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Inga Maria's killer must face justice

Editor's Viewpoint

This week sees the 29th anniversary of the murder of the young German girl Inga Maria Hauser shortly after arriving in Larne on a ferry from Scotland.

Two weeks later, on April 20 1988, her body was found in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest near Ballycastle.

She had been the victim of a ruthless and vicious assault that, the police believe, had a sexual motive.

No one has been convicted of this dreadful crime despite the most intense DNA screenings by the police.

Over the years they have made extensive enquiries, including hundreds of interviews, and a renewed house-to-house strategy was carried out in 2011.

There have been, and still are, so many murders in Northern Ireland that it is often difficult to recall those which stand out.

Each one is a source of heartbreak for the family and friends of those who died, no matter what the circumstances.

However, many people here still recall the murder of Inga Maria and the shock that such a brutal attack on an innocent young tourist could take place in our midst.

Like the relatives of those killed in the Troubles, this young girl's family is still waiting for justice.

It seems even worse that they are so far away from the place where her life was so brutally ended, but without doubt their thoughts are never far away from Northern Ireland.

John Dallat from the SDLP has spoken out on behalf of the dead girl and her family, and he has appealed for justice.

He has also asked anyone who knows anything about the murder to come forward and to bring closure to Inga Maria's family.

Mr Dallat says movingly that Inga Maria's parents believed that they could trust us to look after her on holiday, but that someone "broke that trust, broke her neck, and disposed of her body".

Detectives say that they are tantalisingly close to solving the crime.

How awful it is to think that the last barrier to doing so could be the deliberate concealment of evidence by someone who is protecting a killer.

Justice must prevail even after nearly three decades, not least because unless and until it does, a killer still walks the streets and is free to strike again.

This most tragic story must be brought to a just end at long last.

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