The Agarve plot that police may look at (Image: Olive Press Spain)

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Madeleine MCann investigators have been told of a secret compound on the Algarve owned by Christian Brueckner’s ex-girlfriend.

Nicole Fehlinger’s father Dieter went back to speak to the German equivalent of the FBI for a second time.

Prosecutors have confirmed he gave a lengthy interview and that they are seriously examining this new lead.

Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007 just a few days before her fourth birthday.

Nicole lived in Portugal at the time with Brueckner, who has been identified as the chief suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

An aerial view of the land police are probing
(Image: Olive Press Spain)

Nicole Fehlinger had access to compound
(Image: Phil Harris)

Mr Fehlinger has told investigators that Nicole and Brueckner had a secret compound on the Algarve which no-one else had been aware of.

He said it was guarded by four fierce Kangal dogs, which have the strongest bite of any in the world.

Mr Fehlinger said: “No one knows that my daughter not only had the private residence in Portugal at her disposal, but also a separate compound.

“No-one has ever searched there or the property has never turned up in connection with Maddie, Brueckner or Nicole.

German prosecutors believe Madeleine McCann was murdered
(Image: PA)

Police mugshot of Christian Brueckner
(Image: ITALIAN CARABINIERI PRESS OFFICE)

"It’s an overgrown property of over 5,000 square metres. It was a secure area, enclosed with fencing and four aggressive Kangal dogs were there day and night.

“The area is completely overgrown, not visible. No one could get in or out, only my daughter and perhaps Brueckner with her.”

The secret compound is on land very close to the house where Nicole lived on the Algarve, 38 miles from Praia da Luz.

The mother of three was part of a fostering programme in Portugal for troubled German youngsters. There is no suggestion she had anything to do with the disappearance of Madeleine, from Rothley, Leics.

German Police are only investigating Brueckner over the case. He is currently in jail after being convicted of other offences including rape.

Last year they named Brueckner, 44, as the prime suspect in Madeleine going missing after phone records placed him in the resort on the night she vanished.

The paedophile has accused prosecutors of bringing “shame” to the German legal system by making “scandalous” statements against him.

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Nicole, also 44, was in a relationship with him for a couple of years after they met in a bar.

Court documents in Portugal revealed they had regular phone conversations and enjoyed a weekend break in Lisbon together just months after Madeleine disappeared.

Nicole worked as a hotel receptionist before returning to Wurzburg, Germany, around 10 years ago.

It remains unclear if they continued their relationship when Brueckner returned to Braunschweig to open a bar in 2012.