GERMAN cops have been warned their case against the main suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance could fail because of their “bulls***” witness.
Investigators’ overreliance on “tainted” evidence from key witness could destroy their fight for justice, insiders claim.
A damning statement from Helge B – an old friend of Christian B, 45, the main suspect in the case – has become a cornerstone of the German-led campaignInvestigation.
However, a source close to the Portuguese police told The Sun that German cops are “bluffing” when they say the testimony of key witness Helge B, 48, is “just part of the puzzle.”
Instead, they claimed the case relied too heavily on its evidence, which was “so tainted” that it would harm the investigation.
The source argued that Helge B should be asked to take a lie detector test to determine whether his claims to Christian B are actually true.
They added: “This would be cleared up once and for all if his evidence can be believed.”
Last week the police case appeared to be on the verge of collapse when sources close to the investigation revealed that Helge B was “wavering” and threatening to stop his help.
A German source told The Sun: “It is said that Helge B is about to withdraw his statement.
“He was paid a huge sum for repeating his statement in a German newspaper and now he is pulling the plug.
“It just shows you what kind of people you’re dealing with – and how credible they are as witnesses.”
As other sources told The Sun, German officials had long ago been warned about Helge B’s “flakyness” and even referred to the key witness as a “Helge bulls****er.”
He said: “Helge B is someone the Portuguese officials have known for a very long time. But he was long ago dismissed as a credible witness.
“He was always seen as a Walter Mitty character who talked ‘BS’ all the time, hence the nickname.”
“They warned the Germans that he was a bit imaginative and that he was ‘unreliable’ and how he would say what they wanted to hear. But for some reason the German detectives clung to him.”
“They based almost their entire case on his testimony, even though they were warned that he could not be trusted. Now that he wants to back down, their credibility is completely destroyed.”
In a revealing interview in June, Helge B also claimed he tipped off Scotland Yard about his former friend in 2009, but said: “I was never called back.”
The search for Madeleine’s murderer has now been going on for 16 years and there are fears that Helge B’s threats to withdraw evidence could derail the long fight for justice.
It could be the final blow in the hesitant attempt to get Christian B to do soon suspicion of the kidnapping and murder of three-year-old Madeleine in Portugal in 2007.
The move would be another cruel setback for McCann parents Gerry and Kate, both 55, from Rothley, Leicester.
German Helge B was a criminal buddy of drifter Christian B when the pair were living in the Algarve when Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.
He told police that he was shocked by Christian B’s allegedly dark confession when the two met at a music festival ina short time after the toddler disappeared.
While the couple discussed the case over a beer, Christian B is said to have coolly admitted: “She didn’t scream.”
The convicted rapist and child abuser clearly indicated that he had kidnapped Madeleine, Helge B told the police.
McCann investigating prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said he knew nothing about Helge B’s alleged change of heart – but stressed that his testimony would still carry weight.
He said: “Everyone who has said something must be judged by it.” Witnesses are obliged to tell the truth – they have to testify. You can’t just choose something like that.”
Christian B is currently in prisonfor the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in 2005, also in Praia da Luz.
Investigators say they have “concrete evidence” that Madeleine is dead, but have not yet provided any other material that could lead to charges.