German ‘Maddie’ suspect refuses to speak about case

The German man suspected of kidnapping and murdering British girl Madeleine McCann has refused to speak about the case, one of his lawyers told German television.

German 'Maddie' suspect refuses to speak about case
The suspect Christian B. is currently serving a sentence in Kiel prison. Photo: DPA

“Christian B. is not making any statements on the case for the moment and we ask you to understand that as his defence, we won't either,” Friedrich Fülscher told rolling news channel NTV.

German police raised hopes last Wednesday that the 13-year mystery over three-year-old “Maddie” could finally be solved when they revealed they are investigating a 43-year-old German man over her disappearance from the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.

German police called the man a “murder suspect” who may have killed the young girl.

The suspect, named as Christian B. by German media, has a history of previous sex offences including child abuse and rape.

Currently held at Kiel prison in the north of Germany, the suspect is serving out a jail term for drug trafficking.

The suspect has had to be moved to an isolation cell for his safety, said Claus Christian Claussen, the regional justice minister of Schleswig-Holstein state.

He is not allowed to leave his cell unless accompanied by guards and not at the same time as other detainees to avoid attacks against him, said the minister during a hearing of the regional parliament.

Defence lawyers who had been charged with his defence have quit their mandate without giving a reason.

They have been replaced by a new team who have threatened lawsuits against their client's acquaintances who described him as aggressive and suspicious.

Madeleine McCann's parents in 2002. Photo: DPA

READ ALSO: What we know so far about German suspect in Maddie case

Mystery remains

Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment on May 3rd, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar.

Her disappearance sparked one of the biggest searches of its kind in recent years.

Despite a wide range of suspects and theories about what happened, no one has ever been convicted over her kidnapping and no trace of her has been found.

READ ALSO: German prosecutors assume Madeleine McCann is dead as they investigate new suspect

After Christian B. was identified as a new suspect, German police have said they are investigating if there is a link between the man and the case of another missing child in Germany.

The five-year-old girl named Inga from the town of Schönebeck in Saxony-Anhalt in 2015 disappeared without a trace in the woods while on an outing with her family.

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.