Maddie is dead: German prosecutors tell McCanns by letter
London - German prosecutors have written to Madeleine McCann’s parents to tell them she is dead.
They refused to disclose how they knew, insisting that any further information could jeopardise the inquiry into suspect Christian Brueckner.
Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the case, on Monday said he could not share key evidence with Scotland Yard officers or police in Portugal.
"I sympathise with the parents but if we reveal more details to them it might jeopardise the investigation," he said.
"We have concrete evidence that our suspect has killed Madeleine and this means she is dead. The parents have been told the German police have evidence that she is dead but we have not told them the details."
He said that Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter vanished on an Algarve holiday in 2007, had not responded to the letter.
"We of course really consider the fact that it is going to be very hard for the family when we tell them that we assume Madeleine is dead," he added.
"But we can’t say why she is dead – it is more important that we are successful and we are able to get the culprit as opposed to just putting our cards on the table and telling them why we think she might be. This is a murder case not a missing persons case. We have been quite clear throughout we are investigating a murder and we have the evidence for that.
"We can understand the pain of the parents – and they want relief – but it is better for them that we have a clear and successful conclusion to the case.
"To reveal too many details too early would hamper ongoing investigations.
"In Germany we are very reserved, I am not sure how it is in the UK, we keep everything to ourselves until we press charges."
Rogerio Alves, a lawyer who represents the McCanns in Portugal, has been putting pressure on German investigators to reveal what evidence they have and demanded to know "what is being done to solve the case".
He accused the three police forces involved in the probe of "keeping information for themselves" and called on them to be more transparent toward the family. Mr Alves is hoping Portuguese detectives will tell him what evidence they have to ‘support the reopening of the file here".
He said: "I want to find out if there are new leads for them to chase. I want to know what is being done. I intend to get answers on these matters this week.
"I don’t know how strong the new evidence is so I don’t know what the Portuguese prosecutor is going to do."
According to Portuguese law, if the prosecutor has new information about a crime then the case should be reopened, he said.
Mr Alves described last week as a "lost week" in the quest for justice for Madeleine’s parents. He was deeply critical of the infighting between the Germans and the Portuguese and called on them to "stop the war of words".
"What I hope is that everybody helps to find the truth instead of hiding information, or keeping information for themselves," he said. "This is not a competition between the police departments. We all have to go forwards to find the truth.
"Madeleine’s parents don’t want to know which police force thinks it is doing the best. They do not want a war of words.
"It is no use – this is a waste of time. All the police should be doing is trying to solve the case. I want to see full cooperation between the police forces."
Scotland Yard and German police have received more than 1,000 calls since sex offender Brueckner, 43, was identified as a suspect in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia da Luz in May 2007.
They believe the German drifter burgled holiday homes in the Algarve and on some occasions sexually assaulted women and girls inside the properties.
Public appeals for information have featured Brueckner’s former farmhouse and another property in which he stayed, as well as a VW campervan and Jaguar car he owned. Detectives are also trying to find the person who phoned him an hour before Madeleine disappeared, shortly before her fourth birthday.
Police say that Brueckner received the call near the McCanns’ holiday apartment in the Ocean Club complex.
Mr Wolters played down the significance of the Jaguar despite Scotland Yard appealing for information about it.
He said the car was in Germany when Madeleine went missing and information about it was released only to jog memories. "The vehicles are not of direct interest for the Madeleine case," he said.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: "The McCanns simply will not comment on private correspondence, be that from the prosecutor, the police or indeed anyone else. Nor will they be giving a running commentary on their liaisons with the German authorities as the investigation moves forward."
Detectives from Operation Grange – the £12million Scotland Yard probe into Madeleine’s disappearance – insist it remains a missing person’s inquiry.