POLICE INVESTIGATION

Madeleine McCann: 'cellar found' in prime suspect's allotment

According to local media, a further development has been made in the search of the property in Hannover, Germany, related to the disappearance of the girl in 2007.

Madeleine McCann: 'cellar found' in prime suspect's allotment
HAUKE-CHRISTIAN DITTRICH AFP

The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, when she was just three years old, continues unabated, and the recent developments have seen a site in Hannover, Germany being searched by police. The allotment in question belongs to the main suspect in the case, and reports are that a cellar once believed to have been part of a removed garden house has been found.

Madelaine McCann: allotment searched, cellar found

According to local media reports, nearly a hundred agents have been searching a garden on the outskirts of the German city of Hannover since Monday. Images released by these media outlets have also revealed that two small excavators have been used to clear the ground, while police officers have combed the area with rakes and shovels. Forensic officers in white suits and accompanied by sniffer dogs were also reported to be working.

Police forces prepare a container full of waste from the allotment garden of Christian Brueckner on 29 July 2020 in Hanover, Germany.

Although police have yet to confirm, the German media have referred to this cellar at the home of Christian Brückner, the main suspect. A former neighbour is reported to have said that the 43-year old lived there in 2007 - the year Madeleine disappeared - but had left within a year.

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Hans Christian Wolters, revealed that there is evidence that the investigations in Germany are on the right track. Unlike the UK’s Scotland Yard, which continues to investigate the case as a disappearance, the Germans assume that the girl is dead, despite the fact that a teacher recently claimed to have seen someone fitting her description ‘three or four years ago’ in Portugal.

"We have concrete evidence, but not forensic evidence," Wolters said. The fact that forensic personnel joined the excavation takes on a special meaning in this operation, although it is unknown if what the police are looking for is direct evidence of the disappearance and alleged murder of Madeleine, or other new evidence against the suspect, who is currently in prison in Germany.

A police cordon can be seen at the site after the police finished a two-day search in the garden allotment.

Brückner spent many years in Portugal, including Paria da Luz, at the time of McCann's disappearance, and has two previous convictions for ‘sexual contact with girls’, authorities stated. His last registered residence is in a rural region 40 kilometres from Braunschweig. It is flanked by a small house and a shed where Brückner is believed to have lived.