The prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance had a burglary tool that allowed him to unlock any security door, a key witness claims.
Christian B boasted about the tools to a friend, casting new doubts on the official theory that Maddie’s kidnapper got in through a window of apartment 5a in Praia da Luz.
German police are said to be ‘electrified’ by the discovery of the lockpick set – and are also looking into the possibility Christian B used car paint solvent to calm Maddie.
In an exclusive interview from a secret location, Helge B – now in German police witness protection – told The Sun of filmmaker Jutta Rabe on Sunday: “He came through the door.”
German prosecutors are hoping to use the evidence from the Dietrich to arrest Christian B., who is in prison on drug charges and is appealing a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman.
Helge B, 52, who met his German compatriot aged three a year before Maddie’s disappearance, said he found the set at Christian B’s home in the Algarve.
The petty criminal had decided to search it with his friend Manfred Seyferth after learning that Christian B was in prison for theft.
He said: “I knew from Christian that he used tools to break into holiday resorts, hotels and holiday homes in order to steal from tourists.”
“There were passports on the table. There were all sorts of things lying around – cameras, suitcases, everything that tourists carry with them. I also found a lockpick set.”
Helge B, who kept the set and told German police about it, added: “You can pick any lock with it, including security locks.”
The 14 picks seen by The Sun on Sunday are black stainless steel.
Each is designed for a specific type of door.
They are made by ‘Dino’, who claim the curved design ‘ensures quick and easier access to the most restrictive European keyways’.
Police in Portugal have always said that the man who kidnapped Maddie broke through the window and either walked her through a door or climbed out again.
It was reported that the apartment’s metal shutters were rolled all the way up and a curtain was flapping after little Maddie left.
But when asked how Christian B got into the McCanns’ holiday home, Helge B replied: “Through the door. Light. He can open any door.”
Insiders familiar with the German police investigation that opened when Helge B gave investigators Christian B’s name in 2017, said police believe the window theory is a “red herring”.
A police source said: “German investigators were electrified when they discovered the tool kit with the lockpicks inside. This evidence is very important to them now.
“It confirmed a long-standing suspicion that Christian B. entered the apartment through the door.”
Police believe the front door was less likely to be seen by the passing public as it is in a recessed area on the opposite side of the apartment overlooking a swimming pool and restaurant.
It is understood police were also told that Christian B, as a mechanic, had access to car paint solvents.
Investigators are now investigating the theory that he used it to knock Madeleine unconscious before opening the window from the inside to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters named Christian B. the prime suspect in the Madeleine case in June 2020 and said he had evidence she had been murdered.
Helge B claims he has since been pressured into withdrawing his statements by Christian B’s lawyers and has been forced into witness protection for the past four years.
He said: “I immediately contacted the federal police in Germany and they told me to pack some clothes, don’t let me be followed, take the next ferry and go to Italy and they would come and take care of me.”
“Witness guards picked me up. They took me to different safe houses and finally to an apartment. I don’t live there now. I had to change location again.”
“She didn’t scream”
His revelations came after he spoke to German tabloid Bild this week and claimed Christian B appeared to have confessed to kidnapping Maddie, telling him after a few drinks: “She didn’t scream.”
Just a year after her disappearance, he snapped the shot at the Kite Festival in the southern Spanish mountain town of Orgiva.
The illegal festival was known for its techno music, drinking and drug use.
Christian B. apparently arrived there with an American mobile home in which he had lived and used between 2007 and early 2008.
Helge B claims it wasn’t the Tiffin Allegro van that police seized a few years ago in Neuwegersleben – a German village where Christian B had weekend quarters.
Instead, he insisted the vehicle was a Winnebago.
Helge B believes the police could potentially find traces of Madeleine’s DNA in it if they could trace it back.
He said: “Christian B pulled up in an American motor home, a Winnebago, and everyone was just amazed. I have only seen this Allegro in photos taken by the police as it was confiscated from the Neuwegersleben compound, but it was not the same as what I saw.”
Several girls’ swimsuits were found inside the 30-foot red and white Allegro RV Christian B, which was traveling between Portugal and Germany.
Police officers found the clothing after confiscating the RV as part of a further investigation.
Neighbors had complained about an odor coming from the yard, where USB sticks and other digital media containing more than a hundred films and photos of B, who was alleged to have abused children, were buried in the ground.
When asked if he advised his former boyfriend to tell the truth, Helge B replied: “Yes, but he never will.”
“He’s too stubborn for that. He assumes they can’t prove anything.”
Addressing Christian B directly, he added: “I know what you did and another witness knows too.”
“Well, admit it – you owe it to the girl’s parents. Enough with the rumours, lies and whining.”
- Jutta Rabe is a journalist and filmmaker, including for the German television station SAT.1.