Belfast Telegraph

Police won't give same focus to my husband's murder as that of backpacker Inga, says widow

By Allan Preston

The widow of an IRA murder victim has said she feels "greatly let down" as his case has not been given the same focus as that of a German backpacker killed in Co Antrim 30 years ago.

James Henry Babington (52) was shot dead by the IRA on the Cavehill Road in north Belfast as he walked to work on October 4, 1989.

At the time the IRA claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.

In April the previous year, German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser (18) was found murdered in Ballypatrick Forest.

A major public appeal was launched on the 30th anniversary of Ms Hauser's death and police recently arrested two men in connection with the case.

Mr Babington's widow Maura, now aged 84, has wished the Hauser family every success, but said her husband deserves the same level of attention by the authorities.

"He was not a member or connected to any terrorist organisation, nor was he or had he been a member of the security forces," she said.

"No one has ever been charged or prosecuted in relation to the murder, the allegation being that it was mistaken identity."

Noting the recent publicity for the Hauser murder, she said: "Our family fully support the commitment, resources and measures that have been put in place to apprehend the persons responsible for this terrible murder, and would want nothing more than to see justice for the Hauser family.

"We know only too well the pain that family has gone through, having ourselves lost a loved one, and we understand that their hurt is compounded by the fact that those responsible have not been brought to justice."

Despite this, Mrs Babington said her family feels "greatly let down" by the fact that similar efforts and resources have not been used to bring her husband's killers to justice.

"The 30th anniversary of his murder will take place in October 2019. I am getting no younger, I am now 84 years of age," she said.

"My husband, just like so many others over the years of the years of the terrorist campaign, was brutally murdered.

"His life had value and we continue to insist that there remains value in pursuing justice against those responsible in his case and that of so many others.

"Peace is not merely the absence of terrorism, but the presence of justice."

Her son Marcus Babington has backed his mother's plea. "I feel that murders committed during the Troubles are being put into this legacy box," he said. "But my father wasn't killed in some war - to the letter of the law he was murdered. He wasn't a member of any organisation so we should have the same rights as any other family." He continued: "I expect the authorities not to sit and wait for someone to knock their door and volunteer information - I expect them to go out and look in the community as they did for the Hauser murder.

"They do this for other non-political murders but not for us. They don't want to upset the political apple cart but they shouldn't be political. But these aren't stolen cars or burnt out wheelie bins, they absolutely have a responsibility to go after the people who did it."

Belfast Telegraph

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