Madeleine McCann Police Find Hidden Cellar During Allotment Search

by : Emily Brown on :
Madeleine McCann Police Find Hidden Cellar During Allotment SearchPA Images

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann discovered a hidden cellar during the search of an allotment. 

The basement was found in the foundations of a structure in the garden in Seelze, near Hannover in Germany, where suspect Christian Brueckner allegedly lived in 2007.


Neighbours in the area say the wooden shed above the basement was demolished in late 2007 or 2008, shortly after Brueckner left the area and months after Maddie went missing from the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region in May 2007.

Maddie McCannPA

A two-day search of the vegetable garden saw investigators scour the area and remove slabs of building material in an effort to find evidence. Police were accompanied by specialist search dogs trained to look for dead bodies and computer equipment.

Wolfgang Kossack, 73, owns the plot next to Brueckner’s former allotment and told the MailOnline the suspect had lived ‘off-grid’ at the site during 2007.

Maddie McCannPA Images

Kossack said he only made the connection to Brueckner this week when police started digging up the allotment, and recalled how Brueckner spoke about planning his return to southern Europe.

Kossack commented:

I remembered his face from the pictures in the news. And I remember his van and his dogs. I had completely forgotten about him up until then.

He arrived in 2007 and left within a year. He told me that he was living off the grid, that he had not registered with the authorities – no one knew he was there.

He never did any gardening. He did not plant anything or try to grow anything. He just sat around drinking beer.


According to Kossack, the wooden shed consisted of a kitchen and one room to store tools. He said it ‘was not really a house’, but that it had a cellar underneath.

Police searching allotmentPA Images

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Kossack claimed Brueckner had a Volkswagen Transporter van that he parked next to the allotment and lived in while staying at the site.

He continued:


Sometimes a young woman would be there with him. She seemed to be his girlfriend. He had two dogs – a big one and a small one – who were quite annoying. They would come into my garden to do their business.

Brueckner said he preferred southern Europe because he liked the warm weather and said he would go back there. He did not say which country.

Police began investigating Brueckner as a new suspect in Maddie’s case earlier this year. He is currently in jail in northern Germany for an unrelated crime.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Germany, investigation, Madeleine McCann, Now, portugal


Mail Online
  1. Mail Online

    Madeleine McCann police find cellar on suspect's allotment: Basement is below foundations of building that was demolished shortly after Christian Brueckner stopped living on the site in 2007