The Keeley Chronicles PART 24

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a murder still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

Part 24 CONTENTS
Chapter 65: Bristol
Chapter 66: There’s a Train that Leaves Tonight
Chapter 67: Preston
Acknowledgements for Part 24

 

Author’s note:

Today, May 28th 2019, is Inga’s birthday. She would have been 50 years of age.

 

Chapter 65: Bristol

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Platform 3, Bristol Temple Meads railway station. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

Girl in the distance, moves are very hazy

To wander lonely as a puzzled anagram

Massive Attack – ‘Blue Lines’

 

Bristol Temple Meads is the oldest and largest railway station in Bristol, England. Inga arrived here off a train from Bath on April 5th 1988. Later that day she boarded a train that took her to Liverpool Lime Street station, where she had written in her diary, “Took a short walk through Liverpool station region”. However, in what was one of surprisingly few changes to rail network routes since 1988 that I discovered whilst retracing her steps thirty years later, nowadays trains no longer go from Bristol to Liverpool en route to Preston. Instead they now go via Birmingham. I had no interest in going to Birmingham as it was a long way off anywhere on Inga’s original 1988 itinerary which I was intent on replicating as faithfully and accurately as possible. So, I decided to go to Leeds instead and would try to reach Preston from there. At this point the notoriously erratic British rail network was about to throw a series of spanners in the works in time-honoured fashion. Firstly, the train I was travelling on from Bath to Bristol broke down and as a result was 20 minutes late in arriving at Bristol Temple Meads. The train driver himself described it as a “farce” over the intercom, much to the bemusement of the passengers. Then I discovered that the train that I was on my way to Bristol to connect with was set to leave on time, rather than waiting for the passengers on the delayed arrival from Bath, with the result that upon my arrival at Bristol Temple Meads I would have only seconds to get from one train to another. Even while carrying a rucksack I have very quick acceleration on my feet so given that and my natural optimism I still fancied my chances. But I did not reckon on just how large Bristol Temple Meads would turn out to be. It’s huge – the Ballypatrick Forest of train stations. And in another example of the inventive ways the British rail network finds to make life as difficult as possible for passengers who are perversely required to pay some of the highest ticket prices in the world to travel on these trains, the platform designated for the Leeds train was switched at the last minute to almost the furthest possible platform away from where the Bath train was arriving, resulting in yet more inconvenience, chaos and confusion for the bewildered passengers, of which I was one. By the time I had learned of these changes and had run the length of the underground maze that is the subway at Bristol Temple Meads all the way from Platform 13 to Platform 3, in the words of a German phrase that serves as a metaphor for missed opportunities in life, “The train has gone”. Literally, in this case.

Out of breath, I sat down in what was only one of thirteen separate platforms at Bristol Temple Meads, and tried to figure out my next move. It was now well after dark, I had nowhere to stay, I knew nobody in this part of the country, I had nothing in my possession but my wits and my rucksack…The parallels with the predicament Inga found herself in at points during the same journey were becoming increasingly eerie. My intention of making it to Preston on this night to catch the same sleeper train to Inverness that Inga had boarded all those years ago – and what’s more have somewhere, anywhere to spend the night that was relatively sheltered, appeared to lie in tatters.

But as I always say, there’s always a way – and if there’s no way, invent a way. My instinct told me to go to the ticket office and led me towards one kiosk in particular. There I spoke with a member of rail staff named Ryan, a man with a kind face and a Manchester accent. In contrast with the doom-laden Bath Spa rail staff worker Marek featured in Part 23 who had been so negative and discouraging in my hour of need, Ryan turned out to be immensely helpful. All was not lost. Although he confirmed that it would no longer be possible for me to go from Bristol to Preston via Leeds that night, after consulting the rail network computer system he found a route that would enable me to reach both Preston and Inverness. And what’s more, it could be done tonight, meaning I could board the very train that good old Marek at Bath Spa had claimed would be “impossible” for me to catch. Bizarrely however, it would entail my having to return to London. I had spent the whole day travelling halfway across the south of England travelling in the opposite direction from London – and now here I was suddenly being confronted with the news that I needed to go all the way back to the capital.

Best of all, it turned out that contrary to what I had been told in Bath Spa there were seats still available on the sleeper train after all. I was able to reserve a seat and have a detailed itinerary of the variety of rail connections printed out. The remarkable thing about this was that it’s a little-known fact that back in April 1988 Inga had to return to London after leaving there. She had gone from Harwich to London, and then after spending a couple of days sightseeing in London she moved on to Cambridge but had to return to London in order to catch a train to Oxford as there was no direct train route from Cambridge to Oxford, something that remains the case to this day. I was now faced with the strange prospect of succeeding in retracing a part of her journey that I hadn’t even intended to.

I stepped outside the station briefly to catch a glimpse of Bristol at night and also so I could catch a breath of fresh air. I wondered if Inga had done the same while she was here. If she had it seems it went unrecorded in her diary and was thus lost in the mists of time, another casualty of history. I walked back inside the station and set off to find the platform where the train to London was set to depart from. Soon I was on this train and heading to the capital – the very last place I expected to find myself travelling in the direction of when I left Oxford that morning and Bath that evening. But as John Lennon once sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

 

Chapter 66: There’s a Train that Leaves Tonight

Euston (reduced size)

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight: Euston Square tube station. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

Like a jazz refrain the midnight train is calling
Hey you’d best go soon, the late-night moon is falling
Let the nightbirds whisper to themselves
This train pulls out at twelve

Mary Black – ‘There’s a Train That Leaves Tonight’

 

I arrive off the train in London Paddington almost two hours later, at a little after 10pm. Stepping onto the platform I make my way through the vast station building. At this point I have to re-enter the sprawling London Underground network in order to travel from Paddington tube to Euston Square via King’s Cross. But I get off at the wrong station by travelling on to King’s Cross St. Pancras tube station instead, which necessitated waiting for a train to take me one stop back in the opposite direction. Travelling in the opposite direction once again… Upon arriving at Euston Square, I head for the exit and as I approach the doors, my eye is caught by a London Underground sign that a member of rail staff has written a quotation on in blue marker. It reads:

Oh yes, the past can hurt

But you can either run from it, or learn from it

The relevance of this quote to this backpacking trip retracing Inga’s steps, and to many aspects of Inga’s unsolved case, wasn’t lost on me.

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Run from the Past: The sign I came across in Euston Square tube station on my way to catch the train to Inverness. The quote reads, “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it”. Photo by Keeley Moss © 2018

 

I exit the tube network at Euston Square and take a walk through the nocturnal metropolis. A short time later I reach the entrance to London Euston where the train to Inverness via Preston – the Caledonian Sleeper – is set to depart a few minutes before midnight. As the other passengers and I are boarding the train we’re informed that the buffet car will not be joining the train due to “staff shortages”. This was the same ludicrous excuse I had heard announced over the tannoy several times over the previous two days in various train stations as the reason for entire scheduled trains, not just the buffet car, being cancelled. In all my years as a rail commuter in Ireland I have yet to see a train cancelled. The British really are getting the rawest of raw deals with their rail system.

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London Fields: Walking through the borough of Camden on the way from the London Underground to the mainline rail network. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

The journey from London to Inverness by train takes twelve hours – approximately six times as long as a flight from Ireland to Spain. But I wasn’t fazed. Nor was I bothered that there were no berths remaining, which meant I’d have to try sleeping in my seat (or as it turns out, under the seat and on the floor of the train). Inga never had the luxury of sleeping in a berth; she had to make do with sleeping sitting up in her seat. If it was good enough for her, it would be good enough for me.

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“Train heave on to Euston…” London Euston pictured at close to midnight. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

I settle into my seat as the Caledonian Sleeper starts to pull out from London Euston, amazed to have made it onto the train at all given the way things had unfolded earlier in Bath and Bristol where I appeared to have been left totally stranded both times. I glance around at my fellow passengers in the carriage – to my great surprise every single one of them is already asleep. We only left London a couple of minutes ago. How the hell had all these people managed to simultaneously fall asleep in such a short time? Was that a weird thing to happen? I couldn’t be sure. I suspected it was but when strangeness becomes so commonplace, there comes a point in your life where it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between what is strange and what is normal. Because when everything is strange, strangeness becomes the new normal. Anyway, I was literally the only person awake in the entire carriage. Being a night-owl and feeling excited to travel on a ‘sleeper train’ for the first time, and simultaneously feeling wracked by the intensity of retracing Inga’s steps, it would be several hours yet before I would attempt to get to sleep. It would be a largely fruitless attempt, however. I struggle to sleep upright anyway, and the cramped and uncomfortable seats on the Caledonian Sleeper would not make that aim any easier to accomplish. But sleeping was pretty much far from my mind. I wanted to be conscious of as much of this experience as possible. I stared out the window at the fast-moving blur of regional railway stations, feeling grateful to be alive, grateful to be on this train at all.

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Blood on the Tracks: The author preparing to board the London-Inverness overnight train. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

A couple of hours into the journey my phone dies due to a lack of battery power not helped by the complete absence of plug sockets or USB inputs on board the train. This was the first of many trains I had travelled on over the previous couple of days that did not have any power sockets. And yet this train journey was going to last twelve hours. Surely it would have occurred to the powers that be that a plug socket or three wouldn’t go astray? Then again, given how everyone on the train apart from myself seemed to have been knocked out by some sort of sleeping gas perhaps the rail authorities were not exactly being inundated with requests from passengers for power sockets on the Caledonian Sleeper. A power supply for my mind was however not required. I was wide-awake, transfixed by the sights whirring past the window. Totally entranced. By thoughts and sights. Cityscapes and skylines. Tower blocks and street signs. Sleepy hamlets and suburban towns passing by in the blink of an eye. All those people living in them. All those lives. Entangled and divided yet sleeping beneath the same sky.

However due to my phone being out of battery power, and no one in the carriage being awake for me to be able to ask, I have no idea where I am. I know I’m on the Caledonian Sleeper obviously but as for roughly what part of the country we were in, I haven’t the foggiest idea as the train is moving so fast in the darkness I can’t make out the placenames on the signs at the stations the train is speeding through. I sit there transfixed, my mind running riot with possibilities, the heart heavy and haunted by her story.

