Madeleine McCann: Prime suspect in child's disappearance could be freed from jail in months

24 June 2024, 17:29 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 20:42

The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann could be freed from jail in a matter of months if a challenge by his lawyers is successful.

The British girl went missing when she was three years old during a family holiday in Portugal in May 2007.

Later, convicted child abuser Christian B was accused of being responsible - an allegation he denies.

The 47-year-old man, who has never been formally charged over her disappearance, is currently on trial in Germany for a string of unrelated sex offences.

On Monday, the court in the current case confirmed his legal team has applied to get the arrest warrant overturned.

If successful, his legal team says he could soon be released from prison.

"If it is overturned and he is ultimately acquitted, he would be released in spring next year at the latest," his lawyer Friedrich Fulscher told Sky News.

He added he was confident the court would grant their request, saying: "I am sure this will be granted. I can't imagine it any other way."

"After the evidence had been taken, not a single accusation had been substantiated in such a way that one can speak of a suspicion of an offence," he went on.

The final decision lies with the court.

Christian B, whose surname is withheld due to German privacy laws, has denied the three rapes and two sexual offences he is on trial for.

The prosecution claims the alleged crimes took place in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

A pensioner and a 10-year-old child are among the alleged victims.

None of the charges relate to Madeleine McCann.

Christian B is currently serving a prison sentence for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman.

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The court will now hear from the other parties in the case before publishing its decision over whether to cancel the arrest warrant.

If successful, Dr Fulscher said Christian B would not be released from prison before his other sentence has been completed.

Sky News contacted the prosecutors in the case who said they could not comment.