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Christmas sorrow for sister of murdered backpacker Inga Maria Hauser

Sibling says she can't celebrate until killer is jailed as memorial held for German found dead in Co Antrim

Inga Maria Hauser went missing after arriving in Larne on a ferry from Scotland in April 1988 (PSNI/PA)
Inga Maria Hauser went missing after arriving in Larne on a ferry from Scotland in April 1988 (PSNI/PA)
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

The one surviving sister of murdered backpacker Inga Maria Hauser cannot celebrate Christmas until her killer is jailed.

Yesterday more than a dozen friends of her family gathered in Ballypatrick Forest Park in Co Antrim - where the 18-year-old German hiker was strangled in 1988 - to remember the teen.

SDLP MLA John Dallat, who addressed the crowd, told Sunday Life that her one surviving sister Friederike Leibl finds it impossible to celebrate Christmas because her killer has never been brought to justice.

He said: "My heart goes out to Friederike and Inga Maria's family. We organised this event to keep her memory alive and show them that more than 30 years after her murder she is still remembered by this community.

"The greatest Christmas present Inga's family could receive is information that could lead to her killer being prosecuted. I'd like to appeal again to anyone with knowledge of this to contact the police.

"There are people living in the area who know something. I would ask them to search their conscience and tell the police what they know."

Inga_Maria_Hauser_Memorial.jpg
John Dallat MLA at the laying of a wreath for the murdered German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser in Ballypatrick Forest. 14/12/2019

Among those who attended yesterday's Inga Maria memorial was Dublin based singer/songwriter Keeley Moss.

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Writing on social media, she said: "It was as emotional as ever to stand beneath the trees that witnessed Inga's horrific killing, and make our renewed call for justice on her behalf and speak about why her cause is so important.

"The fight goes on and will not cease until the right result is reached. There is a light that never goes out."

Inga went missing in April 1988 having last been seen on a ferry travelling from Stranraer to Larne.

Police believe she was offered a lift by a lorry driver who was on the boat and that he killed her after she rejected his sexual advances. The suspect then murdered Inga and dumped her body in a shallow grave in Ballypatrick Forest Park.

A file on a 60-year-old man arrested in connection with the murder in May 2018 was sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) last summer. Questioned again last February, he is currently on police bail pending further inquiries.

The man suspected of carrying out the killing was a regular user of the Larne-to-Scotland ferry with his articulated lorry moving livestock.

Police have confirmed he was seen with scratch marks on his face not long after and there was concern in the community that he had been involved.

Several years ago, priests at Catholic churches in the North Antrim area made an appeal to their parishioners to come forward with any information they had about Inga Maria's killer and also subject themselves to a DNA test.

Around the same time, 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.

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