Christian Brueckner's lawyer Friedrich Fulscher has always maintained the case built against his client was a sham

Time’s up for Met’s 11-year Maddie probe

Over €15 million spent: “fears are prime suspect won’t be charged”

Operation Grange, the 11-year Metropolitan police investigation into the disappearance in Portugal in 2007 of British toddler Madeleine McCann appears to be drawing to a close.

UK tabloids have said as much today, not giving an exact date – just some time “later this year”.

The Sun suggests “fears grow (that the) prime suspect WON’T be charged”; the Mail is more contained, admitting only to British detectives being “frustrated” by the “lack of movement in the German case against prime suspect Christian Brueckner”, which essentially announced to the world almost two years ago that he was guilty without producing a shred of evidence.

The truth is there has always been huge skepticism over the official investigations, whether British or German.

Former Metropolitan police Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, once touted to lead Grange, told reporters back in 2017 that he had received a “tip off from a very senior Metropolitan police officer” warning him how the investigation would be handled.

“The insider told Sutton, who served 30 years with London’s Met before retiring in 2011, that the dozens of murder detectives assigned to Operation Grange would be instructed where they could and couldn’t look”, said Australian journalist Mark Saunokonoko.

In other words, the remit would be “narrow”, focusing only on the theory that Madeleine had been abducted.

As other investigators who have devoted enormous amounts of time and energy on this mystery over the last 14-plus have also commented: “abduction by a predatory pedophile is only one of the possibilities, although universally recognised as the most unlikely one”.

Thus Operation Grange has spent the equivalent of €15 million (or £13 million) failing to answer the one crucial question: “What happened to Madeleine McCann?”

According to a former British police superintendent, Grange followed the same fated steps as another deeply-flawed and ultimately embarrassing police investigation, Operation Midland, in that it believed (presumably still believes) only in ‘the conclusion’ ‘looking for the evidence to support it’ (which it hasn’t found…)

Whatever the reality, amateur sleuths who have been pushing for a ‘proper investigation’ for years, will simply be reiterating their requests for such if/ when Grange is finally mothballed.

But as one quipped today: “In the middle of a World War, with a resurgence of Covid, an energy crisis, hyperinflation, and hyper cost-of-living increases it may not be quite the right time to expect anyone to even open the envelope before they put it on the wood burning stove in the corner of the office trying to keep warm…”

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com