Portuguese police are trying to trace a string of Christian Brueckner’s former girlfriends, including a British woman he was in a relationship with before the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The 43-year-old was involved with a number of women during his 12 years living on the Algarve and detectives are appealing for them to come forward in the hope they can help the investigation.
Brueckner moved to Portugal in 1995 with his German girlfriend at the time and the pair settled in Lagos, around five miles east of Praia da Luz.
The relationship ended when Brueckner was extradited back to Germany to serve a prison sentence for juvenile offences, but he later returned with another girlfriend and they moved into a secluded rented property in the hamlet of Mount Judeu overlooking the resort where later Madeleine disappeared.
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In 2005, he began a relationship with a British woman who was living in the area and they moved in together for about a year before breaking up.
The Portuguese police are not sure whether the woman, who has not been named, remained on the Algarve or returned to the UK.
In 2006, Brueckner moved out of his rented house and began living in a Volkswagen camper van along the coastline. It is thought he was living in the camper van in May 2007 when Madeleine was abducted.
Brueckner returned to Germany and in 2014, while working in Braunschweig, allegedly began a relationship with an “underage Kosovan girl”. The pair moved to Praia da Luz and police are keen to trace her to check if Brueckner mentioned Madeleine.
A former neighbour in Germany claimed: “He was very bad with women. He had a minor friend who came from Kosovo. He always beat them. Once she even had strangle [marks] on her neck.”
One ex-girlfriend called the police regularly over allegations of domestic violence, and officers found indecent images of children on his phone.
Portuguese TV station SIC reported that Brueckner sold his camper van for in 2015 to a scrapyard in Silves, an hour from Praia da Luz. Last year, detectives working on the McCann investigation traced the vehicle to the yard, where it had been stored.
The camper van and Brueckner’s distinctive 1993 Jaguar XJR6 were later seized and shipped to Germany for analysis. It is understood both vehicles underwent extensive forensic examination which has failed to yield any significant clues.
Police are also trying to identify the owners of two mobile phone numbers Brueckner called on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Portuguese media reported that one was linked to a local bar manager who had worked in the area in 2007.
The Daily Telegraph contacted the family of the man, who denied knowing Brueckner and insisted he did not recognise the mobile phone number.