Belfast Telegraph

Inga Maria Hauser's heartbroken mum dies without seeing justice for daughter murdered in Northern Ireland

Inga Maria Hauser’s mum Almut with a picture of her beloved daughter
Inga Maria Hauser’s mum Almut with a picture of her beloved daughter
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The mother of murdered German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser has died "without receiving justice or answers" over the brutal killing of her daughter.

Inga's distraught sister Friederike Leibl said their 78-year-old mum Almut Hauser passed away yesterday after a long illness, not knowing what happened to "this beautiful 18-year-old girl".

The Munich teenager's body was found dumped in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest in Co Antrim 31 years ago - a fortnight after she was last seen alive on the Galloway Princess ferry from Scotland to Larne.

Her heartbroken family has long campaigned for those responsible for her murder to be brought before the courts. However, no one has ever been charged with the crime.

Renewing the appeal for information over Inga's death, Phoenix Law solicitor Claire McKeegan, who represents Mrs Leibl, offered her deepest sympathy to the Hauser family.

"Both of Inga's parents now have passed on without receiving justice or answers regarding the murder of this beautiful 18-year-old girl," a statement said.

"Josef Hauser, Inga's father, sadly died in 2006 from cancer.

"We renew our appeal to anyone who can assist the police investigation, however insig nificant you might believe the information to be, to get in touch with our office or the PSNI."

SDLP MLA John Dallat, who is involved in the campaign to find Inga's killer, also offered his condolences to her family.

"It's so sad that we didn't achieve one of our aims and that was to ensure that Almut would see justice before she died," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Inga Maria Hauser
Inga Maria Hauser

"She developed dementia at an early age, which I've no doubt was brought on by the tragedy, so she has been in poor health for some time.

"More recently, however, she was reinvigorated and she got renewed energy when she learned that a file had gone to the Public Prosecution Service, which makes the news that she's now gone all the more devastating for all of us.

"She was very much aware of and so grateful that so many people supported the campaign and she hoped that even after all these years there may have been justice - and hopefully there still will."

Mr Dallat said the reopening of the case has given the family "some satisfaction", and they had really appreciated a memorial stone that was unveiled in Ballypatrick Forest last year.

On April 6, 2018, more than 100 people gathered for a short service in the forest on the outskirts of Ballycastle to mark the 30th anniversary of Inga's death.

Local poet Dr Clare McCotter read a trilogy of poems published in the teenager's memory, the first entitled Backpacker.

Also present was Dublin singer Keeley Moss, who along with Mr Dallat, has been campaigning for justice for the tragic teen.

Ms Moss, who is also a blogger, sang Inga's Song before unveiling the memorial stone, which bears the poignant inscription: 'Time will see your tears run dry. There's a Mocking Bird singing songs in the trees.'

Referring to last year's ceremony, Mr Dallat added: "Inga's family were totally overwhelmed that so many people turned out for the unveiling of the memorial and I know it gave them hope."

Mr Dallat also revealed that he has plans to meet up with members of the Hauser family in the near future.

In 2009, Almut Hauser spoke to the Belfast Telegraph of her grief over her daughter's killing.

"It's very, very important for me to know what had happened in these days," she said. "I want to know... what happened? I'm sure that my Inga is not the only one who had been tortured by this killer."

Mrs Hauser also stressed that it is "very, very important that the killer will be caught".

Last July, Inga's nephew Viktor Leibl (Friederike's son) made an emotional pilgrimage to the scene of his aunt's death and laid flowers at the memorial stone in Ballypatrick forest where she was killed.

Although he was born four years after his aunt's death, Viktor said her loss had deeply affected both him and his family.

During his visit to Northern Ireland Mr Leibl said he was extremely grateful for the lengths to which local people had gone to try and get justice for his aunt.

"We don't hold any bad feeling towards the Irish people about what happened," said Mr Leibl. "We love the country and that was the reason why my aunt came here."

Earlier this year, a 59-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of Ms Hauser's murder and later released on bail pending further inquiries.

In 2018, detectives said they believe several people were directly involved in the murder, or in its subsequent cover-up.

Police also found a male genetic profile at the crime scene and conducted one of the UK's largest ever DNA screenings in a bid to track down the suspect.

After analysing 2,000 DNA samples, however, no match was found.

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