 

Chapter 67: Preston

Preston station at night, Feb 3rd 1988

British Rail freight train pictured in Preston station on the night of February 3rd 1988, just two months before Inga boarded the sleeper train from the same platform. Photo: rroadmick © 1988

 

Some things will never wash away

Radiohead – ‘Fog’

 

Suddenly the train slowed, and I could make out a station sign. Stafford, it read. Stafford. Where is Stafford? Somewhere in England presumably. I couldn’t consult Google Maps because my phone was still dead. I decided it would be best to try get some sleep now. I tried nodding off in my seat but soon gave up on that. Next, I tried to fit my frame into the space between my seat and the empty seat next to me. But there was an armrest stationed between the seats that made this impossible. It was time to resort to desperate measures. I clambered down onto the floor and after manoeuvring my body underneath the seats in front of me, managed to create a makeshift sleeping quarters. Lying on the floor of the train with my right ear pressed against the carpet as I tried to rest my head I could hear and literally feel the wheels and gears of the train grinding away beneath my body as the train sped through the night along the miles of rail track. I had slept in some unusual places over the years as a musician who toured occasionally and often gigged around Ireland, but the sheer oddness of that sensation will be hard to top. Somehow, I managed to fall into a fitful slumber. There was however a reason I was determined not to sleep for long – Preston. I had to make sure I woke up when the train reached Preston. In the meantime, I tried to grab forty winks (four winks more like). After a while I came to when my body or subconscious mind sensed the train slowing to a stop. Could this be? It had to be.

Preston

“Went on to Preston”, Inga had written in her diary. She had gone there to connect with the sleeper train to Inverness and to the best of my knowledge never left the station that night. So, although she had indeed gone “on to Preston”, just as in Bristol, Liverpool and Ayr she sadly saw nothing of the place beyond the train station. And now here I was, thirty years on. I had no idea of the time, but the sky was still pitch dark, so I knew it wasn’t dawn yet, the black had yet to yield to any hue of blue. I got up and looked around the carriage – all the other passengers remained fast asleep, unlike me not one of them had stirred upon the train slowing and then stopping here in Preston. I walked along the aisle before leaving the carriage altogether, and ventured into the space between carriages, where the door is. It was then that I realised just how old-fashioned this train was (although the lack of power sockets should have been a clue). The train door was one of those ancient ones with the window in it that you have to push up and down. I pushed the window down and what I saw left me truly transfixed. Totally entranced. I saw a thick cloak of fog. The orange glow of the station’s sodium lights shimmered through it. And through the fog-flecked air of a Northern night I could make out a sign. It read:

Preston

I stood there for several minutes just staring out the window, my senses soaking up the surroundings. The North of England. In the middle of winter. In the middle of the night. The silence. The stillness.

I had to get off the train. I knew this was foolhardy. My rucksack with my passport and all my belongings in it was still on board. So was my coat. I had no idea how long the train was going to remain stopped here. Since arriving here no one had gotten on the train, nor gotten off it for that matter. Why had the train stopped here? It was the middle of the night. We’d been stopped here for at least five minutes already, for no good reason as far as I could see. As far as the eye could see. And the eyes couldn’t see far – the fog, you see. I could hardly see. But I could feel. And I felt I knew what I needed to do. I had to get off this train. I was going to do it right or not at all. I might not get back here again. I had never been here before. I had come this far. I needed to go further. Not just to Inverness, and beyond. I had to go further here. I had to stand on this platform. I had to get off this train. It must have been some time around 4am. The train could start pulling out from the station any second. If I was wandering along the platform, I’d be a goner. Or rather, the train would be a goner. And as much of an eternal optimist as I am, even I was conscious that if you’re in Preston at around 4am and the only train to Inverness goes, you are truly stranded. And if you know nobody in the entire shire and your phone is dead, and the train that has just left contains your coat and rucksack with all your belongings, being stranded would be the least of your worries. So, I knew it would be stupid to get off the train in these circumstances. Especially after the lengths I’d gone to be able to catch this train in the first place, and the way I had been very lucky not to have ended up sleeping rough in a Bristol doorway tonight. So no, forget about getting off the train Keeley. There’s no way you’re going to do that…

I opened the old-fashioned door of the train by clanking the handle and stumbled in a sleepless state onto the platform of Preston station and into the quilted mist that sat like a beautiful blanket upon the frozen stone. Suddenly there she was. In my mind’s eye.

Thirty years before she had stood here, in this very station, on this very platform, about to board this very train. Lifting her heavy rucksack onto the tired teenage shoulders that had withstood the same weight for six days. With the pair of white runners dangling from laces tied at the back all the way from Munich and still flanked by her khaki knapsack, she stood up to board this train in this station. Largely unknown and mostly unnoticed. But this meant something. Her backpacking trip meant everything to her in that moment. It was more than a trip – it was a voyage, a mission, a crusade. And the memory of it could have been lost forever. It was understandably overshadowed for decades by the horror story of what happened on the night she arrived in Northern Ireland. And the true meaning of her backpacking trip would become warped and distorted from that point on. For what had started out as her “greatest dream”, to quote Inga’s mum Almut, had become mired in murder and its ghastly aftermath. A girl all her friends knew and loved as a charismatic character, a vibrant livewire, a creative powerhouse, had been reduced to a mere totem of tragedy. Her killers leeched her life and stole her smile. And cruelly redefined all she represented while she was alive. She had gone from skilfully sketching pictures on paper to becoming a face on the paper of RUC murder posters and the subject of occasionally lurid headlines in tasteless tabloid pages.

Three decades earlier it was a different story however, on the night she stood in Preston station in the small hours of a spring morning with the rest of her life beckoning her forward and towards it. Tragically the rest of her life at that point would consist of roughly twenty-four hours. For from the time she boarded the sleeper train in Preston in the small hours of April 6th 1988 until her primary killer drove her away from Larne on the night of the same day that is sadly all she would have left.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&© 2019. All rights reserved.

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Acknowledgements for Part 24

Blue Lines written by Thaws/Del Naja/Vowles/Marshall/Guerin/Carlton/Bennett/Scott.
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group © 1991

There’s a Train That Leaves Tonight written by Henderson/Sinnott.
Published by Dara Records © 1985

Fog written by Yorke/J. Greenwood/C. Greenwood/O’Brien/Selway.
Published by EMI Music Publishing © 2001

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The Keeley Chronicles PART 23

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a murder still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

Part 23 CONTENTS
Chapter 62: A Strange Glow in the Sky
Chapter 63: The Light that Burned So Brightly
Chapter 64: Reaching into the Night
Acknowledgements for Part 23

 

Chapter 62: A Strange Glow in the Sky

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Slow Train Coming: Bath Spa station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Floating out on the tide
Following the river of death downstream
Oh, is it a dream?
There’s a fog along the horizon
A strange glow in the sky
And nobody seems to know where you go
And what does it mean

Art Garfunkel – ‘Bright Eyes’

 

“See you soon! Happy Easter!” were the last words Inga wrote to her parents, in a postcard she sent from London on Saturday April 2nd 1988, four days before she was murdered in Northern Ireland. Although she would speak with them by telephone when she rang them on each of the last four days of her life, those were the very last words she would commit to paper addressed to the two people who brought her into the world and raised her. It is just one of the many tragic facts of Inga’s case that she would not see them soon as she had written. Instead she would never see them or anyone else she knew ever again.

After visiting Cambridge on the following day, April 3rd, Inga returned to London where she caught a connecting train to Oxford. It was there I discovered she made her way by bus to Headington to stay at the youth hostel, steps that I retraced and covered in Parts 21 and 22. The next morning Inga made her way on foot to New Marston where she caught a bus to return to Oxford city centre. On her arrival she made her way back to Oxford train station where she boarded her next train. This time, she was bound for the largest city in the county of Somerset: Bath.

Thirty years on I would continue to retrace the same route when I boarded the train at Oxford and watched from a window as ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’ drifted into the distance. My next stop would turn out to be a nondescript-looking place but one with a great-sounding name – Didcot Parkway. There I had to change trains and wait for the one to Bath Spa. I sat out the short wait in a shelter where myself and the other passengers silently watched as raindrops rattled the plastic shutters. While there I remembered I’d stored in my backpack a banana and yoghurt that I’d taken from the breakfast buffet at the Oxford youth hostel. This would fill the breach for lunch. Not long after, the familiar sound of a shuddering engine and the clattering of tracks could be heard – the train for Bath had arrived.

Due to having had no access to shampoo or conditioner at the youth hostel I couldn’t wash my hair and so had to resort to using the dry shampoo I’d bought in Oxford. That and the fact the rain that didn’t relent all day resulted in my hair being at its absolute worst (which is really saying something). During the train journey I pulled the can of dry shampoo out of my backpack and due to being lost in thought due to the nature of the trip I was on, it didn’t occur to me that spraying a can of dry shampoo on a train in close proximity to other passengers might cause a problem. After several short blasts from the canister I received a short blast myself from the seat behind me as a man who was subjected to several sudden gusts of dry shampoo gasped for breath and swiftly requested I halt my impromptu hair salvage operation. Turning around I apologised profusely before sheepishly sinking back into my seat. Another life lesson learned, I resolved to try being an unobtrusive presence for the remainder of the journey – avoiding gassing anyone else with my dry shampoo would be a start.

Clutching my backpack to my chest I watched as the golden country kingdom of Somerset eased into view. Any minute now I would be in Bath. ‘Another Town, Another Train’ in the words of the song by ABBA. Except Bath isn’t just another town. It’s a unique place rich in Roman history. Suddenly there was an announcement over the intercom, “We will shortly be arriving at Bath Spa. Next station, Bath Spa”.

Stepping off the train and onto the platform with the other passengers I watched as they quickly left me for dust. I hung back, transfixed by the images flashing through my mind of Inga’s arrival in the same station some three decades previously. Having studied a photo of the platform and station as it was in April 1988 I was amazed to see how little had changed. It was as if the frenetic pace of change that had wrought such developments and differences on the rest of the world in the interim had forgotten to include Bath in the supposed pursuit of progress. It was eerie to see how little had changed. It would soon become more eerie still.

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Jumping Someone Else’s Train: Bath Spa station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I made my way along the platform until suddenly I noticed a small tourist centre to my left. Spontaneously entering this quaint-looking kiosk I asked the lady on duty for advice on where to visit in Bath. The only documented evidence Inga had been in Bath was her diary entry, “Decided to go to Bath”. What she actually did while she was there has been sadly lost in the mists of time. But she had gone to Bath, and that was why I was here.

When Inga visited Bath she was on a sightseeing trip as a tourist. So I thought I should ask the lady in the tourist centre at Bath Spa station what was the number-one tourist attraction in Bath, as I guessed that to be the most likely place Inga would have gone to after leaving the station. She replied, “The Roman Baths. It’s the single most must-see place in Bath”. So it was to there I headed next.

