PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
Detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser, whose body was found in Ballypatrick Forest in North Antrim 30 years ago, have received over 30 calls from members of the public as a result of their appeal last month.
On the 30th anniversary of the 18 year old’s murder, they renewed their request for assistance from the public, in particular the local community in North Antrim, as well as people who may have seen her travelling in England, from London northwards and in Scotland, before she embarked on the Stranraer to Larne ferry on April 6 1988.
Inga Maria travelled to Northern Ireland on that date arriving in Larne on a ferry from Scotland. Her body was discovered in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest on the outskirts of Ballycastle on April 20 1988. Police believe that Inga Maria died shortly after she arrived in Northern Ireland and that she was subjected to a vicious and ruthless assault.
The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: “Last month on the 30th anniversary of Inga Maria’s murder, police launched an operation spanning Northern Ireland and Scotland during which we followed a number of specific lines of enquiries. We appealed for information as we believe members of the public may hold vital information about who killed the teenager and as a result received over 30 calls which we are currently assessing.
“Some of the developments over this period have been interesting and are being progressed by the investigation team.
“One strand of the operation was to identify the man whose DNA was found at the crime scene. A previous DNA screening process was one of the largest ever conducted and involved many hundreds of people, throughout the UK. However, as time evolves so does DNA science so we have carried out further familial DNA screening. We have now received the results and have met with scientists and other specialists in order to take these forward.
“We still believe we are extremely close to progressing criminal justice action against Inga Maria’s killer or killers.”
The murder investigation has received a lot of attention over the years from PSNI.
Detective Chief Superintendent Murray believes anyone with information about who killed Inga Maria owes it her family to come forward so they can have closure after 30 years.
“Inga Maria’s family deserve to know what happened. Her father died not knowing who killed his daughter and her mother has been ill for many years. The family have been tortured by her murder and we have been in close contact with Inga’s heartbroken sister in the run up to and following this anniversary.
“She has asked the PSNI to issue this letter on her behalf: ‘It’s been nearly 30 years since my younger sister Inga-Maria was so brutally murdered, you cannot imagine how the murder of my sister has affected my family – we are broken inside. My father was worst hit – he fell ill with prostate cancer in 2005 and was treated for depression when the whole body was full of cancer.
The fact of being confronted with this murder for a lifetime is just cruel, sick, sick. So I ask you to come forward within formation, otherwise my sister’s soul will never rest.
Friederike Leibl. ’
Detective Chief Superintendent Murray added: “I also continue to make a direct appeal to the family and friends of the murderer or murderers to come forward. Thirty years has passed and in that time we have to ask not only what impact this murderer has had on the Hausers but what impact has he had on his own family. How has it affected them? If you are a family member who has information or who even assisted the killer or killers in the aftermath of the incident, search your conscience as now is the time that common humanity should override misplaced loyalty.
“Give us the information we need to take this investigation forward and place him before the courts. What if this was your daughter or granddaughter – subjected to a brutal and ruthless assault after arriving in a new country before being killed and left in a forest. Think of the fear and pain she felt, think of her family not having justice.
“After 30 years, it’s time to tell us what you know – contact Police by calling detectives in Maydown on 02871379783.”