Brutal, ruthless, without scruples: The Christian B. file: Public prosecutors accuse the main suspect in the "Maddie" case of other crimes

"Indictment against the suspect in the Madeleine 'Maddie' McCann case" - the headline of the press release from the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office on Tuesday afternoon initially suggested a worldwide sensation.

Brutal, ruthless, without scruples: The Christian B. file: Public prosecutors accuse the main suspect in the "Maddie" case of other crimes

"Indictment against the suspect in the Madeleine 'Maddie' McCann case" - the headline of the press release from the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office on Tuesday afternoon initially suggested a worldwide sensation. 15 years after the disappearance of the then three-year-old girl in the Portuguese Algarve, have the investigators succeeded in convicting the perpetrator?

To anticipate: no. It's about a number of other serious crimes that the authorities charge the 45-year-old Christian B. with - and they are convinced that he committed them. Some of these dates back more than 20 years.

"Multi-year, very intensive and complex investigations in several European countries" preceded the indictment, the extent of which can be seen in one number: the indictment alone is more than 100 pages thick. The investigation files fill whole folders.

What the investigators have compiled paints the picture of a notorious serious criminal: ruthless, unscrupulous and brutal - the files of Christian B.

The press code and the journalistic duty of care only allow the publication of photos or the full names of suspects under certain circumstances. In the case of Christian B., these are not available in the opinion of the stern editorial team: So far, there has been no verdict that B. committed the crimes he is accused of. The suspect is currently in custody for another offense and is therefore on the way to rehabilitation - this goal would be contradicted by the publication of the pixelated photo if the suspicion against him were not to be substantiated.

According to the findings of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), he lived "more or less permanently" in the Algarve in southern Portugal between 1995 and 2007 - where Madeleine McCann also disappeared on May 3, 2007. The suspect is said to have made his living from jobs in the catering trade, but also from burglaries and drug dealing, among other things. According to the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig, however, these were not the only crimes committed by Bs at that time in Portugal.

Madeleine McCann's disappearance has been known around the world as "Fall Maddie" since 2007. However, the parents of the little girl themselves always called their daughter by her full name. The abbreviation "Maddie" was first used by British tabloids. The star has decided to call Madeleine like her parents do. Especially when the texts are about the girl in particular. For many people, however, the "Maddie case" has become a household name, as Google statistics show. In exceptional situations, especially when it comes to the case, i.e. the entire story, the star will continue to use the designation "Fall Maddie" in headlines or text passages.

According to the indictment, he was repeatedly convicted of sexual offenses at the time. The public prosecutor's office accuses him of serious rape and "sexual abuse of children". He is said to have visited a previously unknown woman in her bedroom sometime between 2000 and 2006. "Then the masked suspect is said to have tied up and raped the victim. Then he hit the victim several times with a whip," explains Braunschweig public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters in his statement. B. is said to have made video recordings of the fact.

A crime in April 2004 is said to have been based on almost the same modus operandi. B. is said to have surprised a then 20-year-old Irish woman in her apartment at night, woke her up, threatened her with a knife and raped her. "Then the accused tied the woman to a table, gagged her and raped her again," Wolters said. "Then he whipped the victim on the back with a whip he had brought with him and finally forcibly performed oral sex with the victim." B. is also said to have filmed this case.

B. allegedly also lived out his brutality on minors: According to the public prosecutor, his video camera was also running in the early 2000s when an unknown young person was tied naked to a wooden pole and whipped by him before B. forced the girl to have oral sex.

In 2007, B. is said to have committed another crime. He is said to have forced a ten-year-old girl "grinning" on the rocks in the holiday resort of Salema to watch him masturbate until she ejaculated, according to the indictment "in order to become sexually aroused".

In June 2017, Bs was arrested. Here he is said to have masturbated in front of a child during a folk festival in the Algarve. The victim: an eleven-year-old girl. The child ran to his father for help, who alerted the police. B. was caught on the spot.

