The new suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is being investigated over the disappearance of a five-year-old girl in Germany.

The 43-year-old German national, who is a convicted child sex offender currently in prison in his home country, has been named in reports as Christian Brueckner.

German prosecutors believe Madeleine is dead after she vanished from an apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 2007, while on holiday with her family, and are investigating the suspect for her murder.

A preliminary investigation has also been opened into whether the suspect is linked to the 2015 disappearance of a five-year-old girl in Germany, prosecutors in the northern town of Stendal told the dpa news agency.

Inga Gehricke vanished from a nearby forest in Saxony-Anhalt on May 2 2015.

The suspect, who has been partially identified as Christian B by local media due to the country’s strict rules on the naming of criminals, reportedly had a property in the town of Neuwegersleben, around 60 miles south-west of Stendal when she went missing.

It comes after claims, originally reported by Sky News, that the suspect confessed to his part in Madeleine’s disappearance to a friend as they watched a TV news report on the case in a German bar on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance.

Scotland Yard said his name was already known to its investigation, but he did not become a suspect until after information was received as a “direct consequence” of a 2017 appeal.

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