Investigators are “100% sure” that sex offender Christian Brueckner murdered Madeleine McCann.
They have the evidence to charge him and hope the case will be concluded next year.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “We are convinced we have the man who took and killed her.”
Prosecutors investigating pedophile Christian Brueckner on suspicion of murdering Madeleine McCann are confident he is guilty and determined to build the strongest possible case against him.
They believe they have the evidence to charge the 44-year-old, and it has “100% convinced” them that he killed her.
And they hope to be able to prosecute next year.
But since Brueckner is already in jail for separate offenses, the team takes the time to gather as much evidence as possible before bringing it to court.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told the Mirror exclusively: “It is now possible that we can prosecute. We have that proof now.
“But it’s not just about charging him – we want to accuse him of the best possible amount of evidence.
“When we still have questions, it would be nonsense to charge rather than wait for the answers that could strengthen our position.
“That is why we said we will investigate as long as there are clues or information that we can pursue. I am not saying that what we have is insufficient now. But he’s in jail, so we do not have that pressure on us. We have time on our hands. ”
But prosecutors now admit they have no evidence that Madeleine is dead – despite the fact that authorities in Braunschweig last year told the McCanns that they had “evidence” that she is no longer alive.
Wolters said they have no idea how she died, and no DNA or photo evidence linking the German sex offender to the alleged murder. He spoke to Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann and said: “We are convinced we have the man who took and killed your daughter.”
“All I can do is ask for your patience. I personally believe that a conclusion will be reached next year. We have no body and no DNA, but we have other evidence. Based on the evidence we have, it leads to no other conclusion.
“I can not tell you on what basis we assume she is dead. But for us, there is no other option. There is no hope that she is alive. ”
Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007, days before her fourth birthday. Kate and Gerry from Rothley, Leics, have said they “hang in the hope no matter how small it is that we will see Madeleine again”.
Evidence under investigation includes a “confession,” Brueckner gave to a friend and phone analysis that showed he was at the Ocean Club when the child disappeared. Wolters said: “It is evidence of circumstance – we have no scientific evidence. If we had a video of the action or a picture of Madeleine dead with Brueckner on camera, we would not have had to make a public appeal. But we only have circumstances. “
Brueckner was living in a motorhome near Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared. The British and German police first became aware of him as a suspect in 2017, but were only made public with it in June last year. Senior researchers have spoken to potential key witnesses in Germany and Portugal.
Wolters dismissed a recent report that the case ends before Christmas as “nonsense”, but said Brueckner is likely to be charged early next year for other alleged offenses in Portugal.
They include the rape of an Irish woman in the Algarve in 2004 and two incidents in which he allegedly flashed at young people.
Asked if he was happy with the pace of the Madeleine probe, Wolters said: “It could have gone better. Of course, we were hoping we would get such good tip-offs that the investigation might have already been completed. But the case is progressing. ”
He said a “very large number” have been interviewed, but the team has not yet found the person Brueckner spoke to on the phone around the time Madeleine disappeared. He added: “We have not found evidence to clear Brueckner of suspicion. Everything we have found fits into the picture. We may be halfway there. ”
He defended the decision not to show McCanns the evidence that leads prosecutors to believe Madeleine is dead, saying, “If I did … it is very possible that they would no longer have any hope.”
When Madeleine disappeared, Brueckner was just out of jail for gas theft. He is serving seven years in a German prison for raping a pensioner in Praia da Luz. Wolters criticized the Portuguese authorities’ slow approach to the investigation, accusing them of lacking interest in the case because the victim and the main suspect are both foreigners.
He said: “What takes a week in Germany can take six months in Portugal. I think the interest in the case in Portugal is just not that great, because there is no Portuguese person involved. Nor does it shine a particularly good light on the Portuguese police, as they had completely different suspects.
“I think they prefer to be left alone.
“Cooperation with the UK is certainly significantly better.”
Brueckner denies involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance and has refused to speak to police or prosecutors.