The man suspected of abducting Madeleine McCann was reportedly tipped off by a hotel worker that the three-year-old’s parents would be out of their holiday accommodation for the night.
Christian Brueckner, a 43-year-old convicted German sex offender, was allegedly told by an employee at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz that the McCann parents would be out for dinner and their apartment would be easy to break in to, according to Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manhã.
A receptionist for the holiday complex left a note at the staff register about the group’s dinner reservation.
Maddie’s mother, Kate, later wrote in her book about the 2007 abduction, titled Madeleine, that she only discovered the note a year after the horrific event.
“It wasn’t until a year later, when I was combing through the Portuguese files, that I discovered that the note requesting our block booking was written in a staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool reception for most of the day,” she wrote.
“To my horror I saw that, no doubt in all innocence and to explain why she was bending the rules a bit, the receptionist had written the reason for our request.
“We wanted to eat close to our apartments as we were leaving our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently.”
A friend of Brueckner who worked at the Ocean Club is suspected of seeing the note and tipping him off about the apartment being left unsupervised.
Police have since identified the employee who is believed to have passed on the information to the German sex offender, the Portuguese newspaper reported.
The staff member also reportedly had the suspect’s phone number in his mobile contacts.
Brueckner received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Maddie went missing.
It is alleged Brueckner went to raid the holiday accommodation and found Madeleine sleeping near her younger twin brother and sister Sean and Amelie.
He is then suspected of abducting the three-year-old.
Last week German authorities announced they were investigating the German man in relation to Maddie’s disappearance.
He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in 2005.
He had allegedly told a friend about Maddie’s abduction over a drink on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance, and then shown the person a video of a rape which led to the person tipping off police.
Brueckner also has criminal records for the distribution of child pornography, sexual abuse of children, and violations of the Narcotics Act, according to German media.
Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office, told journalists “we are assuming that the girl is dead”.
“In connection with the disappearance of the three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann on May 3, 2007 from an apartment complex in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, the Braunschweig prosecution is investigating against a 43-year-old German on suspicion of murder.
“With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he’s already serving a long sentence.”
German authorities are appealing for more information about Maddie’s disappearance, with Wolters saying on Monday that they had evidence but not enough for a trial.
“The hard evidence we don’t have, we don’t have the crucial evidence of Madeleine McCann’s body,” he told Sky News.
“We expect that she is dead, but we don’t have enough evidence that we can get a warrant for our suspect in Germany for the murder of Madeleine McCann.
“At the moment, we also don’t have enough proof for a trial at court, but we have some evidence that the suspect has done the deed.
“That’s why we need more information from people, especially places he has lived, so we can target these places especially and search there for Madeleine.”
The long-running case of Madeleine McCann, who vanished shortly before her fourth birthday, has mesmerised Britain for more than a decade.
Her parents say Madeleine disappeared after they had left her and her twin siblings asleep in their holiday complex while they had dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.
More than 600 people had been identified as being potentially significant, but officers were tipped off about the German suspect following a 2017 appeal, 10 years after the girl went missing.
Maddie would have turned 17 last month.