 

Chapter 63: The Light That Burned So Brightly

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A little-known photo taken by Inga in Bath, Somerset. Photo: Inga-Maria Hauser ©1988

 

Bright eyes, burning like fire
Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?

Art Garfunkel – ‘Bright Eyes’

 

It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach The Roman Baths on foot. Along the way I came across a sight that instantly struck me as being very familiar. It was a park that had a circular path, trees and wooden huts with buildings encircling it. Having never been to Bath before in my life, and having never even looked at any photos of Bath apart from the above photo of the train station which I had included in one of the early parts of The Keeley Chronicles, for a moment I could not understand why this particular scene looked so familiar. But I couldn’t stop looking at it, it just seemed so familiar.

Then suddenly it dawned on me.

Inga.

She had taken a photo capturing this very scene. It had been imprinted on my subconscious mind from the moment I saw it and now the memory of it was being triggered by my unwittingly arriving at the same place. I took several photos of the view from this vantage point and upon later comparing the photos I took with the one Inga took in 1988 it was remarkable to me that, just as I had found at Bath Spa train station, how little had changed after 30 years. But more significant was that I now knew she had been at this exact spot, and given that it was directly along the route to The Roman Baths and roughly five minutes’ from there on foot I felt it even more likely now that she had visited The Roman Baths after all, the place where I had taken a blind gamble on her having been. I listened to Belinda Carlisle’s song ‘Circle in the Sand’ as I walked. The words of this song, a hit single in the UK and Ireland in May 1988, the month after Inga died, provided a fittingly symbolic soundtrack… “Anywhere you go, we are bound together. I begin where you end, some things are forever”.

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The park I stumbled upon where Inga took a photo in on the day she was in Bath.
Photo by Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I would have liked to explore the park but darkness was descending and The Roman Baths wouldn’t remain open for much longer. Plus, I was still going to have to find out how to get all the way from Bath in Somerset to Preston in Lancashire which was halfway up the country, in order to catch the connecting train to Inverness tonight. I had banked on being able to sleep on the train to Scotland as Inga had, otherwise I’d have to sleep in a train station which would ruin the chronology that I was determined to follow to the letter or at least in as much as was possible. So I resumed walking and soon reached Bath Abbey. I made my way in and sat on a pew roughly halfway inside the vast stained glass-clad church. It was very grand, very cold and very empty – characteristics that nowadays all churches seem to share.

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Empty Chairs: Bath Abbey. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After a couple of minutes in the abbey I lost interest in it, and so I stepped outside. There was a market in full flow and hordes of people were coming and going, noisily circulating a succession of stalls. But my mind kept returning to the source of the cause…She almost certainly had been in this same place. I was struck by the sight of people walking around seemingly without a care in the world. They were walking around here where Inga had almost certainly once been and life was carrying on as normal – except she had spent the past thirty years in a grave and her killers had spent the interim living, working, procreating. And getting. Getting a home. Getting their hole. Getting away on holiday. Getting away with murder. Where is the justice in that? That cannot be right. And this cannot go on.

 

Chapter 64: Reaching Into the Night

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Feel Flows: In the underground caves at The Roman Baths. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Is it a kind of a shadow?
Reaching into the night
Wandering over the hills unseen
Or is it a dream?
There’s a high wind in the trees
A cold sound in the air
And nobody ever knows when you go
And where do you start
Oh, into the dark

Art Garfunkel – ‘Bright Eyes’

 

I stood for a few moments in the courtyard of Bath Abbey. It was getting dark. Next I headed for the entrance to The Roman Baths. I paid for a ticket and went inside. It was full of historical exhibits of ancient archaeology and led into a large underground area of tunnels and dark spaces. I wandered through the museum and the baths trying to ‘get into it’ and experience it like any other tourist visiting here for the first time but all I could think of was her. The thought of her being here and her every step unwittingly leading her ever closer to disaster across the water just a couple of days later. I then entered some sort of steam room that had archaeological significance. My having arrived so close to closing time meant there was no one else around. Suddenly out of nowhere I started crying. The emotional intensity involved in retracing her footsteps was now really beginning to bite.

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The Same Deep Water As You: The Roman Baths. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I walked through another underground tunnel and there in a dark corner lay a number of carved stone exhibits. Just past these was a large computer screen that gave a presentation about something called the Bath Curse Tablets. Curse tablets I would learn are small metal sheets inscribed with curses against specific people and were used in popular magic throughout the Roman world. These tablets dated from the second to fourth centuries A.D. However the inscriptions on the tablets were not published in full until – of all years – 1988, by the historian Roger Tomlin. One particular inscription immediately stood out to me. It read:

Do not allow sleep or health to him who has done me wrong…

The words struck me as being eerily-appropriate.

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The Writing’s On the Wall: Bath Curse Tablet. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The words “Do not allow sleep or health to him who has done me wrong” had echoes of something else in relation to Inga. In her rendition of the ancient English folk song ‘Greensleeves’ Inga sang the words, “You do me wrong, to cast me off discourteously”. As I stood in The Roman Baths where she had likely visited two days before she was murdered I thought of what she might think if she was aware of all that had happened – and more to the point, all that hadn’t happened – since the night she was murdered. I think it’s reasonable to assume that in the event of there being such a thing as heaven, and if Inga is ‘up there looking down’ as some say, she would have to be horrified at how things have turned out. That her murder would remain unsolved 31 years on at the time of writing. That those responsible for her attack and murder would all these years later still not have yet seen the inside of a courtroom let alone a prison cell. That her dad would die without seeing justice and without ever getting to be aware of any of the developments in his daughter’s case that have occurred in recent years. That her mother would succumb to a very serious illness, denying her the chance to be able to comprehend the significant developments in her daughter’s case and that would entail her being unable to ever comprehend justice being done, if and when justice is done. That Inga’s reputation would at one point be dragged through the mud with a sordid slew of scurrilous allegations being concocted to form the basis of tabloid articles. In the light of all that, if her spirit was somehow aware of all that has happened – and that hasn’t happened – since 1988 how could she be anything other than horrified? How could anyone ‘Rest in peace’ in those circumstances?

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History: Archaeological stone exhibit at The Roman Baths. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After leaving The Roman Baths I made my way back to the train station. It had been a long day, and it was set to be an even longer night. Since waking in Oxford at 7am in the morning, I had already been to Oxford city centre, New Marston, Headington, Didcot Parkway, Bath Spa and The Roman Baths. My next destination was Bristol, where Inga had had a very short stopover in the process of making a train connection on her way to the North of England. However in Bath Spa station upon my making enquiries at the ticket office regarding the various options I had of reaching Preston and travelling towards Inverness that night, I encountered an unpleasant member of rail staff named Marek who berated me when he learned I was basically making up my travel plans as I went along. “It’s a freewheeling vibe. That’s how I roll”, I said. He looked distinctly unimpressed. This same member of rail staff informed me that it would be “impossible” to make the sleeper train to Inverness with my only leaving Bath at 7pm in the evening. He also said my Interrail pass would not be enough for me to travel on the sleeper train anyway. It turned out that all seats on the sleeper train need to be specifically reserved, which was something I was not aware of beforehand. Furthermore he claimed that all of the seats on the sleeper train appeared to be fully booked-up so reserving me a seat would not be possible. “And why do you want to go to Preston anyway? And what the hell are you doing going all the way to Inverness?!” he unhelpfully whined. In the spirit of Inga I decided to gamble and set off for Bristol anyway…

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 23

This instalment is dedicated to Lyra McKee, whose cowardly murder by dissident republicans during a riot in Derry occurred as I was completing this part of the blog. Lyra was a friend, author, fearless journalist and beacon for LGBT people everywhere. I met her through my work on Inga’s case and will always remember her as the most happily-in-love person I ever had the pleasure to meet. I have her to thank for putting me in touch with George Caskey and for her kind offer to pass on the manuscript of my book to one of her publishers. RIP Lyra xxxx

Photography by Inga-Maria Hauser ©1988 & Keeley Moss ©2018

Bright Eyes written by Mike Batt. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC ©1979

The Keeley Chronicles PART 22

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

36. Aug 11th (crop) reduced to 70%

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 22 Contents
Chapter 59: The City of Dreaming Spires
Chapter 60: Heading on to Headington
Chapter 61: Late in the Day
Acknowledgements for Part 22

 

Chapter 59: The City of Dreaming Spires

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Moonlight Medicine: A rainy night in Oxford. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

And she will always carry on
Something is lost
Something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change
Some stay the same

Keep beckoning to me
From behind that closed door

The Pretenders – ‘Hymn to Her’

 

After arriving in London in the early morning I made my way from Gatwick Airport onto the rail network and from there across the city to King’s Cross where I switched onto the London Underground. After exiting the byzantine maze of the underground network and spending a few hours exploring the Baron’s Court and Charing Cross areas it began raining more and more heavily until it became a full-on torrential rainstorm. By this point it was now dark, and I realised it was time to leave the capital and head for where I hoped to stay for the night: Oxford, where I had booked to stay in the youth hostel. Just as Inga had on the night she was here, April 4th 1988.

But London is so big, and its rail network so sprawling, that to get to Oxford from the part of London I was in would require going from Baron’s Court tube station to Earls Court on the Piccadilly Line before having to cross over onto the District and Circle Line and then take a tube to Paddington tube station before exiting the underground again and leaving behind the quizzical looks from the staff at my Interrail pass and following a short walk through Westminster, entering the mainline rail network at London Paddington from where I would catch the evening train to Oxford, passing through the Berkshire towns of Slough and Reading en route.

It had been a whistle-stop day, and all on precisely zero sleep the night before, but I had never felt more alive, nor flooded with more energy and purpose. However at the same time a sad-eyed sense of melancholia was never far from my heart. I knew why I was here. Retracing her steps, thirty years on. So far the trip had been a case of grappling with very conflicting emotions. On the one hand, excitement at being in new and unfamiliar places. And doing so alone only heightened the sense of adventure, of having to live on my wits and rely on no one else as I attempted to navigate the complex maze of rail links and transport connections unique to London that is so unlike my native Dublin with its mere two railway lines by comparison. On the other hand, everywhere I went in London the air seemed to hang heavy with poignancy. But was it something I tuned into because Inga’s case and untold story is something I’ve been living day and night for the past few years? Or was I mistaken due to being so wrapped up in this and am I possibly now incapable of perceiving anything through an Inga-less prism? I wasn’t sure. Thirty years had passed since 1988, the world has changed in so many ways during that time, and yet… As the saying goes, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’. Justice in this case remains a frustratingly-elusive pursuit, for a number of years now it’s been in the PSNI’s words “Tantalisingly close” – and indeed a resolution is currently closer than ever before but still at the time of writing it remains one step beyond.

