A crucial third vehicle that could help solve the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been linked to suspect Christian Brueckner.
His British ex girlfriend says the German paedophile was driving the battered Volkswagen estate around the time the three-year-old vanished.
Detectives investigating Brueckner’s potential involvement released images of two vehicles linked to him – a black Jaguar and a two-tone camper van.
But now his ex has sensationally revealed he owned a third car, details of which have never been made public.
The woman, from Berkshire, said he began driving the estate in mid-2005, two years before Madeleine disappeared.
He also owned the black Jaguar at this time but had not yet bought the camper van featured in police photographs.
His ex has been interviewed about the vehicles Brueckner was driving, but is unsure if she mentioned the VW estate to cops.
Police in Germany have not disclosed if Madeleine’s DNA has been discovered in Brueckner’s camper van or Jaguar.
But with German prosecutors saying they do not currently have enough evidence to charge him, the suggestion is they have not found any.
The undiscovered VW estate, therefore, if traced, could potentially hold the clues to finally crack the case.
His ex, a British mum aged 45, who we have agreed not to name, has given detectives crucial leads about their main suspect.
They include details of his associates in the Algarve and Germany, the layout of his home in Praia da Luz, and remote beaches that he took her to.
We revealed yesterday how she dated the German for nearly a year during 2004 and 2005, when they both worked in the same bar in Lagos in the Algarve.
She told how he broke into her flat through a window and hid under her bed, hours after he brutally attacked her in a jealous rage when she innocently hugged another man.
Brueckner allegedly repeatedly slammed her head against a wall in the toilets of the bar where she worked.
The woman now believes that Brueckner, who is in prison in Germany, could be responsible for the abduction of Madeleine in Praia da Luz in 2007.
She revealed details of the third vehicle owned by Brueckner in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror.
She said: “Towards the end of our relationship he had another car as well as the Jaguar.
“I haven’t seen that mentioned anywhere. It was a Volkswagen. I don’t remember the model. It was a dirty, yellowy, mustardy kind of colour.
“It was an old one and was long. I heard he still had it around the time Madeleine disappeared, along with the Jaguar.
“I think I told the Portuguese police all about the cars, but I can’t be sure about the estate.
“When I spoke to the Portuguese police I tried to help as much as I could, but Portuguese isn’t my first language.
“I’d be happy to talk to British police about it – maybe it could help their case and solve what happened to Madeleine?
“Chris loved his cars, especially his Jaguar. It was his pride and joy. It was very clean and he drove it carefully.”
Portuguese detectives have quizzed the woman about Brueckner’s farmhouse on the outskirts of Praia da Luz.
She spent many nights with him in the run-down property, less than a mile from the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine vanished from while on holiday with her family in May 2007.
She said: “I never lived with him but I often stayed over though. His house was okay, it was old but he kept it tidy and clean. It had one bedroom. I’ve seen the photos and instantly recognised the big tree trunk in the middle of the room.”
The woman also told police how she and her pals suspected Brueckner of burgling homes and businesses in the area.
She said: “He was always bringing expensive things back to the house. Computers, cameras, things like that. I didn’t ask where he got them from. I remember my friend and I wondering if they were stolen.
“We said we think he might be involved in some illegal business because he seems to have money but we don’t know where it comes from.
“Maybe selling stolen property, nothing too big. He also used to collect golf balls because his property was near the golf course and then sell them to the players.”
The woman is still living in fear that Brueckner will be released and come after her.
She said: “He came to Portugal with a German girl. He said they grew up in a children’s home together. She left him for someone else. He said to me once that if he ever found her he would kill her.
“It made me think, if he said that about her, what would he do to me if I left him?’
“He said he grew up in the children’s home. He said he had a sad childhood.
“He used to hang around with a girl from the hippy village, Barao de Sao Joao [in Lagos], who sold flowers. I don’t have any photos of him. I used to, but I hated him so much because of what he did to me – I destroyed everything.
“It’s scary and weird to be embroiled in this case now. It scares me because he was obviously into things that I had no idea about. I have a quiet life here.
“I start to imagine what if he knows people, criminals, who could hurt me. I worry and overthink, what if he comes after me? That’s my fear and that’s why I don’t want my identity revealed.
“I just want to protect my family.”