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New Madeleine McCann suspect investigated over missing five-year-old girl

The new suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is being investigated for the disappearance of a five-year-old girl in Germany, prosecutors have revealed.

Christian B, a 43-year-old paedophile named in German media, lived in the Portuguese coastal village of Praia da Luz on-and-off between 1995 and 2007.

A preliminary investigation has now been opened to establish whether he is linked to the disappearance of a girl in Germany, prosecutors in the northern town of Stendal told the dpa news agency.

Inga Gehricke vanished from a nearby forest in Saxony-Anhalt on May 2 2015.

He reportedly had a property in the town of Neuwegersleben, around 60 miles south-west of Stendal when she went missing.

Portuguese authorities have been under renewed scrutiny over missed opportunities to interview the man when it came to their initial investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine.

The German national, who cannot be named in full due to strict laws around naming criminals in his home country, has been identified as the main suspect in the case, with police urging anyone with information to come forward.

Maddie's parents (pictured in 2012) are still waiting for answers over the disappearance of their child.
Maddie’s parents (pictured in 2012) are still waiting for answers over the disappearance of their child.

A year before moving to the Algarve region, he was reportedly convicted of two child sex crimes in Germany, the then-18-year-old serving only part of his two-year sentence.

While in Portugal, he worked odd-jobs, and had experience of breaking into apartments as police said he burgled hotels and villas as well as selling drugs.

Madeleine, then three, was abducted from a room in the Ocean Club holiday complex in the area on May 3, 2007.

The suspect received a 30-minute long phone call from an unknown person around an hour before Madeleine was last seen.

Police have also released images of the farmhouse he was living in near the time of the abduction.

A house in Portugal linked to a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case
A house in Portugal linked to a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case

A Jaguar car registered in his name was re-registered to someone else in Germany the day after Madeleine went missing.

That vehicle, along with a VW camper van he was said to be living in at the time, have become crucial pieces of evidence in a renewed police appeal for information.

Maddie
This 1993 Jaguar XJR6 has been linked to the suspect.

Maddie
A VW T3 Westfalia campervan has also been linked to the suspect.

Grassy scrubland near the property on the outskirts of the town was extensively searched by British and Portuguese police seven years later in 2014, but no evidence was found.

Portuguese police would not answer questions about whether the suspect was ever spoken to as part of their initial investigation, but reports suggest a German paedophile was looked at and ruled out as a suspect in 2008.

British police and their Portuguese counterparts investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann during a search of scrubland
British police and their Portuguese counterparts investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann during a search of scrublan

Portuguese detectives were widely criticised for their handling of the case, missing chances to secure potentially key forensic evidence in the apartment room from where Madeleine was taken.

They shelved their investigation as unsolved after just 14 months, a period which saw Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry made formal suspects.

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