As I stood in the vast expanse of Paddington station where Inga had herself stood on a bright spring day in 1988 blissfully-oblivious to the horror that hovered ever closer, I felt a combination of sorrow and hope flow through my bones. I don’t consider myself a particularly spiritual person, and perhaps my sleepless state was making me a tad more delirious than usual, but I’d had a feeling all day that was simply indescribable. I couldn’t be sure what it meant, if anything. I’ve followed my heart with this ever since I first came across Inga’s case and was drawn to it like the fabled moth to a flame, and the subsequent bewildering odyssey has been as much of a journey of discovery for me as it has been for the readers of this blog. Where it’s going to end up, I don’t know. I hope, with justice for Inga, like we all do. But as I wrote at the close of Part 21, if the last week of Inga’s life was all about journeys, and her incredibly-complex and remarkably-enduring unsolved case has been a journey in every sense, then this is a journey that needs a final destination.

My own destination as I left London that evening in the process of retracing Inga’s steps was the place Victorian poet Matthew Arnold had termed “The city of dreaming spires” after the architecture of its university buildings. Oxford, with its famous postcode as namechecked in the song ‘OX4’ by the group Ride. Oxford, home town of the mighty Radiohead, Supergrass and the aforementioned Ride. Suddenly after ninety minutes or so the train began to slow to a stop. The doors opened and I stepped onto the platform of the same station Inga had arrived at on April 4th 1988. For a few moments I stood there blinking under the harsh sparkle of the sodium lights while trying to picture her arrival at this same station all those years ago. When she stepped off the train here, she was at her most ebullient, having just spent a joyously lighthearted few days sightseeing and exploring London and Cambridge. For a free spirit such as Inga the first flush of real independence that her backpacking trip involved provided precisely the sort of adventure she had yearned for back in Haidhausen.

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This is Oxford: The train station pictured on arrival. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

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She’s Like the Wind: Of all the things to be advertised on the Oxford station platform when I was there – a theatrical production of 1988’s biggest movie. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I left the platform and made my way through Oxford station. With every motion, in every moment she was there at the back of my mind, hovering in my thoughts. Every step I took was accompanied by the awareness that she had strode the same steps. Except where she had done so unconsciously, purely concerned with getting from A to B, I was doing so with the incessant presence of her memory casting its inescapable shadow. I walked through the exit of the train station and made my way towards the youth hostel which was situated approximately five minutes away on foot.

YHA Oxford. Here it was. Here I was. I went inside and checked in. I was led to a dormitory that I was to share with three other women, all of whom it turned out were older than me. Having been the last of them to make my booking there, there was only the top bunk bed remaining but I didn’t mind. This was a spiritual mission during which any comfort would be a luxury. I would have slept anywhere. I was anticipating literally sleeping anywhere the next night, if at all, when I would have to take the sleeper train to Inverness. So I was not fazed by the prospect of sleeping in a bunk bed in a dormitory with three strangers. I was intent on doing whatever it took to research my book to the fullest extent and in the process honour the spirit of Inga’s 1988 backpacking trip.

I made my introductions and soon fell into conversation with the other women in the dorm. The oldest of them in particular had an interesting backstory. She was in the process of taking her ex-husband to court to try to win a large proportion of the assets that had been accrued during the time they were married and while she was waiting for the case to reach court she was living in the youth hostel. This woman had seemingly spent much of her life living in hostels and knew a great deal about the history of Oxford youth hostels in particular. When I explained to her why I was staying there, that I was retracing the steps of a special person who had been murdered thirty years before and who I had spent the previous three years writing about and campaigning on behalf of her unsolved case, she informed me that while the YHA was the original youth hostel that had been in existence since the 1930s the actual location had changed a number of times over the years. When I enquired specifically as to where it had been located in 1988, she was able to tell me not only where it was located, but that she herself had stayed there that very year. She had no recollection of Inga however, who like myself had only stayed for one night at Oxford YHA. But this woman directed me to the staff on duty at the hostel, two women named Belen and Noemi who were so helpful in providing me with key information that revealed the history of the YHA replete with photographs of the building as it looked in the 1980s and the name of the hostel manager who presided over it at the time Inga stayed there.

The next morning I rose soon after dawn in order to catch breakfast in time which as is typical for hostels and hotels was set to finish very early in the morning. I chose a number of items from the buffet and sat down beside a large group of students from whose accents I could tell just happened to be from Germany of all countries. I soon struck up a conversation with several of them. I couldn’t resist asking if they were from Munich (they weren’t) and mentioning the reason I was there. But none of them had ever heard of Inga. Mindful as I was that I would be on the road, and rails, all day and due to having to embark on a succession of rail journeys that would take me from the Thames Valley to the Scottish Highlands I might not get a chance to eat for many hours, I resolved to avail of as much food as I could from the breakfast buffet. To be honest I went back and forth to the buffet several times and by the time the canteen had emptied I had stuffed myself. It was just then that I remembered the words Inga had written in her diary in the same youth hostel in the same city thirty years earlier: “Went to Oxford. Stayed at the youth hostel. Ate too much!” And here I was in the very same place doing exactly the same thing without even realising it. What was going on here?

After breakfast I decided to spend some time in the library that was situated near the canteen. There was no one else in there so I had the place to myself. When I approached the book shelves to browse the titles available, I was struck by the sight of several books and travel guides written in German. It seemed that everywhere I turned there was some reminder of Inga. Always absent, and yet somehow present.

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Read it in Books: German-language tomes in the youth hostel’s library. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Soon I was back in the dorm, packing my backpack and bidding the staff farewell before stepping out into the drizzle that fell from the slate-grey skies above. That morning in Oxford I felt such an odd combination of feelings, something that would persist and gradually intensify over the course of the four days I spent retracing Inga’s steps. Excited. Haunted. Determined. Melancholy. Accompanied by a lingering longing. It all made for a heady brew of emotional elixirs.

Next I visited a mall in the city centre where I bought various toiletries such as dry shampoo in an ill-fated attempt to control my ever-troublesome hair which the wind and rain would play havoc with over much of my ensuing time in the UK. Then I paid a trip to the city library, all the while wondering if Inga had done likewise during her stay in the same city. As much as I know about her movements there are some things she didn’t elaborate on very much in either her diary or the postcards she sent to friends and her parents where her journeys were concerned. “Went to Oxford. Stayed at the youth hostel. Ate too much!” That was it. Those eleven words were the sum total of all I had to go on where trying to trace her movements in “The city of dreaming spires” was concerned. But those eleven words would have to do. And indeed they would do. After all, they had taken me this far – and the remaining words she had written while she was in the UK would take me a lot further.

 

Chapter 60: Heading on to Headington

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Going Blank Again: The author en route to Inga’s original youth hostel on the outskirts of Oxford. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Where did you go?

Well she’s gone to meet her maker
Back to where she came from

She took her life within her hands
She took her life within her own two hands

And I believe in you
I believe in you

Eurythmics – ‘Angel’

 

From Oxford I travelled to Headington, a large residential area several kilometres to the east of the city. With my backpack on my shoulders I ran to catch the number 8 bus in the centre of Oxford bound for New Marston, hopping on board seconds before it took off. During the journey I gazed out the window at the streets and suburbs, the fields and the foliage, as droplets of rain trickled down the window pane, all the while conscious of where I was going and why. I’d asked the bus driver to let me know when we reached New Marston as I didn’t have a clue where I was going and thankfully she remembered to holler just in time for me to heed her call. And so it was that I stepped onto the rain-soaked soil of New Marston on this grey and rainy afternoon in Oxfordshire. From there I walked a short distance before arriving in Headington, and from there it was only another short walk until I found myself at the bottom of Jack Straw’s Lane. The relevance of this location to Inga has never been disclosed before. But it is here, at the very top of this long street where 32 Jack Straw’s Lane is situated. And it was here where Inga had slept in a bed for the very last time, on the night of Monday April 4th 1988. From 1936 until 2001 this was the location of the Oxford YHA (youth hostel). Nowadays the building is divided into two sections, one section of which is a day nursery run by the University of Oxford. When I reached the building, I spoke with staff in both sections of the building, none of whom were aware of Inga’s case let alone that the building in which they were now working had a poignant connection to a special person who had been murdered only a couple of nights after she’d stayed there thirty years ago.

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Endless Road: The author at Jack Straw’s Lane, Headington, Oxfordshire. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Standing outside the building I had a clear view of the rooms on the second floor that had in 1988 been dormitories, one of which Inga had stayed in. It was a very emotional moment. I was struck by the thought that when she stayed here, and slept here, and possibly dreamed here, she was in the midst of the happiest time of her life. But that that would come shuddering to a grinding halt a mere two nights later when what her mother Almut had described as “Her greatest dream” would give way to what is any woman’s worst nightmare. And now here I was thirty years on, in possession of all of the hindsight but hamstrung by the inability to go back in time. It was intensely frustrating to stand there, in the same spot she had once stood, armed with the knowledge that could have altered the course of her life and the lives of many others but it being an impossible task to act on that knowledge due to the fact it concerned events that had occurred so long ago. I stood looking up at those windows for some time.

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Red Brick Dream: The author in front of the original YHA building in Headington, Oxfordshire. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The rain was falling more heavily now so after one last look I turned to leave. As sad and ultimately frustrating as it had felt to be there, I was glad I had come. I was going to do it right, or not at all. Walking back down Jack Straw’s Lane towards New Marston was an eerie and intense experience. You see, I knew she had taken these same steps thirty years ago. It’s a one-way lane so there was no other way to reach the bus stop that would take her back into Oxford and towards the train station. At the outset of this trip I had resolved to “retrace her footsteps” but even at that point I did not envisage myself literally retracing her exact steps. At that moment I was again struck by a feeling that was simply indescribable. It was beginning to dawn on me that this day and the subsequent days and journeys were probably going to be on a whole different emotional level than even the three previous tumultuous years I had spent working on Inga’s case and my gradually discovering and communicating her untold story to the wider world.

