SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

German media probes police blunder in Madeleine McCann case

A police blunder led to the German man suspected of murdering British girl Madeleine McCann being informed he was being probed over the case as early as 2013.

German media probes police blunder in Madeleine McCann case
British toddler Madeleine McCann. Photo: DPA

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

The suspect, who was not named by police but identified as Christian B. by German media, has a history of previous sex offences including child abuse and rape, reported Spiegel on Friday. 

Spiegel reported that the federal criminal police (BKA) had contacted police in Brunswick for more information about the suspect after receiving a confidential tip-off in October 2013.

But while calling the suspect in, police in their letter specified that it had to do with the “Madeleine McCann missing persons case” and “personal examination of Christian B”.

READ: German 'Maddie' suspect refuses to speak about case 

The letter would have given Christian B. ample time to destroy any evidence, the report said, quoting experts who consider the police's actions to be a serious mistake.

“This should not have happened and in no way corresponds to the usual procedure in such a sensitive case,” an experienced police officer was quoted as saying.

Police would usually gather information first before approaching a suspect, the report said.

Despite revealing last week that police had identified a suspect in the case, prosecutors have not called Christian B. in for questioning.

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

Such interrogation would take place only after an investigation is concluded so that investigators can put findings of the probe to the suspect, Brunswick prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told national news agency DPA.

Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment on May 3, 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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

SHOW COMMENTS