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The suspect: Sexual offender who lived 'transient lifestyle' in Portugal


Vehicle: The VW camper

Vehicle: The VW camper

Vehicle: The VW camper

Suspect Christian B is a German national, aged 43, but at the time Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007 he was 30 and may have looked between 25 and his early 30s.

Christian Hoppe, from Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office, said the suspect was currently serving a prison sentence for a sex crime and had two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls".

German newspaper 'Braunschweiger Zeitung' reported he is serving a seven-year prison sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in 2005 after he was convicted at Braunschweig District Court in December last year.

German magazine 'Der Spiegel' reported he was extradited from Portugal in 2017 and initially convicted of drug trafficking.

Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office, said the suspect was regularly living in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, where he worked jobs, including in the gastronomy business, but funded his lifestyle by committing crimes, including thefts in hotel complexes and apartments, as well as drug dealing.

The suspect is described as having a "transient lifestyle", living in his camper van for days at a time.

An appeal on a German 'Crimecall' TV show said he was linked to houses in Portugal - including one between Praia da Luz and Lagos.

A former neighbour told Sky News he rented a farm building from an English owner from the mid-90s, leaving a year before Madeleine disappeared.

"He was always a bit angry, driving fast up and down the lane and then one day, around 2006, he just disappeared without a word. I think he left some rent unpaid," the neighbour said.

"About six months later, I was asked to help clean up the place and it was disgusting, absolutely vile. It had been trashed, with broken stuff like computers all over the place.

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"We found a bin bag and inside were wigs and exotic clothing, whether just fancy dress or something stranger I couldn't tell."

When Madeleine disappeared, he had access to a VW T3 Westfalia camper van, from at least April 2007 until sometime after May 2007, which was used around Praia da Luz.

The suspect is believed to have been using a Portuguese mobile phone on the day Madeleine went missing.

The phone received a call, starting at 7.32pm and finishing at 8.02pm on May 3, 2007, in the area of Praia da Luz from a second mobile number from a person not in the area.

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