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Down That Road: Jack Straw’s Lane, Headington, Oxfordshire. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 61: Late in the Day

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Another Time: A still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s movements that depicts the girl who portrayed Inga about to alight the train from London at Oxford station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2019

 

This night these memories lost and found
Are taking over me
I could see your picture and hear the sound
Of the song you sung to me

You gotta feel and take every chance
You did the right thing
A road a thousand miles away
Out of trace and in another time
You did the wrong thing
Why’s life so unkind?

For always and ever it’s getting better
I feel your steps with mine
I’m moving on like it said in the letter
Another place, another time

Ride – ‘1000 Miles’

 

Arriving back in Oxford city centre, I headed straight for the train station. Drifting through the station building as the hordes swarmed around, I saw a sea of people wading through the day on their way to wherever it was they’d be found. Once again with my brain beset by visions of her walking through this same place in 1988, a blur of blonde hair and blue jeans with a head full of dreams.

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People pass along the way: Oxford railway station, main concourse. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

My next destination was Bath, which would necessitate a change of trains at Didcot Parkway. To fill time while I waited for the train, I sought out a couple of rail staff and once I had established their familiarity with the working practises at Oxford station in the relevant time period of 1988, I conducted an impromptu interview there and then. From them I learned that the subway where Inga had entered from the platform in order to make her way from Oxford station to the high street had since been boarded up and had only a few months prior to my arrival been filled in with concrete. The location of the former subway entrance however was still visible and is situated directly behind the staircase of the bridge that had been erected to replace the subway Inga had walked through. After finishing the interview I thanked them both and passed through the barrier with the aid of my trusty Interrail pass. What happens now?

I stood there on the platform listening to music. My train was due to arrive in a few minutes. Then all of a sudden I started crying. It was the first time during the retracing of Inga’s steps that this had happened. Why was it happening here, and why now? It was such a nondescript scene. A railway platform in south central England on a grey, wet afternoon. But she had stood here, and she’d gotten off and on a train here. This station formed a link in the fateful and ultimately fatal sequence of events that followed.

And it was here that even after all these years I could sense a trace of sorrow and longing hanging in the Oxfordshire air.

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Leave Them All Behind: The station platform Inga arrived at and the next day left Oxford from as it appears today. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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As It Is: The location of the former subway entrance at Oxford station as it appears today. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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When It Was: A still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s movements that depicts the girl who skilfully portrayed Inga entering the subway at Oxford station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2019

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–—————————————————-

Acknowledgements for Part 22

Hymn to Her written by Meg Keene. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC ©1986

Angel written by Stewart/Lennox Published by D ‘n’ A Ltd./BMG Music Publishing Ltd. ©1989

1000 Miles written by Mark Gardener. Published by Ride Music LLP/EMI Music ©1994

Thanks to Noemi Sanchez and Belen Campos at YHA Oxford for going above and beyond the call of duty.

The Keeley Chronicles PART 21

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 21 Contents
Chapter 55: Walking In Your Footsteps
Chapter 56: Planning the Trip
Chapter 57: London
Chapter 58: Leave the Capitol
Acknowledgements for Part 21

 

Chapter 55: Walking In Your Footsteps

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Already Gone: A still from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s case. The young woman playing the part of Inga can be seen here to the right of the picture, carrying Inga’s actual backpack and other belongings as she makes her way towards the platform in the process of catching a British Rail train

 

I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled
These city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

U2 – ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’

 

I can’t remember the exact moment it first occurred to me. But at some point towards the end of 2018 the idea popped into my mind, and once it had I couldn’t shake it loose. Gradually over a period of months the initial idea congealed into a firm plan. For anyone familiar with this case, Inga was murdered on the night she arrived in Northern Ireland. But her visit to “the North” as it is most commonly referred to by people in my home city of Dublin was only supposed to be brief, she had planned to travel on to Dublin the next day, ahead of a meeting in Wales a couple of days later, and was expected back in school in Munich very soon after that. For years the extent of Inga’s unfulfilled potential has gnawed away at me. But the abrupt and brutal ending of her path through life isn’t the only journey that was so prematurely curtailed. The other, more immediate journey denied to her is the one she was in the process of completing when she was killed. Larne to Belfast. Belfast to Dublin. And beyond. A fact that had sat uncomfortably in the back of my mind for as long as I’ve been writing and campaigning on her behalf. A journey incomplete. A mission unfulfilled. On the night of April 6th 1988 when she was killed, her plans were just left hanging in the air, with no resolution, no ending. And that bothered me until I got the idea to try to complete that mission.

But I wanted to go further. And start where she had, all those years ago. It would mean retracing her steps. It would mean going to London. And travelling on to Oxford. Then to Bath. Then onto the train stations of Bristol, Liverpool and Preston before venturing to the Scottish highlands of Inverness before making train connections at two separate Glasgow stations before a further rail connection at Ayr, then going on to Stranraer and catching a ferry to Larne in Northern Ireland. And then, attempting to complete the part of the journey where Inga ran into disaster, by trying to get to Belfast, and then moving on to Dublin. I work every weekend in Dublin, and would have to try to fit this epic trek into a four-day period. So I wouldn’t be able to try go on to Cardiff or Munich. But I felt that if I could retrace the last four days of Inga’s life, and complete a couple of extra legs of the journey that she never got to, then that would be a fitting, living tribute to her inspiration. I also envisaged it providing me with a key insight into aspects of her trip, that would expand my understanding of exactly how far she had travelled and to see and hear with my own eyes and ears just what she had had to go through to get as far as she had on the night she was murdered. I felt that in turn this would benefit the book I’m writing about her life and the case. And I got that. But I got more. A lot more. Little did I know when starting out just how close to the flame I would get.

Over the next twelve months I’m planning on sharing the story of this spiritual mission here. Before I left for the trip, I anticipated covering it in the blog over one or two parts. But on returning in early December and sifting through the amount of material that I gathered on my travels I realised that I would have to devote an instalment to each leg of the journey. There ended up being 25 legs in all, so even with compressing the journey as concisely as possible it would take a minimum of a dozen parts of the blog to tell the story. Each instalment of this blog takes approximately one month to write and edit, simultaneously while working on completing my book on Inga’s life story and the complete history of her unsolved case while holding down a day job (that is unrelated to my work on Inga’s case) in the meantime. So another twelve parts of this blog will take approximately twelve months. But my passion for this person and her cause is such that it wouldn’t deter me even if it would take twelve years. Being a very passionate person, whenever I’m committed to something, I go all-out.

I did consider not posting the story of my retracing Inga’s steps. I know that doing so will potentially make me a target for a troll or two out there. But you know what? Bring it on. I have yet to let leeches limit my life, and I’m not going to start now. Not with the fire that burns like a furnace inside me. So I’m going to do this, and will approach it with the same spirit I approached the backpacking trip with. Which is I believe the same spirit Inga approached her own backpacking trip with. And come what may. Because the way I see it, if Inga can inspire me to write songs and this blog and to follow in her footsteps, if she can inspire John Dallat MLA in the way she does, if she can inspire Oliver McParland to paint her magnificent portrait (see Part 19), if she can inspire poets such as Clare McCotter and Colin Sloan (see Part 15), if she can command the compassion and respect of practically the entire community of North Antrim then ultimately she lives on. And in this regard it could be said she is more alive than her killers, who I don’t see inspiring anyone. For Inga is no longer a footnote in the dusty annals of faded newspapers, she has risen to become an increasing source of inspiration for the living.

As I quoted at the beginning of Part 19, as Bob Dylan once said, “The highest purpose of art is to inspire”. Well, if that is true, and I believe it is, so it follows that the highest purpose of life is to inspire. Therefore it stands to reason that the more Inga inspires, the more of a presence she has in the modern-day world. If what happened to her had happened to me at the age of 18, and if I’d had the choice of being an inspirational icon or not, I would definitely prefer the former to the latter, regardless of the fact I wouldn’t have been around to see it. We can’t bring Inga back to life, and we may not be able to put her killers behind bars. But I can take the inspiration she fuels in me, and use it to think outside the box and try unorthodox things, like publishing the audio of Greensleeves which if my plan had worked could have seen to it that Inga would have played a crucial role in solving her own case, with her own voice that had been silenced on that Spring night in 1988. Inga was very artistic, I’m artistic as well and so I try to honour the spirit of her artistic nature by resorting to artistic means to try keep her dream alive. And what was that dream? In the words of her mum Almut, “Her greatest dream was to travel to Great Britain during the school holidays”.

So, that’s what I was going to do. I would go to the UK and try to honour the spirit of her 1988 trip in as many ways as possible. And try to complete the parts of the journey Inga was prevented from doing. It was something my soul needed to see through. And while it was still 2018 I felt it was even more imperative. Thirty years on from 1988. I would buy an Interrail ticket. I would travel alone. I would stay in the youth hostel in Oxford just as she had. I would sleep on the train to Inverness just as she had. I would try to stay in a hostel when I got to Belfast. I would go wherever, and do whatever was necessary to retrace her steps to the letter. London. Oxford. Bath. Cambridge. London again. Bristol. Liverpool. Preston. Inverness. Glasgow. Ayr. Stranraer. Larne. Belfast. Dublin. Oh, and Cairnryan (which is in Stranraer, and where the ferries to Larne depart from nowadays). In the space of four days.

To the naked eye it might appear a crazy schedule. But one advantage I had is that I knew it was possible. Because Inga had done it, or most of it anyway, and she would have completed it had she been able to. At the outset the thing I was most concerned about was what I felt was a very strong possibility that I would miss at least one of the vital train connections along the way, and that this would screw up my plans, and would see me arrive late back in Dublin, where I had to be back to start a work shift in the suburbs of the city on the Saturday afternoon. My biggest flaw is unpunctuality, something that I have to work at constantly to be better at. Part of the reason for it is my incurable positivity, and thinking I can overcome ludicrous odds to get anywhere at any time. And because I’ve been proved right about that on so many occasions, against all odds, I tend to pack too much into a day, and leave myself with too much to do before I have to be somewhere else. Anyway, I’m working on it but I suspect it’s going to be a lifelong grapple. But in the context of this backpacking trip that was going to involve a huge amount of train journeys, not to mention a ferry crossing, in a relatively short timeframe, I felt I was possibly biting off more than I could chew. I thought there was a good chance I would get stranded in Scotland, or Northern Ireland, and be a no-show at work and possibly get the sack. But I’ve never allowed reality to get in the way of a dream, so I basically decided to sod the consequences and hit the open road.

