A GERMAN sex offender at the heart of the Madeleine McCann probe is in jail for raping a 72-year-old American tourist, it's been reported.
The 43-year-old, who hasn't been named, is now a "significant" chief suspect in the three-year-old's disappearance following a vital breakthrough in 2017.
Last night German police revealed he was a burglar who abused young girls and was first investigated in 2013.
He has been revealed as a child sex offender who is currently in jail in Germany for drug offences by cops in the country.
And he is currently serving a seven-year jail term for raping a 72-year-old American tourist in 2005, according to a report by Braunschweig Zeitung.
He was convicted in Braunschweig district court last year for the offence in Praia da Luz, according to the newspaper.
The suspect has twice been charged with sex offences against young girls and is also a prolific burglar at hotels and holiday apartments, BKA crime director Christian Hoppe said.
He believes Madeleine may have been randomly targeted after her killer broke into her family’s apartment in Praia de Luz.
The officer also said the suspect could have had an accomplice who may know where Maddie’s body is.
The BKA is the federal investigative police agency of Germany.
When asked whether the attack was sexually motivated, Christian Hoppe, leading crime director at the Federal Crime Agency said: “We cannot rule that out.
“But it is also possible that the suspect, after an initial intention of burglary, spontaneously moved on to a sexual motive.”
He was also asked if the suspect could have had accomplices and replied: “We do not rule that out- besides the initial offender- there might be others who have known about the crime, the location of Maddie’s body or even participated in the crime.”
Mr Hoppe identified two houses in the Praia da Luz area where he said Maddie could have been taken after she was abducted.
The chief also said: “We think that she might have become the victim of a homicide.”
The man was living in Portugal between 1995 and 2007 and worked part-time in the food industry.
He was known to them at the time for drug offences and has twice been charged with sex offences.
According to the BKA, further indications suggest that he also makes his living by committing crimes, including burglary theft in hotel complexes and holiday apartments as well as drug trafficking.
While living in Portugal, the suspect lived in a dilapidated old farm building two miles from the holiday apartment, Sky News reports.
One neighbour said he rented the home from an English owner in the 90s and was "always a bit angry" before he vanished in 2006 "without a word".
The local added: "About six months later I was asked to help clean up the place and it was disgusting, absolutely vile. It had been trashed, with broken stuff like computers all over the place.
"We found a bin bag and inside were wigs and exotic clothing, whether just fancy dress or something stranger I couldn't tell."
German cops are treating Maddie’s disappearance as a murder inquiry – though the Met are still investigating the case as a missing person inquiry.
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