Cops reopen probe into rape of Irish woman, 37, in Portugal after claims against Madeleine McCann suspect

COPS have reopened their investigation into the rape of an Irish woman in Portugal after she claimed her attacker could have been Madeleine McCann’s main suspect.

Hazel Behan, 37, was gagged and raped in her Algarve apartment in 2004 but the culprit was never caught – and she now fears the man may have been convicted rapist Christian B.


The German suspect was found guilty of a similar rape a year after Ms Behan was attacked and two years before Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz.

Detectives in Portugal have now collected archived case files to see if they can build a case against Christian B.

However, vital forensic evidence with potential DNA on it was destroyed following orders from a judge in the original case.

A source told Sky News: “Detectives are looking again for new evidence and the investigation is reopened.”

CASE REOPENED

Ms Behan, from Ireland, was working in Praia da Rocha – just a 30-minute drive from where Madeleine vanished – when she was attacked.

The victim, who waived her anonymity to the Guardian, fears Christian B could be her attacker as her ordeal bears chilling similarities to the German's 2005 rape on a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz.

Ms Behan told the newspaper: "My mind was blown when I read how he had attacked a woman in 2005, both the tactics and the methods he used, the tools he had with him, how well he had planned it out.

“I puked, to be honest with you, as reading about it took me right back to my experience."

He bound, gagged and tortured Ms Behan during the sex attack and she told police: “I feared I was going to die.”

Ms Behan said she had gone to bed in her apartment in the Portuguese town when she was chillingly awoken at 1am by someone calling her name.

Detectives are looking again for new evidence and the investigation is reopened."

She added: "I turned on to my back and standing there was a masked man dressed in tights and what resembled a leotard, a machete around 12in long in his hand."

The rapist set up a video camera in the room and told Ms Behan not to scream as he dragged her into the living room and tied her to a counter-top.

He then produced a bag of whips and chains and used scissors to remove her clothing before gagging her with a cloth and raping her.

Ms Behan said she was repeatedly raped for up to five hours before the attacker threatened her with a machete when she refused to perform a sex act on him.

She added: "I was convinced he was going to kill me, and I threatened to scream and said I would not go in there.

"My hands were still tied behind my back and he leaned me over a small bench and put a sheet over my head. I thought that was it, my life was over.

GAGGED AND RAPED

“But underneath the sheet I watched as he backed out of the door, put on his shoes and ran away down the street.”

Ms Behan rang cops and was examined by police and at a local hospital – although she is not sure forensic evidence was taken.

The victim also doesn't believe her room was swept for evidence thoroughly and was left with "little hope" the attacker would be found.

She said the fiend spoke English with a German accent and was around 6ft 1ins. He wore a mask covering his head but Hazel could see his "piercing blue eyes" through the darkness.

Ms Behan, who is now married with two kids, spoke to the Met Police, who told her they would speak with cops in Portugal.

Scotland Yard officers will work with Portuguese and German colleagues in a bid to solve her case.

Christian B was jailed for seven years last December for raping the American tourist.

He is currently serving a sentence for drug offences in a German jail, having appealed against the rape conviction.

Prosecutors in Germany say they have "evidence" Madeleine was killed after she vanished in 2007 but not enough to charge suspect Christian B.

Christian B was named as the prime suspect in Madeleine's disappearance with prosecutors in Germany investigating him "on suspicion of murder".

We are now able to show his picture in full in the UK after it was published in a German newspaper – as cops in both countries appeal for anyone who knows him to come forward.




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