Climaxity

Stuff that matters

Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner walked free after being acquitted of downloading vile images of children – despite a higher court ordering a retrial.

Blundering authorities in Germany should have held Brueckner, 43, four years ago.

But they allowed him to walk free until the subsequent trial, when he was convicted and jailed for a year and three months.

A German legal source said: “This just sums up the catalogue of errors surrounding Christian B.

“He simply slipped through the cracks of the system on several occasions.”

Thomas Klinge, a spokesman for Hanover’s public prosecutor’s office, confirmed that he had been let out.

It has caused problems for investigators who are trying to unravel Brueckner’s movements.

He is the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia da Luz just before her fourth birthday in 2007.

Phone data showed he was in the Portuguese village at the time she vanished.

Brueckner is currently in jail in Kiel, Germany, on drugs offences and he looks set to serve a further sentence after being convicted of raping an American pensioner in Praia da Luz.

The European Court of Justice is considering his appeal that he should not have been extradited from Portugal after attacking the woman.

He is also being probed over offences across Europe, including the rape of an Irish woman and the abduction of a German girl.

Lawyer Friedrich Fulscher says Brueckner is completely innocent of any allegations relating to Madeleine.

Police dug up an allotment site in Hanover in connection with the case but have not said what they found.