Madeleine McCann key witness says prime suspect claimed ‘she didn’t scream’ when she disappeared
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A key witness in the Madeleine McCann investigation has spoken out for the first time.
Maddie was just three years old when she mysteriously disappeared from her family's villa in Portugal in 2007.
Despite a wide-reaching search for the young girl, she has never been found, and no one has ever been brought to justice for her disappearance.
Currently, Christian Brueckner is the prime suspect, having previously been convicted of sex offences.
And now, a former associate of his, a Helge Busching, has spoken out about a conversation he had with Brueckner in Spain in 2008, a year after Maddie went missing.
Speaking to German outlet Bild, Busching said that the convicted sex offender appeared to have some knowledge of what happened to her.
Busching said: "He asked me, 'Don't you go to Portugal anymore and do business there?''
"I said, ''No, since the girl disappeared there, there have been too many police checks for me and I don't need that at all.'.
"[The topic of Madeleine's disappearance] came up and I said, ''Anyway, I don't understand how the little one could have disappeared without a trace.''
"Christian had drunk two or three beers, and he said, 'She didn't scream'.
"I thought, he knows that. He has something to do with it'. But he also checked that I understood that and then left at night.
"At three or four o'clock in the morning, he left a packed festival with his mobile home. I looked for him the next morning, but his neighbours said he had left."
Busching claimed that he contacted the Met about what Brueckner had told him but they didn't listen until years later.
"I called Scotland Yard back in 2008," he said. "At the Maddie hotline. I said I knew someone who might have something to do with it and gave them the name. But nothing happened there. Nothing! I was never called back.
"In 2017, I had just served a prison sentence in Greece. When I heard about the 10th anniversary of the disappearance, I remembered.
"Apparently the call didn't help at all. So I contacted Scotland Yard again.
"Then they listened to me."
Busching said that he'd learned of Brueckner's dark past after going to his home following his arrest, to apparently steal some diesel.
There, he and a friend, Manfred Seyferth, found a camcorder with tapes documenting Brueckner's abuses, which were later used to convict him
"I couldn’t believe it," Busching recalled. "I said to Manni, ‘Come over here and see what’s going on’.
“He watched for two minutes and said, ‘I don’t want to know anything about that’."
He added: “I wish there would finally be peace. It is clear to me that Maddie is no longer alive.
“As sad as that is, it would be better if her body was found.”