A new suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is currently in a German prison as he was convicted of raping an ‘American 72-year-old tourist’.
The current prime suspect in the disappearance and possible murder of Madeleine McCann has been revealed to be in prison for “brutally” beating and raping a 72-year-old tourist, according to reports.
The American woman was in her home in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in September 2005 and a German man attacked her. This took place a year and a half after Madeline vanished from the resort, according to Braunschweiger Zeitung newspaper.
The suspect was caught after a friend discovered a series of videos which showed separate attacks on an elderly woman and a young woman, who were both tied up and raped. He was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to the rape of the 72-year-old woman.
The American woman told the police that the attack lasted around 15 minutes and added: “I felt that he enjoyed torturing me.”
The 43-year-old man, who has not been named, is currently in a German prison serving a seven-year sentence.
Reportedly in December last year, he was convicted of the rape in a district court in Braunschweig, which is about 35 miles east of Hanover in north-central Germany.
German investigators have revealed that the suspect has already been confirmed to have been involved in previous child sex offences and they have not ruled out a sexual motive in the McCann case.
On May 3, 2007, Madeleine vanished from the hotel resort where she was staying with family.
The new suspect reportedly is white, has short blond hair, is about 6ft tall and has a slim build.
The public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig involved themselves in the rape case as the suspect had an address in the district before he had travel abroad, as reported by Braunschweiger Zeitung.
For 14 years, there was no trace of the attacker of the US woman who attacked in her home, until there was a major breakthrough.
A witness gave evidence to the police, stating that he had stolen a video camera from a bedroom in a friend’s empty house in Praia da Luz in 2006, as the friend had been in police custody at the time for allegedly stealing diesel fuel.
The person was horrified as they watched the video, as it showed an elderly woman who was tied up and had her eyes covered. She was subjected to a rape by a masked man and was whipped. The woman appeared to call for “help” in Italian.
Later on in the video, the attacker took off his mask whilst sat on a bed, revealing his identity.
The man then told the police that he recognised the attacker as a friend who had lived in the house when he stole the video camera.
However, there were more videos and the following one showed a woman tied naked to a wooden beam and the same suspect sat on a sofa.
The woman spoke German and pleaded with the suspect to release her. In the video, it was indicated that she had been raped.
The man said: “I want to forget that man.”
Yet for the police, the investigation has only just begun. They proceeded to look through rape capes in Praia de Luz and discovered that there were similarities to an attack on an American widow who was reportedly raped by an intruder in September 2005.
At the time, the German man lived just under a mile away from her home.
The attacker entered the home through an open patio door. At the time, she had been watching TV coverage of Hurricane Katrina and was home alone. The man grabbed her from behind and dragged her by her hair to the bedroom. She was beaten with a metal, flexible object.
Last year, the German man was convicted and sentenced in December. In a bid to have the conviction overturned, his legal team attempted to file an appeal.
The German police are now looking at this child sex offender as the main suspect in the Madeleine McCann case.
Christian Hoppe, from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), believes that the suspect could have broken into the apartment in the Ocean Club complex in Praia de Luz. Madeleine had been on holiday at the time with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie. The detective has speculated he spontaneously decided to kidnap her.
Madeline went missing shortly before her fourth birthday and at the time, the German national was known to have been in and around the area on the Algarve coast.
Around an hour before Madeleine is believed to have gone missing from the hotel room, an half an hour phone call was made on his Portuguese mobile phone.
The suspect has been linked to an early 1980s VW T3 Westfalia camper van – it had a white upper body and yellow skirting – and was registered in Portugal.
Scotland Yard believes the suspect was driving around the area days prior to Madeleine’s disappearance and it is speculated he could have been living in it for days or perhaps weeks.
In 2006 and 2007, the man was also linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 and had a German number plate. It was seen in the surrounding areas of Praia da Luz.
The day following Madeleine’s disappearance, the suspect re-registered his car in Germany under someone else’s name. This is despite the fact that the car was still believed to be in Portugal.
Since then, both vehicles have been seized by the German police and information has been shared which suggests that the suspect may have used one of the cars in his offences.
The BKA is now appealing for potential victims to come forward.
A spokesperson for Madeleine’s parents has shared that the latest announcement in the case has “proved very significant” to them.
13 years on from the little girl’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann believe that the search for their daughter has entered an “important chapter”.
Clarence Mitchell, their spokesperson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday that the couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have never given up hope on Madeleine being alive but are “realistic”.