Investigators looking into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann believe they are “100 per cent” certain she was killed by a man they already have in custody.
German prosecutors say they have enough evidence to charge convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner.
Hans Christian Wolters, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said:
“We’re confident we have the man who took and killed her.
“It is now possible that we could charge.
“We have that evidence now.”
Brueckner, 44, is currently serving seven years in a German prison for raping a pensioner in Prai da Luz.
Madeleine disappeared from the same resort in 2007 – just days from her fourth birthday.
Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann, from Leicestershire, say they “hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again”.
Mr Wolters said:
“It’s not just about charging him [Brueckner] – we want to charge him with the best body of evidence possible.
“When we still have questions, it would be nonsense to charge rather than wait for the answers that could strengthen our position.
“That’s why we said we’ll investigate as long as there are leads or information for us to pursue.
“I’m not saying that what we have is insufficient now.
“But he’s in prison, so we don’t have this pressure on us.
“We have time on our hands.”
In a direct message to the McCanns, Mr Wolters said:
“We are confident we have the man who took and killed your daughter.
“All I can do is ask for your patience.
“I personally think a conclusion will be reached next year.
“We have no body and no DNA, but we have other evidence.
“Based on the evidence we have; it leads to no other conclusion.
“I can’t tell you on which basis we assume she is dead.
“But for us, there’s no other possibility.
“There is no hope she is alive.”