Despite all the horror at the acts described in the indictment: It is far from proven that Christian B. actually committed them. The indictment is only a first step on the way to a possible conviction. Now the district court in Braunschweig has to assess the investigation results of the public prosecutor's office. If the court comes to the conclusion in the interim proceedings that B. "appears sufficiently suspicious", as stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure, it will allow the indictment and decide to open the main proceedings, at the end of which the suspect could be convicted. It is not yet clear when that will happen. However, it is clear that a youth chamber would negotiate because some of the alleged victims were still children or young people at the time.

However, this has no influence on a possible prison sentence. Since B. was at least 23 years old at the time of the alleged crimes, he would be sentenced under adult criminal law. 15 years imprisonment would be possible.

He is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. The accused's lawyer also points this out: "I consider the evidence to be poor in all cases," said the Kiel criminal defense attorney Friedrich Fülscher of the DPA news agency. The allegations have been known for a long time, nothing has changed in the situation. A request from the star to the lawyer initially went unanswered on Wednesday.

Christian B. is no stranger to the security authorities, crimes pave his CV. Most recently, the 45-year-old was sentenced to seven years in prison at the end of 2019, and the Federal Court of Justice confirmed the verdict almost a year later. The Braunschweig district court had proven that he had raped a 72-year-old American woman in 2005, also in Portugal. A hair found at the crime scene provided DNA evidence.

According to the BKA, B. had previously been in prison several times, including for "sexual abuse" of children. According to media reports, he is also known to the courts and the police for theft, assault and drug offenses. According to "Spiegel" there are at least 17 entries in the federal central register, for the first sexualized abuse of a child B. was sentenced in 1997 as a 17-year-old.

Is Christian B. also responsible for the disappearance of Madeleine McCann? According to the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office, the evidence speaks for it, some of which the investigators made public: The suspect was said to have been traveling in the Algarve in 2007 with a dark red Jaguar and a white and yellow VW bus. "There are indications that he (Christian B.; editor's note) could have used one of these vehicles to commit the crime," said the BKA in Wiesbaden.

B. is also said to have been on the phone around the time the three-year-old disappeared in Praia da Luz, the McCanns' vacation spot. just coincidence?

The prosecutor doesn't think so. There is a suspicion of murder against Christian B. "We assume that the girl is dead," Wolters announced in June 2020 to the assembled world press. There is "material evidence" for Madeleine's death, Wolters later said in an interview. When asked what the evidence was, he did not want to provide any information – possibly so as not to endanger further investigations. Most recently, prosecutor Wolters reiterated his conviction in an interview with a Portuguese television station. "We are certain that he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann." Wolters added: "Christian B. has no alibi."

From the point of view of Wolters' authorities, the collected evidence is apparently not sufficient to bring charges against B. in the "Maddie" case. The investigations continue. Therefore, "no further information (...) can be given in this regard at this point in time," it said. One still hopes for information from the population, said Wolters on Tuesday, referring to an appeal by the BKA on the Internet.

The case is one of the most famous missing persons cases in the world. On the evening of May 3, 2007, Madeleine disappeared without a trace and under unclear circumstances from her parents' holiday home in Praia de Luz, Portugal, while they were eating at a nearby restaurant. Kate and Gerald McCann launched a high-profile search campaign for their daughter and managed to ensure the case was never forgotten. But the worldwide sensation, the clarification of the case, is still a long time coming.

Christian B. denies having anything to do with the kidnapping of Madeleine McCann and the possible murder of the girl.

The public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig and the Federal Criminal Police Office are addressing the public to clarify the case with the following questions, among others:

Information leading to the clarification of the "Maddie" case can be received by the BKA on telephone number (0611) 5518444 or via the contact form, as well as any other police station. A reward of 10,000 euros is offered. The BKA promises that the information will also be treated confidentially if requested.

Sources: Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office (1), Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office (2), Federal Criminal Police Office, Code of Criminal Procedure, Criminal Code, "Spiegel", TV station RPT, "Daily Mail", news agencies DPA and AFP