Madeleine McCann suspect faces new investigation into Portugal child sex offence

EXCLUSIVE Christian Brueckner was arrested in Portugal in 2017 on suspicion of exposing himself to children in a playground 40 minutes from Praia da Luz, where Maddie went missing

Police have reopened an inquiry into a child sex crime linked to the main suspect in the Madeleine McCann case.

Christian Brueckner was arrested in Portugal in 2017 on suspicion of exposing himself to children in a playground 40 minutes from Praia da Luz.

But because he was wanted in his homeland Germany for child sex crimes, Brueckner was extradited before a charge was filed.

The inquiry into the indecent exposure in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines was mothballed the next year.

The parents of the children were furious when prosecutors said there was not enough evidence for a conviction.

Portuguese officials yesterday confirmed the inquiry had been reopened following criticism.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said: “The investigation is currently ongoing.”

If charged, Brueckner, 43, could stand trial in Germany and be jailed if convicted.

Sources said police were not aware of his 1994 conviction for child sex abuse when he was arrested in 2017.

A source said: “Prosecutors have a different understanding of Brueckner than they did three or four years ago.”

Brueckner was 17 when he was convicted of molesting a six-year-old girl in a playground in the town of Wurzburg, Bavaria.

The group of children he allegedly exposed himself to in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines were aged eight to 12.

He claimed he was trying to urinate, even though he was a few feet away from a public toilet.

The father of one of the girls said earlier this year: “All the children said he was masturbating. There was no doubt among them.

“My daughter has been left with trauma.”

Brueckner is currently in jail in Germany for drug trafficking.

Madeleine, three, went missing from Praia da Luz in 2007.