In doing so I would gain the necessary insight to be able to describe Inga’s movements in the detail I want to be able to in the course of writing the first book about her life and the case. Because I couldn’t rely on received wisdom. Well, I could but I didn’t want to. I thought I’d be short-changing people if I wrote the book and said, “Maybe…” such-and-such, or “Perhaps it was like…” such-and-such. Whilst I obviously wouldn’t be able to return to 1988, and would have to do it in the present day, I would discover that in actual fact, not much had changed since 1988 in many of the places Inga had been in, certainly less than I was expecting. Basically, to quote a half-malapropism of Brian Clough during his infamously ill-fated spell in charge of Leeds United, “I wanted to see with my own eyes and ears”.

Speaking of Bob Dylan, he wrote a song once called ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’. In Dylan’s case it referred to his born-again Christianity. But in my case the cause I want to serve is Inga’s. John Dallat MLA has the exact same motivation, and he’s every bit as dogged and passionate as I am. And I now know that a great many people out there to one extent or another share that interest, many of whom are regular readers of this blog. It’s what I’ve decided to do with my life. Where it’s all going to end up, I don’t know. But to me that’s what life is all about. The journey. And it’s what the last week of Inga’s life was all about. Journeys. From the Hook of Holland to Harwich. From Stranraer to Larne. From Larne to Ballypatrick Forest. From a brave young life to an horrific death. And it could be said that that’s what her unsolved case is about. Journeys. From the past to the present. From invisibility to inspiration. From creation to destruction, and ultimately back to creativity via a strange kind of alchemy.

I should point out that this has nothing whatsoever to do with publicity. Before I left Dublin I only told a few relatives and a handful of close friends about my backpacking trip and the plans I had to retrace Inga’s footsteps, and nobody else. I posted nothing about it in advance on social media, and even when I did start posting about it on my Instagram and Facebook accounts at no point did I explain what I was actually doing, I just shared photos as I went along and left it up to my friends on Facebook to guess what I was doing and why. I was glad I did in the end, as the messages and supportive comments I got from friends (many of whom had by now twigged what I was in the process of trying to achieve) provided some solace over the four days and nights I spent travelling alone all over England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

However it never occurred to me to notify any press in advance. Perhaps I should have, it may have gained Inga’s case another bit of press coverage. But it never occurred to me until several days after I arrived home, and by then I thought it would be too late. Contrary to what a couple of idiots out there think, I have never been motivated by seeking press coverage. On the two occasions that I’ve been asked to appear on a BBC show in connection with Inga’s case, I’ve had hassle afterwards. This hasn’t happened with any of the regional press or print media that my work has been featured in, rather this has only happened after appearing on mainstream shows such as The Nolan Show or Spotlight. Sadly it goes with the territory of mainstream media exposure. I have never sought mainstream media coverage, being as I am an indie/underground girl at heart, but I’ve been approached to participate in these sorts of shows on occasion and if I think it’s something that can help Inga’s case then I’m willing to do it.

Press coverage is not my motivation for anything but apparently some people who have never had press coverage themselves perceive it as some sort of life-changing prize. On the contrary I’ve had press coverage in my native Republic of Ireland (completely unrelated to Inga) on and off for the past twenty years, and it has never made the blindest bit of difference to my life. It’s purely an illusion that it does, and too many people watching too many TV shows are I believe mistaken in regarding it as some sort of glamorous trophy. The reality is a horse of a different colour. Ironically I don’t even own a TV let alone watch any. Anyway, anyone who knows me knows that I had zero expectations when I started this blog. I’d never met anyone in the South who had even heard of Inga’s case, so at that time it never occurred to me that anyone would share my passion and fascination for her case and her cause. It’s heartening that I’ve since been proved wrong in that respect, in the way people of all ages and backgrounds in all sorts of places around the world have responded.

Speaking of all sorts of places, so far over the course of The Keeley Chronicles I have taken the readers to Larne. To Belfast. To Ballypatrick Forest. To Stormont. And most recently, to Glasgow. But this…this backpacking trip, this Interrailing odyssey would mean delving deeper. And arguably darker. It would mean going to places – and I don’t just mean geographically – that would provide some of my stiffest challenges yet. There were certain places that in advance I expected I’d be very emotional at, but that turned out to not be the case. And then there were other places that I didn’t expect to be emotional at, where in fact I was, very much so in one particular place. And there were things I experienced during the course of my backpacking trip retracing Inga’s steps that I wouldn’t have expected in a million years. All that will be covered in later instalments.

 

Chapter 56: Planning the Trip

Keeley Interrail ticket

Ticket to Ride: The author’s Interrail pass. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Every chance
Every chance that I take
I take it on the road

David Bowie – ‘Always Crashing in the Same Car’

 

Once I’d decided I had to do this, I set about making plans. As fate would have it, on the very week that I got the idea for retracing Inga’s steps, the bookstore where I work received a consignment of schoolbags from our warehouse. As soon as I clasped eyes on one it occurred to me that it would make an ideal backpack. In a further odd synchronicity, it was blue, and what’s more a very similar colour blue as the backpack Inga carried through the UK in 1988. So I bought that, and then bought a nice new diary to jot down all the details of the train connections I planned to make. In the diary I also planned to write an account of the trip, just for myself, to keep a record of things as they happened and as something I could store away and perhaps read through some years from now. Next I visited several travel websites, assessing routes to take and basically getting some sort of grasp of the UK rail network which, what with my being Irish and never having lived in the UK, I had little knowledge of.

Then I went to buy my Interrail ticket. Like Inga, I’d never been on a backpacking trip before this one. And had never travelled by Interrail either. So it was all new, and equal parts exciting and haunting. Those mixed feelings – excitement at seeing so many new and unfamiliar places, and haunted by the particular footsteps I was planning to retrace – was something which would intensify over the course of the trip, and would eventually threaten to engulf the trip altogether. This was something I sensed in advance and caused me to feel a certain amount of trepidation about. I knew the whole experience was going to be, for want of a better word, heavy. But I thought I would be pretty well prepared for that. I have lived the details of this case every day of the past three years. How much harder would it be to actually be in all of these places in the same sequence Inga was in them? I didn’t know the answer to that, but one particular leg of the trip gave me the creeps. And not the obvious ones at all. No, I wasn’t in the slightest bit concerned about Larne, or the ferry crossing. I wasn’t actually concerned about my safety anywhere. However on a purely emotional level there was one particular leg of the journey that struck me as being potentially overwhelming: the overnight train trip to Inverness. The thought of (what turned out to be) a twelve-hour train trip through the most remote outposts in the British Isles, chugging upwards over mountainous terrain into the highlands of Scotland in the small hours of the morning, on my own, reliving one of the last journeys made by Inga thirty years ago…Something about the thought of that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Next I purchased a flight to London and a ferry ticket to Larne from P&O, as Sealink the shipping operator that Inga sailed with in 1988 was some years ago taken over by Stena and Stena no longer run a passenger service to Larne. Then I booked in advance to stay a night in the youth hostel in Oxford. I’d be staying in a dormitory, which for a private person like I am wouldn’t be what I would normally choose, but I was determined to honour the spirit of Inga’s trip and follow it to the letter, as much as it was possible to do so. The way I see it, if I’m going to go all the way to Oxford in the course of retracing Inga’s footsteps in order to pay tribute to her, and as research for my book, then it would be a cop-out to book a room in a hotel or a B&B. I would stay in the same place she did, end-of. This was a spiritual mission, a personal pilgrimage, a special thing. I was going to do it right, or not at all.

It only occurred to me a couple of days before I went that I had nowhere in Belfast to stay, so I went online and found a hostel with a bed available. Again it would mean having to share a dorm with a bunch of strangers but that’s exactly what Inga was looking to do had she made it to Belfast.

Typically I left packing to the last minute, having spent the days before I left for the trip too busy to get around to it, and as a result by the time I finished packing it was 4.30am and there was no time to get any sleep, just enough time for a quick breakfast before leaving my flat at 4.45am to go catch the Aircoach to the airport.

And so I was on my way. To begin this mission. Unbeknownst to the handful of people on the Aircoach that morning, one of their fellow passengers was at the outset of an unprecedented travelling odyssey. That morning, as I set off into the drizzle of a Dublin dawn, I wasn’t sure if this crazy trip was going to be possible to navigate in the space of four days. But I needed to try, for the reasons outlined above.

 

Chapter 57: London

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Through the Past, Darkly: A still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s case. The young woman who did a superb job depicting Inga in the documentary (and who bore a striking resemblance to her) is among the throngs of commuters featured here

 

And as the tide flows, the London snows will come
With her cemetery eyes that say
“Oh, how my dark star will rise”
Oh how the dark star will rise

And she will rise

Suede – ‘My Dark Star’

 

After arriving at Dublin airport and tackling the yawning formality of security checks, I boarded the plane and sat in my seat as the minutes ticked down towards departure. But the plane wasn’t going anywhere – due to weather conditions the flights remained grounded on the runway for 90 minutes. Eventually it took off and roughly an hour after that I landed in London, eager to commence my Interrail trip. Needless to say I couldn’t stop thinking of Inga. Imagining her excitement when she arrived in the UK for the first time. Seeing so many things in my mind’s eye.

Arriving in London in the early morning I made my way from Gatwick Airport onto the rail network and from there across the city to King’s Cross where I switched onto the London Underground. Having never used an Interrail ticket before, and having paid €233 including insurance for it, which to my mind is a lot of money but apparently not in comparison with what I’ve since found out is the ludicrous cost of rail travel throughout the UK I assumed that having an Interrail pass allowed me to travel on every train throughout the UK. I didn’t realise that the entire London Underground system was exempt from this! As a result I managed to unwittingly fluke my way onto the tube without a valid ticket in station after station! I had no idea. I got some strange looks from rail staff along the way, some of whom looked at my Interrail pass like it was the most bizarre thing they had ever seen in their life. After arriving at Blackfriars tube station, I went for a walk, thrilled to be in London. Much like Inga, I find it so exciting being abroad in new places, with the thrill of the new and the scent of adventure stirring the senses. The weather wasn’t great – it was windy and would later rain very heavily but just being on this mission felt intensely emotional in a way that is sort of indescribable. I wandered around London, watched a street busker play guitar (very good he was too, see pic below) and then went for lunch in some random place I walked past and decided on the spur of the moment to visit. It was a very freewheeling day. My favourite kind of day. And from all I’ve learned about Inga as a person, her favourite kind as well.

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The Guitar Man: Watching a street busker play in Blackfriars, London. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Then unfortunately my phone died so I couldn’t take as many photos as I would have liked (which will be a recurring theme over the course of the blog posts covering this trip. My days in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were characterised by a near-constant running battle to try to find plug sockets in order to recharge my constantly-dying phone so I could take photos for this blog).

