Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B dramatically cleared of 1996 rape and murder of 11-year-old Claudia Ruf

THE prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been cleared of involvement in the rape and murder of another young girl.

Christian B had been a suspect in the 1996 killing of Claudia Ruf, 11, whose partly burned body was found 40 miles from the German town of Grevenbroich.

She had been kidnapped while walking a neighbour's dog.

Cops investigating a potential link to Christian B today confirmed DNA tests have ruled him out as a suspect in Claudia's murder.

At the beginning of the investigation, Robert Scholten, first police chief commissioner at Bonn police station made clear there was "no concrete evidence" Christian B was involved but said he was a suspect regardless.

However an update today confirmed he couldn't have been Claudia's killer.

"After comparing the information obtained, it can be said that Christian B was not in Grevenbroich at the time of the crime in the case of Claudia Ruf," a police spokesman today told Bild.

"In addition, a DNA comparison is said to have been negative."

Last year, police in Grevenbroich started DNA tests on hundreds of men as they hoped for a breakthrough in the unsolved murder investigation.

It will probably take until the end of 2020 to complete the DNA screening with approximately 2400 samples, Bild reports.

Last week police searched Christian B's secret allotment cellar looking for evidence of Madeleine's murder rather than her abduction, according to Bild's Editor in Chief, Julian Reichelt.

Cops excavated an allotment known to have been used by the alleged killer, and are understood to be planning a search of a second.

Convicted sex offender Christian B, 43, was named by police as the prime suspect in the Madeleine case last month.

He is known to have been living in the Praia de Luz resort around the time of her disappearance in 2007.

Neighbours at two allotments he later used in Hanover and nearby at Braunschweig described a pattern of strange behaviour, including living on site and carrying out construction work.

Police spent three days using diggers, sniffer dogs and underground radar to excavate the Hanover plot and are reported to have uncovered an underground cellar.

Prosecutors have not yet confirmed whether they intend to search the Braunschweig site.

Prosecutors have previously said they have evidence Madeleine is dead and even of how she was killed, though they haven't disclosed what it is.

Christian B's lawyer said that the convicted rapist and child abuser would not co-operate with police in their investigation.

"Before our client starts to co-operate with the prosecutor's office, you could order holy water as a long drink in hell," Friedrich Fulscher reportedly told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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