The paedophile suspected of abducting and murdering Madeleine McCann has shown psychopathic traits and may be a “total weakling”, a renowned forensic biologist suggests.
German expert Dr Mark Benecke, who once examined Adolf and Eva Hitler’s skulls in Moscow, suspects Christian Brueckner is a narcissist with an antisocial personality disorder.
Brueckner’s previous convictions for violence point towards “classic psychopathic crimes”, and the ages of his victims suggest it is “more about power” than a sexual liking of a particular age group, said Dr Benecke.
Many violent criminals who prey on children are in fact “total weaklings”, choosing easier targets such as kids or the elderly because those victims put up less of a fight, the expert added.
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Dr Benecke, a university lecturer who has been an expert witness in criminal trials around the world, told Mirror Online: “Since he committed so many different offences he might have an antisocial personality disorder.
“He might be psychopathic, which means antisocial plus narcissistic personality disorder.”
A chilling portrait has emerged of Brueckner since he was identified as the chief suspect in the McCann case
He has almost 20 convictions in Germany for crimes including sexually abusing two girls, raping a 72-year-old woman, drug trafficking and theft.
Previous girlfriends claim he was violent towards them and former neighbours and friends claim he made cryptic comments about Madeleine and children, had a 17-year-old girlfriend when he was in his 30s, was aggressive and threatening towards them, and threw drug and booze-fuelled parties.
It has emerged police found girls’ swimwear, children’s clothes and 8,000 child abuse images – showing the abuse of infants, children and adolescents – while investigating the child sex predator four years ago.
Brueckner does not have any children.
Police found about 100 pictures of Brueckner partly naked or wearing black stockings and committing a sex act.
Officers were looking for the body of five-year-old Inga Gehricke, who vanished in a forest near Stendal, northern Germany, in May 2015.
Nine months after she disappeared, officers raided a disused factory site near Braunschweig, which Brueckner had bought six years earlier at auction.
Germany’s Spiegel TV revealed in a documentary that police seized a red and white Tiffin Allegro Bay motor home in May 2016, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Inga, the so-called German Maddie.
During a six-day examination of the site, police also found computer memory sticks with more than 8,000 files, mostly containing pictures and videos of child abuse, the documentary said.
The items were in a carrier bag buried beneath the body of Brueckner’s dog.
Police claim they also discovered an online chat where he told someone he wanted to “catch something little and use it for days”, “record maaaany videos/clips” and “document in detail how she’s being tortured”.
Brueckner also allegedly boasted the motorhome he owned and drove repeatedly between Germany and Portugal was ideal for hiding “drugs and children”.
He was charged in relation to the child abuse images, but not in relation to Inga, who went missing during a family picnic and has never been found.
After Brueckner was named the prime suspect in the McCann case, police forces across Europe began taking another look at unsolved child disappearances or murders, and rapes of women.
In Germany, police are reviewing several cases, including the disappearance of Inga.
Brueckner lived in rundown homes in Portugal and when Maddie vanished he was living a “transient” lifestyle in a VW camper van.
When he was in the Algarve he worked in a bar and fixed up cars for cash. But prosecutors say he became a drifter and supplemented his income through burglaries and theft.
A former neighbour said Brueckner in a “disgusting” and “absolutely vile” farm building near Praia da Luz, the same resort where Madeleine disappeared in May 2007, and left behind wigs and exotic clothing when he abruptly moved out.
The ex-neighbour told Sky News: “He arrived in the mid-90s and rented the place from the English owner.
“He went back to Germany at one stage and moved another German guy in to look after it, then came back and threw him out on the street.
“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.”
Born Christian Fischer in 1976, Brueckner spent time in a children’s home and was adopted by Brigitte and Fritz Brueckner, who later sent him away after he got into trouble, according to neighbours.
Neighbours said the couple were unable to control him and sent him to a reform school for delinquent teenagers in Wurzburg.
As an adult he has split his time between Portugal and Germany, where he ran a kiosk in Braunschweig and had a 17-year-old girlfriend when he was in his 30s.
German prosecutors have described the suspect as a child sex predator.
He was convicted in Germany of sexually abusing two girls in Germany – one when he was just 17 – and of raping the 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz.
Brueckner entered her flat at night and tied her up before raping her and beating her with a weapon as he filmed the carefully planned attack in September 2005.
Last December, he was sentenced to seven years in a German prison after the attack went unsolved for almost 15 years.
Cologne-based Dr Benecke, 49, said: “His previous (convictions) point towards classic psychopathic crimes on the one hand, but it might also be more due to a possible drug habit.
“Of course, both or all three – drugs plus antisocial plus narcissistic traits – can mix.”
The age range of Brueckner’s victims – from young girls to a pensioner – “means it might be more about power than about a particular age group he likes sexually”, said Dr Benecke.
The expert added: “Some offenders even deny the sexual part and insist it was only about the ‘pure’ abuse, killing, stealing etc.
“For example, Samuel Little, a recent case from the US, said so.”
Little, now 80 and in prison, is the most prolific serial killer in US history, recently confessing to almost 100 murders that took place between 1970 and 2005.
Dr Benecke added: “Also, many offenders are not paedophiles but just use a person that may resist less since they, the offenders, are total weaklings.
“I had cases like this where the offenders really just picked kids because the kids could be convinced more easily to come with the offenders because the offenders were not actual paedophiles, just extremely soft, weak, unexperienced, ‘limp’ personalities, far away from psychopathy.”
Careful planning suggests Brueckner is most likely a narcissist – an “I am better than anybody else-type” who thinks “all others are idiots” – and antisocial, said Dr Benecke.
The antisocial traits reflect a person with a mindset of “I do not care about the needs of others, my needs are all that is of relevance”, he added.
How to get a confession?
Investigators face an uphill battle in trying to get any information from their suspect, who is in solitary confinement in jail to protect him from fellow inmates.
Brueckner’s lawyer has said the suspect will refuse to answer questions because German prosecutors must produce proof he was involved in Maddie’s disappearance.
Lawyer Friedrich Fulscher told the Mirror he asked Brueckner about the McCann case and his client “denied any involvement”.
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was just three years old when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz 13 years ago.
German prosecutors suspect she is dead, but have said they do not know where her body is and they do not have enough evidence to charge anyone with murder.
Dr Benecke said investigators will probably need to work Brueckner to make him feel as though he is the smartest person in the room and that he stands to gain something from speaking.
He added: “(Offenders) need the feeling of being more clever than anybody else and to get something out of it – higher status, money, deals, for example.
“Sometimes, they also cooperate – like Juergen Bartsch, Samuel Little and Luis Garavito, who even drew us a map with all the corpses – because the want to tell their story… in a proud manner that shows how ‘clever’ they are.
“Also, it is important to understand the true motives. True paedophile? True sexual reasons? Because, if not, they will consider the interviewer to be an idiot.”
Dr Benecke is the only forensic scientist to work on the case of Luis Garavito, one of the world’s worst serial killers.
Garavito, known as ‘The Beast’, admitted to raping, torturing and murdering almost 140 boys and teenagers in Colombia between 1992 and 1999.
Now 63 and in jail for life, he may have killed more than 300 children, luring many of them into his home after promising gifts or money.
He was sentenced to 1,853 years behind bars.
Serial killer Juergen Bartsch, another case cited by Dr Benecke, sexually abused, murdered and dismembered four boys, aged between eight and 13, in an abandoned air-raid shelter in West Germany.
He was only 15 when he murdered his first victim in 1962.
He was finally caught in 1966 when a fifth victim escaped.