MADELEINE McCann investigators last night claimed they have found evidence in the camper van of prime suspect Christian B — amid speculation it is tell-tale fibres from her pink Eeyore pyjamas.
Parents Kate and Gerry marked 15 years since the three-year-old’s disappearance at a service in Rothley, Leics, yesterday.
Madeleine McCann disappeared 15 years ago in Praia da Luz, Portugal[/caption]
The VW camper van owned at the time by Christian B[/caption]
Hans-Christian Wolters, heading the case against the German paedo and rapist, said: “We have found new facts and new evidence.
“It’s not forensic evidence but evidence and because of our evidence, we are sure he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann. We are sure he killed Madeleine.”
His admission came after he was pressed on TV over claims that evidence was recovered from B’s camper van.
There was speculation that this was fibres from the missing tot’s pyjamas.
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Mr Wolters was interviewed by Portuguese TV sleuth Sandra Felgueiras on the 15th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.
The three-year-old was wearing patterned pink Winnie the Pooh Eeyore pyjamas when taken in Praia da Luz, Portugal. No trace of them has ever been unearthed.
But rumours recently surfaced that something had been found in the yellow-and-white VW driven by Christian B at the time.
Mr Wolters was asked about the “telltale” fibres during Ms Felgueiras’ show. She asked: “Is it true you did find something belonging to Madeleine in the caravan of Christian B?”
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Mr Wolters said: “I can’t comment on details of the investigation.”
Ms Felgueiras added: “But you can’t deny it, can you?”
Mr Wolters replied: “I don’t want to deny it” — and qualified his statement later, adding “because the suspect has not yet been informed”.
Under German law, details of a police investigation cannot be made public until a suspect and their legal team are given full details of the case against them.
Christian B, 45, has always denied any involvement in Madeleine’s abduction.
This week he claimed he was miles from where Madeleine was taken, and was instead having sex in his van with a woman willing to back his alibi.
But any forensic or DNA traces linking B to Madeleine would be certain to accelerate police efforts to finally charge him with her abduction and murder.
The three-year-old was wearing patterned pink Winnie the Pooh Eeyore pyjamas when taken in Praia da Luz, Portugal[/caption]
Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry, mark the 15th anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance from Portugal at a vigil in their home village[/caption]
Mr Wolters declined to give details when asked whether he was also certain that B was the person who took Madeleine from her parents’ Ocean Club holiday apartment — suggesting he may have had an accomplice.
Ms Felgueiras, a presenter on Portugal’s CMTV, said yesterday: “I am certain B did it and the Portuguese police know he worked with an accomplice.”
News of the evidence broke as it was revealed B will face up to ten more years in jail as he will face another rape charge within days.
He has been jailed in Germany for the rape of a US pensioner in Praia in 2005, two years before Madeleine’s disappearance.
His parole bid was rejected last month. Authorities deemed him a risk to the public and ruled he must stay behind bars until at least next May when another parole hearing is scheduled.
Mr Wolters told The Sun yesterday that he hoped to charge the predator soon over Madeleine’s disappearance.
But Christian B will first be served papers detailing his alleged rape of Irish tour rep Hazel Behan.
If he is convicted and sentenced to ten more years it will allow the Madeleine probe to continue without fear of him fleeing justice.
Hazel, who has waived her right to anonymity, told how her 2004 ordeal was virtually identical to the US pensioner’s.
Describing the horror inside her home in Praia da Rocha near Luz, she said: “There was a masked man dressed in tights and what resembled a leotard, a machete around 12ins long in his hand.”
The rapist set up a video camera in the room and told Hazel not to scream as he dragged her into the living room and tied her to a counter-top.
He then produced a bag of whips and chains and used scissors to remove her clothing before gagging her with a cloth.
THREATENED WITH MACHETE
Hazel, now 39, said she was raped for up to five hours before the attacker threatened her with a machete when she refused to perform a sex act on him.
She added: “My hands were still tied behind my back and he leaned me over a small bench and put a sheet over my head.
“I thought my life was over. But underneath the sheet I watched as he backed out of the door, put on his shoes and ran away down the street.”
Kate teary over poem at 15yr vigil
By Rob Pattinson
KATE McCann fought back tears at a vigil for Madeleine yesterday — as children lit candles for the tot and other lost youngsters.
She and husband Gerry were pictured for the first time in public in four years.
They thanked around 100 wellwishers at the half-hour gathering in Rothley, Leics.
Medic Kate, 54, read a poem saying: “Survival can be summed up in three words. Never give up.
“That’s the heart of it really, just keep trying. Sometimes you have to get knocked down. Lower than you have ever been. To stand up taller than you ever were. Perseverance is stubbornness.”
The couple, who have twins Sean and Amelie, now 17, also bowed their heads in prayer.
The annual event had been cancelled over the past two years because of Covid restrictions.
A family source said: “Kate and Gerry enjoy going to the service for a time of prayer and quiet reflection. They always appreciate the support of the public.”
In a post to mark the vigil, Kate and Gerry said: “This year we mark 15 years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time.
“We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring those answers.”
Their post was accompanied by a phrase from author AA Milne, with a picture of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, saying: “But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”
A spokesman for Mr Wolters, who is based in Braunschweig, northern Germany, said of the Hazel case: “The investigation is practically complete.
“The defence attorney will shortly be given access to the files and given the opportunity to comment on the allegations.
“As a rule, such proceedings are then heard about six months to one year after the indictment. In both cases, the investigation was very difficult due to the time that had passed since the crime.
“We’ll be granting access to files in the Hazel B case in a few days. Then Christian B knows what evidence we have collected against him.
“From this point on, nothing is secret any more. In the McCann case, however, this isn’t the case.”
B is in prison in the city of Oldenburg, where he is serving seven years for raping the 82-year-old American woman.
Mr Wolters stressed that his team will still not be handing over any evidence to B’s legal team soon, as part of the prosecution strategy “not to jeopardise these investigations”.
B is also being probed over an allegation that he exposed himself to a ten-year-old girl on a beach in Portugal in April 2007.
Meanwhile, Portuguese prosecutors yesterday revealed their recent move to declare him a suspect, or “arguido”, in the Madeleine case gave them eight more years to gather evidence.
Statute of limitations legislation in Portugal could have prevented him from being charged yesterday when a 15-year limit passed.
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But cops now have until November 3, 2029 to nail him.
B’s lawyer Friedrich Fülscher was unavailable for comment last night.
Hans-Christian Wolters, heading the case against the German paedo and rapist, said: ‘We have found new facts and new evidence’[/caption]