UK police to close investigation into Madeline McCann mystery

By Steve Bird
March 21, 2022 — 10.21am

London: The Metropolitan Police investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is to close after 11 years amid fears that the German prime suspect will never be charged.

Scotland Yard is understood to be preparing to shut its Operation Grange inquiry later this year.

The investigation was set up four years after the little girl went missing in Portugal in 2007, just days before her fourth birthday.

Gerry, left, and Kate McCann, show a picture of their daughter Madeleine at a press conference in Berlin, Wednesday, June 6, 2007. The McCanns are understood to be aware that the investigation is likely to close without charging anyone over their daughter’s disappearance.

Gerry, left, and Kate McCann, show a picture of their daughter Madeleine at a press conference in Berlin, Wednesday, June 6, 2007. The McCanns are understood to be aware that the investigation is likely to close without charging anyone over their daughter’s disappearance. Credit:AP

It is feared there is insufficient evidence to charge Christian Brueckner, the convicted paedophile and rapist whom German police believe was involved in the child’s disappearance at the resort of Praia da Luz.

A source connected to the UK side of the investigation told The Sun: “The end of the road for Operation Grange is now in sight.

“The team’s work is expected to be completed by autumn. There are currently no plans to take the inquiry any further.”

Home Office funding for the inquiry is due to run out on March 31. But the Met has applied for another grant to fund it through to September. It is understood Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, both 54, are aware of the plans to wind down the UK investigation. Although Operation Grange is expected to close, the case could be reopened if new evidence emerges.

It will mean the cost of the inquiry is around £13 million ($23 million).

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Madeleine went missing on the evening of May 3, 2007, from her holiday apartment at the Ocean Club.

Mobile phone analysis suggests Brueckner, 44, was in the area at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

A recent German TV documentary also claimed he had regularly worked at the Algarve resort where the McCann family were staying.

German police named Brueckner as the prime suspect in the case in 2020.

But, despite an intense investigation – including the suggestion he told a friend he was involved in the girl’s disappearance – prosecutors have never brought charges against him.

Brueckner is currently in a high-security prison near the city of Bremen in north-west Germany, where he is serving a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz in 2005.

Brueckner has denied any involvement in the girl’s disappearance.

The Telegraph, London

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