The lawyer for the suspect in the Madeleine McCann case believes the main witness against him is a criminal who swapped information for police favours.
Friedrich Fulscher said the informant who claimed suspect Christian B confessed his guilt to him may have done so purely to get help.
The witness is thought to have told detectives that Christian B, a German drifter, told him in a bar that he knew what had happened to Madeleine, who vanished from a Portuguese holiday apartment in 2007.
Mr Fulscher believes the informant may later, in return, have got early release from a sentence he was serving in a foreign country.
Mr Fulscher told Sky News: “If this is the same person, I think it’s the worst witness you can get. A human who has spent his whole life cheating people for his own benefit is never a reliable witness.”
Christian B, who cannot be fully identified under German privacy law, is the target of a German prosecutor who has said he believes he abducted and killed Madeleine, but he hasn’t got enough evidence to charge him.
The prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said this week that he would not let the investigation drift on and would announce any decision to drop it.
Mr Fulscher said such a development would be too late to restore Christian B’s reputation, as many people would always consider him responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance.
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