Irish woman says Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brückner’s eyes ‘bored into my skull’

Irish woman says Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brückner’s eyes ‘bored into my skull’

An Irish woman who claims to have been raped at knifepoint by the main suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has said she feared for her life during the assault and that she could never forget the attacker, whose eyes “bored into my skull”.

Hazel Behan, 40, who was allegedly raped by Christian Brückner in 2004, detailed her traumatic experience in a German court on Thursday.

She described how her assailant, masked and dressed in black, tied her up, raped her and whipped her for hours, leaving her with enduring physical and psychological scars.

Brückner, 47, is accused of carrying out multiple sexual assaults in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

Ms Behan said she still carried the scars from the attack that took place in Praia da Rocha in the Algarve, where she was working as a holiday representative.

The Algarve is also where British girl Madeleine McCann, then aged three, disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in 2007.

Ms Behan told the court that she would never forget the attacker’s blue eyes. “I believe that this man was my attacker,” she said.

She described him as “very aggressive and hateful”.

“I knew his eyes, I know his eyes,” she said. “I see blue eyes every day. My son has blue eyes. I know the difference when you spend time in that situation and there’s nothing else you can see of this human other than their eyes, it’s the only thing to remember,” she added.

“They were boring into my skull, I will never forget them. They were just so blue. Everything else he had on was so dark, so it was like his eyes were lights. I just know them. He was very aggressive and hateful. He really didn’t like me. He was in control, he was in charge.”

Ms Behan chose to waive her right to anonymity when she approached investigators with her testimony in 2020, after a police appeal featuring Bruckner’s photo, which she claimed caused her severe distress due to the striking resemblance to her attacker.

Brückner, currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for the 2005 rape of an American woman in the Algarve, has denied all charges related to Ms Behan’s case and the McCann disappearance. He is scheduled for release at the end of next year.

The ongoing trial, which began in February and includes testimony from numerous witnesses and experts, is set to continue into the autumn​.