Christian Brueckner, the man suspected of abducting Madeleine McCann, faces being charged with the 2004 rape of an Irish tour rep on the Algarve.
The German national is suspected of attacking Hazel Behan in her apartment in Praia da Rocha, three years before Maddie was snatched.
Police hope to charge Brueckner in the next 12 weeks. He is currently serving a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old American in 2005 and was named as the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case in June last year.
The man suspected of abducting Madeleine McCann faces being charged with the 2004 rape of Irish tour rep Hazel Behan, 37, (pictured) on the Algarve
Christian Brueckner (pictured left) left Portugal after Madeline McCann (pictured right) disappeared on May 3, 2007. He is the prime suspect in the case
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said the case against Brueckner was ‘in a good way’ and that he was ‘hopeful for a charge’.
Wolters explained there were stark parallels between the attack on Ms Behan, the rape of an American tourists – for which Brueckner was convicted – and the ‘abduction and murder of Madeleine McCann.’
He said: ‘In each case the person has come into the person’s apartment or property by breaking and entering, often not through the door.’
However, Wolters said he was unable to confirm whether police are working on the assumption Maddie’s abductor entered the hotel room through the window, rather than the unlocked balcony doors, the Sunday Times reported.
Ms Behan was raped in apartment in Praia da Rocha, Portugal, in 2004 (building exterior pictured)
Ms Behan was attacked in the resort town of Praia da Rocha, which is around 20 miles away from Praia da Luz – where Madeleine was abducted in 2007
Ms Behan, who waived her right to anonymity in June 2020, had demanded police reopen her case after she discovered it had striking similarities with the rape of the American, for which Brueckner was convicted in December 2019.
She told the Guardian at the time: ‘My mind was blown when I read how he had attacked a woman in 2005, both the tactics and the methods he used, the tools he had with him, how well he had planned it out.
‘I puked, to be honest with you, as reading about it took me right back to my experience.’
She recently revealed details of the attack which saw a masked man climb over the balcony to her apartment in the early hours of the morning.
He is said to have held a knife to her throat, tied and gagged her before raping her repeatedly for a period of four or five hours.
The assailant then threatened to kill her before fleeing over the balcony and leaving her bleeding.
In September, German authorities agreed to open an investigation into the incident.
But, in a blow to investigators, police said traces of DNA found at the scene of the crime did not match that of Brueckner.
It is not yet clear what evidence has been uncovered that implicates Brueckner in Ms Behan’s rape.
Following a charge, prosecutors are likely to seek a full trial before five judges in the district court in Braunschweig (Brunswick in English).
In June, Brueckner was identified the German man as a suspect in the case of Madeleine, who disappeared from an apartment in 2007 while her family was on holiday in the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal.
In June, Brueckner was identified the German man as a suspect in the case of Maddie McCann, who disappeared from an apartment in Portugal in 2007
Brueckner was seen in public for the first time in November after he was named as the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance by German police
Brueckner lived in the Algarve for much of the period from 1995 to 2007, and German prosecutors say he received a phone call from a Portuguese number around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance in May 2007.
He made a living doing odd jobs in the area where Madeleine disappeared, and was also known to have burgled hotel rooms and holiday flats.
He has two previous convictions for ‘sexual contact with girls’, authorities say, but they do not have enough evidence to hold him in prison on the strength of the McCann case alone.
Since taking the lead in the case earlier this year, German police have struggled to explain what evidence they have about Madeleine’s disappearance.
In November, a leaked memo revealed that Portuguese investigators were ‘shocked’ by the lack of concrete evidence after being briefed on the case against Brueckner.
Before that, there was confusion about whether German authorities had specific evidence that Madeleine was dead, as they initially implied they did.
In the UK, the case remains a missing persons inquiry, as there’s no ‘definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead’
Madeleine was just three years old when she disappeared while on holiday in Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann (pictured together)