Prosecutors in Germany say they have written to Madeleine McCann’s parents to tell them their daughter is dead.
Kate and Gerry McCann were told by prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters they have ‘concrete evidence’ suspect Christian Brueckner killed Madeleine. However, Mr Wolters was unable to reveal what that evidence is to the couple.
He explained that sharing ‘every detail’ of the case could damage the chances of Brueckner going to trial. British police have also not been told the full information.
Mr Wolters said today: ‘We have written to the McCanns to tell them Madeleine is dead and explaining we just cannot say what the evidence is. We have concrete evidence that our suspect has killed Madeleine.
German prosecutor: We are assuming that Madeleine McCann is dead
‘British police have been informed but don’t have all the evidence we have. The results of our investigation have been shared but not every detail has been passed to Scotland Yard. I don’t think the McCanns have been informed of all the details but they know the results.’
Mr Wolters added that he sympathised with the McCanns but emphasised that sharing any more information could jeopardise the ongoing investigation.
He went on: ‘This is a murder case not a missing persons case. We have been quite clear throughout that we are investigating a murder and have evidence for that.
‘We can understand the pain of the parents and they want relief, but it is better for them that we have a clear and successful conclusion to the case. There is no realistic hope she is alive. Of course I understand the parents want to believe she is until they see a body.
‘It would be easier for them if I could tell them what we know but I can’t. All I can say is there is no forensic evidence but there is other evidence which indicates she is dead.’
The Met Police’s Operation Grange, which has so-far received more than £12,000,000 in funding since its launch, previously said there was no ‘definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead’ and still regarded the investigation as a missing persons case.
Madeleine, then three, disappeared while on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 2007. German national Brueckner was named as the focus of police investigations earlier this year.
He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Kiel for raping an American woman, 72, in Portugal. He is known to have previously lived on the Algarve coast, and his Portuguese mobile received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Madeleine went missing.
Officers were tipped off about his possible involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance following a 2017 appeal, having previously ruled him out of their investigation in 2008 for reasons unknown. He has 17 convictions across Europe, including sex offences against children.
Clarence Mitchell, the McCann family spokesman, said the McCanns would not be commenting on private correspondence received from police. He added: ‘I don’t want to go into any details about the letter, when it was written or how it was sent. All I will confirm is that it has been written.’