Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2024
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Madeleine McCann suspect ‘scream and I’ll kill you’ before ‘raping woman at knife point’ | World | News

Christian Brueckner, the man suspected of being behind the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, threatened to kill a woman as he raped her at knifepoint two years earlier, a court has been told.

Former holiday rep Hazel Behan, 40, was working in a holiday resort in the Algarve, in Portugal, when she was attacked by an intruder.

Ms Behan, who was 20 at the time, told Portuguese police who launched an investigation but were unable to identify a suspect.

She contacted Scotland Yard four year ago after Brueckner, now 48, was named as the prime suspect in Madeleine’s case.

She noticed chilling similarities between the attack on her and a rape carried out by Brueckner in Praia da Luz in 2005.

Giving evidence in Braunschweig, she was coming face to face with Brueckner for the first time, telling the court how she was raped in Praia da Rocha after finishing her shift.

After an argument with her boyfriend, she returned to her fifth-floor apartment alone before falling asleep, Ms Behan, who now lives in Ireland, explained.

She said: “The next thing I remember was being woken up by someone calling my name.

“I thought it was my boyfriend coming to apologise, but he had no key so how would he have got in? And then came a fear that I can never ever put into words.

“All the blood in my body rushed into my feet. I turned to see who was calling my name. I saw a man dressed fully in black from head to toe, with a mask.

“He kneeled into my back and put his hand over my mouth. Then he grabbed the top of my hair and he said in English, ‘Don’t f*****g scream or I’ll kill you’. He pulled me by my hair and was behind me.”

Her attacker then raped her “with the force of a train”, Ms Behan continued.

She added: “I have had three children and I’ve never felt pain like it. It felt like that moment lasted forever.

“I knew that this person just didn’t like me. He was aroused by the power, control. He didn’t fancy me.”

Hazel told the court she was dragged into the living room and tied to a breakfast bar with a belt and rope.

Her attacker then set up a video camera, said Ms Behan.

She explained: “I remember thinking why the hell would you need a video?” she said. “My body was shaking uncontrollably and he said in English, ‘You’re scared aren’t you’. I said no, but I was afraid.”

Hazel said he then raped her a second time. “There are some moments where you just have to completely shut off.

“That was the time I switched off. My whole focus was on how do I get out of here? It was extremely painful. I was really relieved when that was over. Then he came around and took the video camera and filmed all around my body, calling me a fat *****.

“Then he took a whip out of his rucksack, a leather whip with long tassels, and he whipped me on my back. He said ‘You’re scared now aren’t you?’ and I said yes.”

Hazel said she was raped for a third time in the bedroom, before her attacker pulled out a knife and ordered her into the bathroom.

fShe said: “In my head I thought, ‘He’s going to ******* kill me in the bathroom’.

“I told him, ‘You came for what you wanted, just leave’. In my head I was thinking, ‘It’s time to scream’. He grabbed me by the hair and I was kneeling over the bench.

“He made sure my head was down and he took a sheet off my bed and put it over my head. I thought, ‘What is he going to do? Is he going to chop my head off? Next thing I remember, I could hear him packing his bag and I could see he had no shoes on.

“And then I saw the balcony door open and he stepped back out the door and put his shoes on. And I waited. I had too much fear to move. I couldn’t see out to see if he was still on the balcony, so that’s why I waited.”

Hazel eventually ran out of the room and managed to raise the alarm at the hotel reception, the court heard.

However, she claimed Portuguese police “laughed and joked” in front of her when she went to give a statement in Portimao.

She said: “There were three police officers there, three men, they had their feet on the table and were chatting with each other.

“They were completely unaware of anything happening around them, and they were only speaking in Portuguese. They were laughing and joking with each other when I sat in the chair.

“They threw a bag of evidence across the table and asked if they were my clothes and I said yes, of course. It was all very quick. They told me that the best thing that I could do was to go home. I never heard anything again from the Portuguese police.” 

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