When I returned to Blackfriars station and again attempted to pass through the gate with my Interrail pass, the Thameslink staff member asked to examine my ticket. I confidently handed it over, but after he’d studied it from his mystified expression I thought “Here we go again…” At that point he said he’d have to show it to the station manager. He asked me to remain at the barrier, and off he went. Evidently the manager was unable to solve the mystery either, and so when he returned he told me his manager had never seen such a pass before and that I’d have to take the pass to have it stamped at some kiosk somewhere in the station. After I found the kiosk, it was shut. Great. When it finally opened, the passenger ahead of me in the queue took longer than the Second World War (or so it felt like). When at last I got to present my Interrail pass to the Thameslink rail staff member in the kiosk and told him that I’d been asked to have it stamped by him he looked even more confused than the other station staff. So rather than say that he didn’t know what to do with it he amusingly fudged the issue by humming and hawing and then stamping it with what I later discovered was a totally meaningless stamp! At the time I couldn’t understand why none of the railway staff seemed to recognise what I assumed was a standard Interrail pass, as I would’ve thought that they would see at least a few of these passes every day. “Maybe it’s because I bought it in Dublin, and it’s an Irish version?” I wondered. “Or perhaps Interrail passes have fallen out of fashion since 1988?” I thought, increasingly grasping at straws. What I didn’t know, and only learned later that evening, was that the reason none of the staff recognised it was because clearly no one else with an Interrail pass had ever mistakenly assumed it could be used on the Underground network!

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Passing the afternoon train: Blackfriars tube station, London. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 58: Leave the Capitol

Escalator (Insta Remix)

Going Underground. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Leave the capitol
Exit this Roman shell
Then you know you must leave the capitol

The Fall – ‘Leave The Capitol’

 

After exiting the byzantine netherworld of the underground network and spending some time exploring the Charing Cross area it began raining more and more heavily until it became a full-on torrential rainstorm. By this point it was now dark, and I realised it was time to leave the capital and head for where I hoped to stay for the night: Oxford. Where I had booked to stay in the youth hostel. Just as Inga had on the night she was there, April 4th 1988.

But London is so big, and its rail network so sprawling, that to get to Oxford from the part of London I was in would require going from Baron’s Court tube station to Earls Court on the Piccadilly Line before having to cross over onto the District and Circle Line and then take a tube to Paddington tube station before exiting the underground and leaving behind the quizzical looks from the staff at my Interrail ticket and following a short walk through Westminster, entering the mainline rail network at London Paddington from where I would catch the evening train to Oxford, passing through Slough and Reading en route.

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Station to Station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It had been a whistle-stop blizzard of a day, and all on precisely zero sleep the night before, but I had never felt more alive, nor flooded with more energy, and purpose. But at the same time, a sad-eyed sense of melancholia was never far from my heart. I knew why I was here. Retracing her steps, thirty years on. The whole day was a case of grappling with very conflicting emotions. On the one hand, excitement at being in new and unfamiliar or unusual places. And doing so alone only heightened the sense of adventure, of having to live on my wits and relying on no one else as I attempted to navigate the complex maze of rail links and transport connections unique to London that is so unlike my native Dublin with its mere two railway lines by comparison (one of which goes towards Howth or Malahide, the other of which goes towards Bray or Greystones. That’s it!) But on the other hand, everywhere I went in London the air seemed to hang heavy with poignancy. All the more so because I was only here retracing Inga’s steps because she is unable to do so herself. Thirty years have passed since 1988, the world has changed in so many ways during that time, and yet… As the saying goes, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’. Justice in this case remains a frustratingly-elusive pursuit, for a number of years now it’s been in the PSNI’s words tantalisingly-close and it’s currently closer than ever before but still at the time of writing it remains one step beyond.

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Destination Anywhere: Paddington Station, London. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

But as I stood in the vast expanse of Paddington station, where Inga had herself stood on a bright Spring day in 1988, blissfully-oblivious to the horror that hovered ever closer, I felt a combination of sorrow and hope flow through my bones. I’m not usually a particularly spiritual person, and perhaps my sleepless state was making me a tad more delirious than usual, but I had felt a feeling all day that as I mentioned earlier I found indescribable. I didn’t know what it meant, if anything. I’m still not sure, to be honest. I’ve followed my heart with this from day one all the way back when I first came across Inga’s case and was drawn to it like the fabled moth to a flame, and the subsequent odyssey has been as much of a journey of discovery for me as it has been for the readers of this blog. Where it’s going to end up, I don’t know. I hope, with justice for Inga, like we all do. But as I said earlier, if the last week of Inga’s life was all about journeys, and her incredibly-complex and remarkably-enduring unsolved case has been a journey in every sense, then this is a journey that needs a final destination.

But until then, let there be no doubt

There is a light that never goes out.

 

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Inga-Maria Hauser Inga classic pic better quality

Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

 

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Acknowledgements for Part 21

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For written by Hewson/Evans/Clayton/Mullen Jr. Published by Island Music Publishing ©1987

Always Crashing in the Same Car written by David Bowie. Published by Bewlay Bros. S.A.R.L. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tintoretto Music ©1977

My Dark Star written by Anderson/Butler. Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management ©1994

Leave The Capitol written by Smith/Hanley/Riley/Scanlon. Published by Fall Music Publishers Ltd., Cavalcade Music Ltd., BMG Rights Management ©1981

 

The Keeley Chronicles PART 20

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 20 Contents
Chapter 53: Time Machine
Postscript: Glasgow Central 1988 (A film by Barry Coward)
Acknowledgments for Part 20

 

Chapter 53: Time Machine

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Passing Through Air: Glasgow Central, ground floor. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I’m landing back in this year
Did I ever move?
Did I disappear?

If I could move through time
I’d go back and put it right

Ride – ‘Time Machine’

 

Although I’m Irish, and there are many close links between the Republic of Ireland and Scotland, I had somehow never been there before. I had been to the other ‘Home Nations’ of England, Wales and Northern Ireland many times but never Scotland. When I learned that one of my favourite bands, The House of Love, were set to embark on their first UK tour in five years, and that there would be no Irish date, I resolved to cross the water to see them. Having scanned through the six tour dates, I realised that the only date I would be able to travel over for that wouldn’t clash with my work schedule back in Dublin would be the concert in Glasgow on Thursday November 8th. Having never been to Scotland before and wanting to rectify that made it more appealing. However in the back of my mind there was another, more meaningful reason to go there. For I knew that Glasgow was one of the places Inga had passed through on what turned out to be the last day of her life, April 6th 1988. Due to her hectic schedule that day, which involved near-constant travel, I was aware that she had barely seen any of Glasgow, having only gotten to spend approximately ten minutes walking through the city as she made her way from Queen Street station (where she had disembarked from a train) to Central Station where she had to catch her next train connection, one that would take her to Stranraer, a crucial link in the chain of catastrophe that led to her boarding the Galloway Princess and which would later that night culminate in her murder virtually upon arrival in Northern Ireland.

Once I’d arrived in Glasgow city centre, I resolved to ramble around without the use of a map and just see where I ended up. After roughly an hour of wandering around I suddenly caught sight of Glasgow Central Station. A huge, imposing-looking building replete with a large archway through which traffic passes, Glasgow Central is the principal mainline rail terminus in the city and is protected as a category ‘A’ listed building. I made my approach to it slowly, conscious of wanting to take it all in. All around me people were going about their daily business, focusing on getting to or from the station, about to embark on the next stage of their respective journeys, their minds solely concerned with the here and the now. But to me, for now, the here and the now was irrelevant – for this was the location that on the early afternoon of April 6th 1988 saw the arrival of a German explorer bristling with artistic potential and transfixed with excitement at the prospect of the culmination of her greatest dream, her imminent arrival on the island of Ireland.

Walking into the ground floor level of the station, my mind consumed by visions I could only imagine, I tried to picture Inga taking these same steps, bearing the weight of her backpack on her tired teenage shoulders as she strode into the building on one of the last legs of her journey – and on the last day of her life. With no idea of what lay before her, and no concept of the horror that would follow.

Standing in the lower level, I tried to get my bearings. There was the ticket office…the ticket machines…the escalators. Everything seemed to be where it should be. But really, is it? Where is Inga? In a grave. Where is justice? Still tantalisingly just beyond reach. For all the developments elsewhere in the wider world in the intervening years, suddenly 2018 didn’t seem all that far removed from 1988. Standing here, in this station, it could’ve been 1988. The same orange colour scheme on the ground floor tiles for one thing. I closed my eyes and heard the same sounds – of movement, of people and trains, of whirring escalators, of scurrying footsteps. I felt the same feeling that I had at Larne ferry terminal and at Ballypatrick Forest Park. A feeling that try as I might I just can’t quite describe. A feeling that only music makes sense of in my mind.

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Glasgow Central, ticket office. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I made my way to the ticket office on the ground floor and joined the queue. I wasn’t planning on catching a train. But I wasn’t quite ready to move to the upper level of the station yet. I needed to be here, to feel here. To stand here and soak up the moment. It felt heavy. It always does. But that’s no reason to run from it, no reason to run from the past. The past informs the present. And the present is dependent on learning enough from the past in order to form a better future – or any future at all.

I walked towards the escalators on the other side of the ticket office. Unlike the ones on the far side, these ones would take me to the upper level. I placed my feet onto the escalator and thought of Inga standing in this very same spot. She had definitely stood here, as she entered the station the same way I had, walking in from the street having made her way from Queen Street station. The only way to get to the train she needed to catch was to go to the main concourse on the upper level, and to do that she would have had to take this very same escalator.

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Up the Down Escalator: Going towards the main concourse. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After going up the escalator suddenly I was standing in the main concourse, a far bigger and far brighter section of the building than the level I had just come from, one with natural light rather than the artificial lights down below. I stood there for a moment and looked at the huge expanse before me. She was in my mind’s eye the whole time. 1988. 2018. A feeling of frustration. Taunted by the uselessness of hindsight. The impossibility of turning back the clock, of rewriting history. All we have is now. The future is unwritten. Which makes justice in this case all the more vital. For while we can’t rewrite the past, what we can do is close an open wound, right an ancient wrong, write a better present and form a brighter future in the process.

