarve between 2000 and 2017. 

maddie mccann pic© Photo: Getty Images
Maddie went missing in 2007

He is also the German authorities prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance, who went missing from her family’s hotel room in 2007. They have previously searched a reservoir in connection to their investigation, and it was recently reported that they have sequestered the van that Brueckner was renting at the time of Maddie’s disappearance to search it for DNA. 

Speaking to The Sun about the van, an employee at the company said: “We cleaned it and repaired it but it wouldn’t have been wiped of all DNA. There could still be hairs and other traces of anyone who was kept inside. Due to data protection issues, we cannot give you exact dates or further details of the client.”

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