Belfast Telegraph

Inga-Maria's nephew in emotional trip to spot where German backpacker was murdered

By Allan Preston

The nephew of a German backpacker murdered in Co Antrim 30 years ago has made an emotional pilgrimage to the scene of her death.

On Sunday Viktor Leibl laid flowers at a recently erected memorial stone in Ballypatrick Forest where Inga-Maria Hauser was killed.

Although he was born four years after his aunt's death, the loss has deeply affected him and his family.

The 18-year-old student from Munich was last seen alive on April 6, 1988 on a ferry crossing from Scotland to Larne.

Her body was discovered two weeks later.

SDLP MLA John Dallat has campaigned for decades in a bid to get justice for Inga-Maria.

He said yesterday that it was an "absolute privilege" to meet Mr Leibl.

"I took him to Derry first to see the Guildhall and the Peace Bridge, so that was an icebreaker for me," said Mr Dallat.

"But I certainly wasn't prepared for Ballypatrick Forest, where Viktor became quite emotional, and it brought home to me the absolute tragedy this has been for the family."

Mr Dallat said Mr Leibl was also extremely grateful for the lengths local people had gone to get justice for his family.

He added: "Unexpectedly, he said: 'We don't hold any bad feeling towards the Irish people about what happened. We love the country and that was the reason why Inga-Maria came here'. I was relieved to hear that because we've all been hanging under a cloud because of what happened to the young girl."

The MLA said Mr Leibl shared many of the same qualities as his aunt.

"He's fanatically interested in music and he's a very intelligent person," he said.

It's the first time he has met a member of the Hauser family in person. "I certainly found it an experience I wasn't prepared for. It just brought home to me the absolute need to bring justice to Inga-Maria," he said.

In April police made a renewed appeal for information on the case, which resulted in the arrests of two men.

The 58-year-old and 61-year-old were taken into custody in the Loughguile area of Co Antrim. They were later released on bail.

"At the moment I'm confident the detectives will get a result and I know from talking to Viktor that that would mean the world to the family," he said.

"Interestingly, everywhere I took Viktor, whether it was in Derry, Ballycastle or Belfast, I've never seen such unity in wishing for a positive outcome.

"I think he found it strange that 30 years after her murder people are still so determined to help.

"But over the years she's come to mean an awful lot more.

"I've no doubt in the future her memory will be immortalised in some suitable way in addition to the memorial stone."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph in May, Mr Leibl said the recent arrests by police had given hope to him and his mother Frederike, who is Inga-Maria's sister.

Belfast Telegraph

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