Belfast Telegraph

It means a lot that Inga-Maria isn't forgotten, says nephew of murdered German backpacker

Viktor Leibl in Belfast
Viktor Leibl in Belfast
Viktor Leibl at Ballypatrick Forest, with John Dallat
Inga-Maria Hauser

By Allan Preston

The nephew of a German backpacker murdered in Northern Ireland 30 years ago has spoken about the "haunting" experience of visiting the site where her body was found.

Inga-Maria Hauser's nephew Viktor Leibl (25) has come to Northern Ireland for the first time as part of an engineering internship.

He was born four years after his aunt was killed and said her murder has cast a cloud over the family for decades.

The 18-year-old Munich student was last seen on a ferry crossing from Stranraer to Larne in April 1988. Her body was discovered in Ballypatrick Forest in Co Antrim two weeks later.

Last Sunday, SDLP MLA John Dallat took Mr Leibl to see the sights in Londonderry before visiting Ballypatrick Forest.

A memorial stone was also recently erected at the forest as a tribute to Inga-Maria.

"It's difficult to say how I felt about visiting Ballypatrick Forest," Mr Leibl said.

"On one side it was haunting and really sad, but it was also inspiring that people still cared and think about it.

"It means a lot to me to have seen the memorial stone and that people haven't forgotten about her."

He said the family now had a new-found hope the police investigation would be a success and could at last give them justice and closure.

"A year ago I thought it was forgotten and that no one cared about it.

"However there's hundreds of people here who know about it and are doing something about it," he added.

In April, the police launched an appeal for information on the 30th anniversary of Inga-Maria's death.

Following this, two men, one aged 58 and the other 61, were taken into custody in the Loughguile area of Co Antrim. Both have since been released on bail.

"The police haven't told me anything new since the arrests, but I think they're gathering evidence so I'll leave it to the professionals," Mr Leibl said.

"I feel like something's moving but all I can do is wait."

He also said he was thankful for the chance to visit.

"It's now in my mind that I'm retracing my aunt's steps, but it's kind of a coincidence that I'm here at this time actually," he said.

"I always wanted to come to Ireland, not only because of the incident, but I like the country and the music and wanted to see it for myself.

"This is the 30th anniversary of her death but I also got the chance for the internship, so it's like the stars aligned."

Mr Leibl said his mother Friederike Leibl, Inga-Maria's sister, is preparing to come to Northern Ireland as well if the police investigation results in a trial.

"I'm talking to her, I think she's feeling the same as I do.

"She's positively surprised that people still care but is still a bit afraid of all the media interest it has created.

"I've seen a lot of Northern Ireland and a little of the south. I plan to come back again some day because I like it a lot.

"It's good to have positive experiences here too."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph