Court Rejects McCann Suspect’s Appeal in Separate Rape Case

November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

BERLIN—A German federal court has dismissed an appeal against the rape conviction of a man who is currently also being investigated over the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann.

The court in Karlsruhe said on Friday it had rejected the appeal by Christian Brueckner against his conviction last year for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal and confirmed the seven-year sentence.

The move comes weeks before Brueckner, 43, who is serving the remains of a separate sentence for drug offenses, could have been released.

Even though Brueckner is a suspect in the McCann case, prosecutors have said they do not yet have enough evidence to hold him on that case alone.

missing Madeleine McCann
Photo of missing Madeleine McCann released on Sept. 16, 2007. (Handout/Getty Images)

McCann was 3 years old at the time of her disappearance in 2007 from an apartment where her family was vacationing in Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region. The rape of the American two years earlier also took place in the seaside town.

German authorities in June said they had identified Brueckner, a German citizen, as a suspect in the case and were investigating him on suspicion of murder.

Earlier this week, Brueckner suffered two broken ribs in an incident at a German court and was treated in a hospital, but was then able to return for a hearing that same day, authorities said.