The adoptive parents of Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Bruckner had to kick him out because of his shocking behaviour, it was claimed last night.
People in the village where the convicted paedophile grew up told how kind Brigitte and Fritz Bruckner adopted him as a baby.
But shocking claims about the way Bruckner later threw their kindness back in their faces emerged last night.
The couple were said to have been forced to disown their son after he allegedly ran riot in Bergtheim, near Würzburg, and even had to send him to a special school.
Yesterday a clearly shaken Brigitte would only say: “I don’t know anything about it. I don’t want to know anything about it.”
Locals in the sleepy Bavarian village were shocked to hear that the troublesome youth they knew from the 90s has been linked to Madeleine’s disappearance and convicted of a string of vile crimes.
Many did not even know that he was in jail for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz in 2005 – two years before three-year-old Madeleine went missing.
They were particularly shocked that he is being accused of attacking people of all ages from children to pensioners.
A close friend of Brigitte’s family, Monica Veirheilig, said: “This will destroy Brigitte.”
Villagers said Brigitte and Fritz had been able to control their son until Fritz was seriously hurt in a car crash.The accident happened back in 1992 when Bruckner was in his early teens, and it changed the family’s lives forever.
One local said: “The Bruckners were a lovely couple, very kind. But what happened with their boy Christian is a catastrophe.
“They took him in as a baby and brought him up as their own.
“He was often in trouble and he got worse and worse as he grew into a teenager.
“Christian must have been 13 or 14 when Fritz had the car accident.
“As the man of the house, it was Fritz who disciplined the boy.
“Christian needed a firm hand. But after the accident he could not do that any more.
“Brigitte, the mother, did her best but she could not cope with the boy and look after her husband.
“Christian had been in trouble and that is when he was sent to a reform school for delinquent teenagers in Würzburg.”
The local added: “Sadly Fritz, the husband is dead now. But his wife Brigitte did everything she could for him.”
Another local mum who knew the family said Bruckner was a nasty troublemaker.
She said: “I knew Christian growing up. I was two years younger than him so I wasn’t that close to him but I knew him well because of his reputation. He was well-known in our area for getting into trouble.
“Everyone knew that he was a handful and was not easy for his parents.
“His parents are lovely people. They are very kind – they obviously must be because they adopted three boys. I was fully aware of the Madeleine McCann case, everyone is.
“I was horrified when I heard that the suspect is from a family that lives over the road from me.
“You never think something like this is going to come to your doorstep. It makes me feel so bad that he might be involved.
“I just hope for the poor parents of Madeleine that the case is resolved soon.”
Bruckner now has 19 entries in the German criminal register.
His first crime was a burglary committed in his local area at the age of 15 and two years later, aged 17, he was convicted of the sexual abuse of a child.
His criminal history includes sex offences, drink-driving, abusing a child and rape.
He is currently in a high security prison in Kiel and is technically eligible for parole from today after serving two thirds of a jail sentence for drug dealing.
After leaving Bergtheim in the 90s, Bruckner travelled across Europe and spent 12 years in Portugal before returning to Germany.
Locals were relieved to discover he didn’t return to his home village, but instead moved to the northern part of Germany, settling in Braunschweig.
They are now doing all they can to support Brigitte. Mrs Veirheilig added: “She is a kind woman. She has already had to deal with tragedy.
“She had to cope with looking after her husband after he suffered brain damage in the car crash and later, his death.
"But finding out her son is suspected of being a killer is a second tragedy for her.
“I hope Madeleine’s parents will finally find out the truth about what happened to her. The not-knowing must be the worst.”