Madeleine McCann’s suspect Christian Brueckner lost his application for release from prison in Germany today.
The 43-year-old’s lawyers had argued that the European arrest warrant protocols had been violated, which meant that he had qualified for release.
But this morning that claim was rejected by judges from the European Court of Justice, who ordered him to stay behind bars.
He was arrested in Italy in 2018 and is currently serving a 21-month sentence for drug trafficking.
In December he was convicted of raping a 72-year-old woman in Portugal and sentenced to seven years in prison – a conviction is on appeal.
Brueckner, who denies having anything to do with Madeleine’s disappearance, has served two-thirds of his sentence.
Brueckner was named as the prime suspect for Madeleine’s disappearance earlier this year.
According to court files referring to Brueckner as XC, he was extradited from Portugal in June 2017 for sexually abusing a minor and was still on parole in the Netherlands and Italy after his release.
He was extradited from Italy to Germany in October 2018 on an arrest warrant for drug trafficking before being tried and convicted of rape and extortion in December last year.
The focus of the ECJ was on the question of whether the German authorities needed the consent of Portugal to initiate rape proceedings because of the extradition in 2017.
Police said the drifter’s cell phone records took him to the Portuguese seaside resort of Praia da Luz the night she went missing in 2007. She was almost four years old at the time.
The German attorney general Hans Christian Wolters has said that there is “material evidence” that she is dead.
Brueckner had previously been convicted on a number of charges, including possession of sex pictures of children and rape of a pensioner.
Madeleine’s parents refuse to believe their daughter is dead, despite prosecutors saying she “couldn’t be alive”.
Kate and Gerry won’t give up hope until a body is found, said a family friend.
Investigators in Germany believe Madeleine was murdered, with convicted pedophile Christian Brueckner identified as the prime suspect.
And last week, the head of the investigation, Hans Christian Wolters, said: “Everything indicates that she is dead.”
It left the McCanns in a “state of limbo,” but they remain confident that their daughter, who was three years old when she disappeared in May 2007, will turn out to be alive.
A buddy said the sun: “Until a body is found and it turns out that it belongs to Madeleine, Kate and Gerry don’t give up hope.
“These latest theories about” She is dead, but there is no body “have been repeated for the past three and a half months, but in all that time there does not seem to be any significant development.
“It leaves Kate and Gerry breathless and in a state of limbo, not knowing if there will be a breakthrough or if German officers could unfortunately be wrong. It was another extremely difficult time for them.”
The Met Police are still treating Madeleine’s disappearance as an investigation into a missing person.