Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Help end anguish of Inga Maria's family

Editor's Viewpoint

The murder of German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser 30 years ago did not just take the life of a beautiful teenager on her first solo holiday, but also destroyed the lives of her family, including a boy not yet born.

Inga Maria's nephew, who was born four years after the killing, has given a moving description of the impact of the murder.

Inga Maria's mum suffers from Alzheimer's and, even if the case is solved, will probably never understand what happened.

Her father died of cancer, but it is Inga Maria's older sister Frederica who has suffered as much as anyone. Two failed marriages, a nervous breakdown and concerns over her ability to live alone show the mental devastation caused by her sibling's loss.

Frederica's son Viktor tells us that the death ripped the family apart and now he is left with what remains of it. Can there be a more poignant description of what violent death can do to the bereaved?

Of course, this is a place that is no stranger to violent death, but Inga Maria's loss touched us as well as her family. She was a stranger looking forward to coming to our island and exploring it, only to meet a cruel end.

She could have been any of our daughters, a young girl alone but feeling safe, who strayed into the path of a killer. She had no part in our conflict and should never have met an untimely end.

Perhaps that is why her death still strikes a chord today. Viktor admits he thought for a long time that no one remembered Inga Maria, and was surprised to hear that the investigation into her murder was still ongoing.

Police are convinced that they are close to solving the mystery, and that her killer is among a small group of people they know.

But as yet they are unable to get those elusive final pieces of the jigsaw which would bring the perpetrator to justice.

They have even appealed to the conscience of the killer, as Viktor also pleads, so closure can be brought to the family.

But, having kept his secret for 30 years, is it realistic to hope that the murderer will finally wilt and admit his guilt?

However, there is another avenue. There is bound to be someone who knows or strongly suspects that a husband or partner or friend or even sibling did this terrible thing three decades ago and who has kept that secret buried ever since. Their own humanity demands that they give that information to police.

Belfast Telegraph

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