| 2.4°C Belfast

Inga Maria: two men held over 1988 murder of teen backpacker


Inga Maria Hauser

Inga Maria Hauser


Ballypatrick Forest in Co Antrim, where Inga Maria Hauser's body was discovered

Ballypatrick Forest in Co Antrim, where Inga Maria Hauser's body was discovered


Inga Maria Hauser

Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a German backpacker in Co Antrim which has puzzled police for over 30 years.

Inga Maria Hauser (18) went missing after she disembarked from the Larne ferry and accepted a lift from a lorry driver on arriving from Scotland on April 6, 1988.

Her body was discovered by a sheep farmer in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest, near Ballycastle, two weeks after she disappeared.

Police believe she died during a "vicious and ruthless" assault.

Two men, aged 58 and 61, were arrested early yesterday in Loughguile, Co Antrim, following a fresh appeal by police to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder last month.

Last night, the two suspects were being interviewed by detectives. East Londonderry SDLP MLA John Dallat described the arrests over the "brutal murder" as significant.

"No-one has been charged or convicted of this dreadful crime, so we must hope that this development will lead to justice for the Hauser family and that they will be able to begin to have closure," he said.

Mr Dallat also paid tribute to the "beautiful, incredibly talented young girl" who died "defending her honour".

"Inga Maria wasn't simply a backpacker - she was the child of Josef and Almut Hauser, whose lives were devastated," he said.

"The Hauser family deserve justice for their daughter and I am grateful to the police for keeping this case open."

In 2011 police said they were "tantalisingly close" to solving the case and subsequently travelled to Scotland to gather new evidence.

Yesterday, Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray renewed his appeal for anyone still out there with information to come forward.

"Even if there are people who know what happened but have stayed silent out of friendship or family loyalty, it is still not too late to come forward and tell us what you know," he said.

"Failure to do so can be a criminal offence in itself and surely it would be better to come to police and discuss what happened rather than take the risk we will come to you."

Belfast Telegraph