Belfast Telegraph

Search for Inga Maria's killer takes detectives to Scotland

By Lesley-Anne McKeown and David Young

Detectives hunting the killers of a German backpacker have travelled to Scotland in an attempt to piece together her final movements.

Inga Maria Hauser was last seen alive 30 years ago as she journeyed by ferry from Scotland to Northern Ireland on April 6 1988.

The 18-year-old's body was found dumped in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest on the outskirts of Ballycastle, Co Antrim, a fortnight later.

While no one has been convicted of her murder, police warned the net was closing.

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, the officer leading the investigation, said: "The murder was brutal and the attack was brutal, but there is something horrendously callous about leaving that young girl's body lying unattended in a forest for 14 days."

Investigators believe that communities in Scotland may hold vital information about Ms Hauser's movements during her two-day visit before she travelled on the Stranraer to Larne ferry.

A team of detectives handed out leaflets to passengers on board and spoke to those waiting in terminals at Belfast and Cairnryan.

Mr Murray said: "We already know Inga Maria's movements during her journey around England from London to Bath and on to Liverpool.

"However, we need to know more about what she did and who she met while in Scotland."

Prior to going to Scotland, the backpacker travelled around England.

From Liverpool she journeyed to Preston and then northward to Inverness in Scotland.

She then took the train to Glasgow and on to Stranraer.

Mr Murray said he wanted to hear from anyone who encountered her.

He added: "I appreciate that a lot of time has passed, but we need to know places Inga Maria visited.

"She will have stood out from the crowd with her German accent and distinctive style of clothing.

"She was wearing baseball boots and a long flowing skirt, possibly multi-coloured, a jacket, possibly denim, with a large blue rucksack.

"On top of this rucksack was a smaller bag with distinctive US Air Force badge."

Police believe a number of people may have been involved either directly or in the cover-up of what remains one of Northern Ireland's most high-profile unsolved murder cases.

A man in the rural area east of Ballymoney, Co Antrim, was seen soon after the killing with scratches on his face, sparking concern in the community that he was involved.

Police also have a male DNA profile from the crime scene, but they have yet to secure a positive match.

A number of years ago, in one of the largest DNA screenings ever undertaken in the UK, 2,000 samples failed to produce a definitive match to a male genetic profile found at the murder scene.

However, officers are expecting the results of further testing, including a trawl of updated familial DNA samples, within days.

Mr Murray confirmed that all the suspects were still alive.

He recently travelled to Munich to brief Ms Hauser's sister on developments.

Her father, Josef, is now dead and her mother, Almut, is battling illness.

The detective also revealed Ms Hauser's last entry in her diary.

Mr Murray said: "Her last notebook entry on April 6 reads, 'Went from Glasgow to Ayr and from there to Stranraer to get over to Ireland. Saw the sea. Beautiful and mysterious. Wonder where I stay tonight. Need more money.'

"Sadly, Inga's final resting place in Northern Ireland was in Ballypatrick Forest."

Belfast Telegraph

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