THE prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann mystery slipped through the hands of Portuguese detectives TWICE, reveals a new report.

Court documents suggest Christian B covered up his paedophile past when arrested in Portugal on a minor charge a year before the youngster vanished.

Sky News reports legal paperwork from his conviction for fuel theft in 2006 reveals he didn't declare his twisted criminal history.

Asked by a judge in a Portimao court to list his previous crimes, he admitted to a conviction for sex abuse but didn't reveal his victim was a young girl.

The court stenographer simply recorded: "When he was 17 years old he was convicted in Germany for burglaries and sex crimes."

Serafim Vieira, the lawyer who defended him, said: "He didn't tell the judge it was a paedophile crime and the judge was not obliged to ask for the German police files or investigate it.

"The crime was more than ten years earlier and had no bearing on the theft crime he had just admitted."

Failing to declare his history meant he was not registered as a paedophile and was not among known sex offenders later questioned as potential suspects in the wake of Madeleine's disappearance.

Christian B was kept behind bars on remand for eight months before being fined along with a friend for stealing 300 litres of diesel.

Five months after he was released, Madeleine vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

A decade later it is suggested he slipped through the net once more after allegedly exposing himself to young girls in a playground in Portugal.

The 43-year-old was caught with his trousers down under a slide in San Bartolomeu de Messines, 40 miles from Praia da Luz.

Police were called and arrested him in June 2017 because he was drunk and refused to identify himself, said Nelia Bras the mother of one of the girls.

She claimed she was later told he wasn't charged but instead was sent to Germany where he served an outstanding jail sentence.

As he was deportedPortuguese cops did not identify him as a potential suspect for the abduction of Madeleine.

Earlier we reported how police in Portugal have "launched searches" for Madeleine’s body in wells on the Algarve.

The hunt is said to have been conducted in Vila do Bispo, a short drive from Praia da Luz where the British youngster vanished aged three, in May 2007.

Portuguese state broadcaster RTP is saying detectives discovered “fundamental evidence” to be able to prove suspect Christian B is responsible for her disappearance.

Firefighters had also been called in to help with the search with reports saying they were ''looking for a body''.

The broadcaster has also linked the German 43-year-old to another missing persons’ case in the Algarve resort of Silves.

More details are expected to be revealed later.

RTP reporter Sandra Felgueiras last week revealed Christian B had been arrested on suspicion of exposing himself to children in a playground a short drive from Praia da Luz in 2017 when he was on the run from German authorities.

She also quizzed a couple the convicted paedophile used to live with in Portugal who claimed a Scotland Yard neighbour had been helping Algarve investigators probe Madeleine’s disappearance.

There was no immediate official response from Portuguese police to the RTP well search claims.

Last month, we reported how cops were poised to dig up land around two Portuguese lairs where Christian B lived near Praia da Luz.

One home, a farmhouse, is just 25 minutes' walk from the hotel where the Madeleine went missing 13 years ago. 

The single-storey farmhouse property is littered with abandoned wells and sits on a hillside with a footpath to the beach where the three-year-old played.

Portuguese police were said to be considering searching the abandoned wells near the farmhouse, which was rented by Christian B.

According to Portuguese newspaper Sol, the Judicial Police (PJ) has looked at the possibility Madeleine's body could be in the wells.

But at that point Portuguese cops hadn't received a request from German authorities to search places frequented by Christian B, it was reported.

After the recent appeal which led to Christian B being identified as a suspect, cops were said to be on standby to search areas German prosecutors pinpointed as possible burial sites once they had extra information.

In June 2014, Scotland Yard detectives backed by a team of sniffer dogs excavated scrubland around 300 yards from the farmhouse building, but unearthed no clues.

The beauty spot is also well known to Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who regularly jogged around Black Rock after launching their hunt for their daughter in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

A Portuguese source said in June: “Judicial Police have confirmed they have been approached by German authorities in connection with the case and they will undoubtedly be prepared to carry out fresh searches in the hope of giving the McCanns closure.

“The obvious focus would be around the hillside former farm building and another property nearby with links to him.”

Earlier this week reported on claims cops investigating Madeleine's disappearance failed to probe a crucial phone call connected to suspect Christian B.

Jim Gamble, who was a senior child protection officer during the UK's initial McCann probe, alleged they missed their “golden hour” by not examining the phone data. 

He said: “The information about what telephone was there at a particular time in connection with another number… was captured, but it had never been properly interrogated.

"So that data hadn't been analysed. 

“They lost the golden hour, they lost the early hours in the investigation.”

In 2010, Gamble published a report into the case which had been commissioned by then Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

After this the Metropolitan Police to re-opened their own investigation because of alleged failings from Portuguese detectives.

One recommendation Mr Gamble made was to re-examine a “cell dump” which was a vast backlog of phone data collected from towers.

German investigators claim they have traced the phone used by their prime suspect and found it connected to the mast owned by the resort complex where the McCanns were staying.

Hans Christian Wolters, the chief prosecutor in the case, said this has allowed them to place Christian B at the scene around the time Madeleine was taken.

The phone call has been a central part of the renewed police probe since the twice convicted paedophile was named as a key suspect earlier this month.

Wolters has previously written to the parents of Madeleine telling them he has "concrete evidence" she is dead.

He said in a letter to Kate and Gerry that he has no doubt their daughter is dead, but he refused to tell them why.

He told them that to reveal the evidence would jeopardise his investigation into the German suspect known as Christian B.

The serial offender is currently in jail in his homeland for unrelated offences.

The suspect's lawyer Friedrich Fulscher said in June he ‘denies any involvement’ in Madeleine’s disappearance.

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