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Standing Here: Glasgow Central, main concourse. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I stood in the large main concourse and pictured Inga in this same place, her blue backpack, her sleeping bag on top with ‘USAF’ emblazoned on it and her green canvas bag, walking amongst the other passengers, who may have snatched a brief glimpse of this teenage explorer and some of whom may have spared her a thought at the time, perhaps wondering where she had come from and to where she might be headed, all the while never knowing the thousand miles that had passed beneath her feet in the seven days since she had had left her family’s flat in Haidhausen for her first trip abroad on her own. Like Inga, her fellow passengers couldn’t have known just how little time she had left on this Earth. By the time she entered Glasgow Central Station, she had only hours to live.

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Empty Spaces: Glasgow Central Station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I walked around the station’s main concourse and witnessed several trains on their respective platforms. Poised to depart any minute, adhering to an orderly schedule. The trains are all on time. But justice for one of their former passengers is running late. Thirty years late.

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Preparing to leave Glasgow Central. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It was at one of these very platforms from which Inga caught her train to Stranraer that afternoon on the 6th of April 1988. She was here, she walked right through here on her way not just to Stranraer, not just on to Larne, but to the strangest and cruellest fate, to the darkest and longest tunnel of torment. Perhaps it’s just because I’m so wrapped up in her case, but as I cast one last look around the main concourse of the station, I sensed a strong and lingering sadness, a silence without solace, pain where there should be peace. Inga’s trying to make her way to her next destination, but unlike that fresh Spring day in 1988, she isn’t trying to get to a train station or a ferry terminal. She isn’t looking to get to a hostel to put her head down for the night. Her spirit is surely seeking an end to the longest road of all. She was travelling and exploring then, and in a very different way she is still travelling, still searching, still seeking now. Except unlike in April 1988 she isn’t on her own anymore. I’m by her side. So is John Dallat MLA. So too are thousands of people across County Antrim, and many other people in the 106 countries around the world who I can tell from the analytics section read this blog. And this ‘long march’ will go on for however long it takes.

There is a light that never goes out.

 

Postscript: Glasgow Central 1988 (A film by Barry Coward)

This remarkable nine-minute clip was filmed in 1988 but remained unseen for 25 years until it was posted online in 2013. Belonging to a world that’s gone, it poignantly captures the ambience of Glasgow Central at roughly the same time Inga was there.

 

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Inga-Maria Hauser cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality

Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

 

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Acknowledgements for Part 20

‘Time Machine’ lyrics written by Bell/Colbert/Gardener/Queralt. Published by EMI Music Publishing ©1992

Glasgow Central 1988 © Barry Coward 2013

The Keeley Chronicles PART 19

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 19 Contents
Chapter 50: The Everlasting
Chapter 51: The Ghost of You
Chapter 52: Your Time Will Come
Acknowledgements for Part 19

 

Chapter 50: The Everlasting

Inga Oliver Forest

The Painter’s Link: Oliver McParland with his painting of Inga in front of her inscription stone at Ballypatrick Forest Park

 

The highest purpose of art is to inspire

Bob Dylan

 

One of the most fitting and bittersweet things about the movement that has grown up around the campaign for Inga is the increasing amount of artistic projects that are being inspired by her memory. Fitting because of course, Inga was an artist herself, very talented at drawing and making Papier-mâché figures as well as possessing a lovely singing voice and playing the guitar. And bittersweet because out of her murder, which exemplified the depraved depths certain individuals are capable of descending to, here we see a great contrast with the beauty and creativity that other human beings are capable of ascending to. Although at the time of writing Inga’s case remains officially unsolved, it is my information that the police have never been closer to bringing the case to a successful conclusion. In the meantime while we await further developments, Inga’s artistic inspiration is finding new frontiers.

One example of this is Ballycastle artist Oliver McParland who has painted a beautiful mural of Inga entitled The Girl With the Mockingbird based on the photo of her at the zoo first published in Part 12 of this blog last September and to which Oliver had the great idea to add the perfect poetic touch of a mocking bird resting on Inga’s outstretched hand. Regular readers of this blog may remember that in the same Part 12 it was revealed that Inga’s favourite song was ‘Mocking Bird’ by Barclay James Harvest. I later had the idea to use a line from this same song – namely, “Time will see your tears run dry, there’s a mocking bird singing songs in the trees” – for the inscription stone that rests in Ballypatrick Forest as I felt those lines echoed the circumstances of what had happened to Inga there and that as that song meant so much to her those lines would hopefully prove to be most fitting.

It was a masterstroke of Oliver’s to take those two separate elements – the mocking bird of the song, and the photo of Inga at the zoo – and fuse them to form the painting that is the main cover image of this instalment. As quoted at the beginning of this chapter, no less a cultural icon as Bob Dylan once said that the highest purpose of art is to inspire. Well, although Inga was denied the chance to create any more art herself as a result of her murder, remarkably, thirty years after her death she is inspiring new artworks to be born. It’s a bittersweet but beautiful legacy. And in doing so it shows the sheer force of Inga’s cause. I know the impact she’s had and continues to have on me, and likewise the impact she’s had on John Dallat MLA as well as practically an entire community of North Antrim who have taken her to their hearts. In a case awash with so much sadness and human misery, the emergence of these artworks amounts to a rare shaft of light.

This is why I wanted to make it the subject of this instalment. I know that there are some people out there, although fortunately not many, who find the artistic aspects of this blog, the lyrical quotations, the music and poetic references somewhat pointless. But that I think is precisely missing the point. Inga’s case is unique, and so it’s only appropriate that this blog should chart a singular course. Obviously the investigative aspects of the case are vitally important, and I’ve covered them extensively in various parts of the blog. Other true crime blogs tend to focus solely on criminology, on facts and fractures, on gore and gruesomeness. But this is not a true crime blog – it’s the Inga-Maria Hauser blog. One of my central goals with it is to create and maintain a presence for her in the modern world that she was denied the opportunity to see or become a part of. And so the things that were most important to Inga – music, art, people and travel – will continue to loom large across the landscape of this blog. I see this as more than a mere blog, it’s the ongoing chronicle of a crucial crusade. A vast portal, a world within a world. As the philosopher Hegel once wrote, “The truth is in the whole”. And as a result, what John Dallat and I believe is Inga’s legacy as a cause and a muse can be granted yet more ground on which to grow.

After the dying of the light – the everlasting afterglow.

 

Chapter 51: The Ghost of You

_101680581_ingamariatrain

I Travel: One of the remarkable new photos of Inga that was made public for the first time in the recent BBC Spotlight documentary The Life and Death of Inga-Maria Hauser. Photo: Hauser family collection © 1988

 

Still I can’t escape the ghost of you

Duran Duran – ‘Ordinary World’

 

I was contacted earlier this year by a poet from Northern Ireland named Colin Sloan who in an interesting coincidence had lived in the student district of Inga’s home city of Munich in 1988, the year she was murdered in Northern Ireland, and having read this blog, got in touch with me. He has written a poem inspired by Inga that is published here for the first time. It’s a brilliant piece, incredibly moving and with such an authentic-sounding voice it’s as if the words are being intoned by Inga herself. On the one hand it’s Colin’s hypothesis (certainly one of the more plausible ones I’ve come across) of the events that transpired on the fateful night Inga arrived on these shores. And on the other hand it’s something else – a poet grappling with his craft to summon Inga’s voice to rise from the silence, and offer us, the readers, a vision of the possible events of that night from Inga’s perspective.

I think of the songs, books, movies and poems I love as being a doorway to another world – a means to venture beyond the often mundane routines and confines of daily life. The beauty of art is the scope it gives us to enter the ether of another space, where life can take on a different shape, or be shown for exactly what it is, in all its ugly reality and beauty. And to me Colin’s poem very much has that quality. Every time I read it I surrender my surroundings and enter another realm altogether. A mindscape. For the minutes that my mind wanders through his words, I’m there. In the darkness of that beautiful forest on that heartbreaking night.

 

Inga

By Colin Sloan © 2018

Splintering pines perforate this clearing
Sap resin hardens over tears under foliage
Along the lines of broken trees.

You ought to know the way blindfolded
As you have walked it often enough
Without a thought before you met me.

I am the unintended opportunity
Alone with my thoughts
In an unguarded moment
And you latched onto that
Hatching deceit as you befriended me
By the fruit machine in the bar on the ferry crossing over.

I misunderstood the lame excuse
To drive through these woods in that dialect you use
I struggled with my seat belt as the trees began to thicken
Whilst you punched me at will unremittingly
Steering one-handed over the ruts within the fire break lane.

I had come a long way to the place where you left me.
I had placed trust in you to see me right along the way.

I lay in that clearing for two weeks until they found me.
I will not rest in the memory until your dying day.

 

Chapter 52: Your Time Will Come

20180405_113708

A Change Is Gonna Come: Photo by Keeley Moss © 2018

 

No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come

Victor Hugo

 

But that is not all. Others inspired by Inga’s memory to create new artworks include Clare McCotter, whose superb triptych of poems about Inga are featured in Part 15 of this blog (these poems Clare gave a reading of at Inga’s memorial ceremony in Ballypatrick Forest on the 30th anniversary earlier this year) and John Dallat MLA, whose touching poem No Beauty Hath Ever Been Seen was also featured in Part 15 and that I included on the back of the booklet given to all those who attended the memorial event.

In recent times, Clare was inspired to write a further poem about Inga. It is entitled Memorial Deer and in addition to it having been featured in the quarterly collection of poetry FourXFour Poetry NI I have obtained her permission to publish it here.

 

Memorial Deer

After visiting Inga-Maria Hauser’s memorial

By Clare McCotter © 2018

This evening
from the bracken margins
one seemed to clock me
standing beside the date
your tiny hand
first plucked
starfish from the air
that other
etched beneath
when you scratched
and clawed
and bled
but if turned to stone
like the fawn
when a shadow stoops
in long grasses
or the listener
with dark news
pointed at his chest
you might still be here
and loved less
asked to tell
why no bruises
were ever seen
why you didn’t scream
the cedars down
why you couldn’t read
scent messages on the wind.
 
That night
The deer fled
hill mist in their eyes
their hearts snow-drenched tulips.

 

Stunning. One line in particular brings me to tears – The date your tiny hand first plucked starfish from the air. Such poignancy. Visualising Inga as a baby. Because that is what she once was. Long before she became a face on a million printed pages. Long before she entered the annals of crime history. Long before she boarded that bastard boat. Long before she was driven to her death by that hulk of nothingness, that’s what she was – her tiny hands plucking starfish from the air as she opened her eyes for the first time in a Munich maternity hospital ward in May 1969.

And now here we are. Forty-nine years on from her birth. Thirty years on from her death. This is what’s left. This is all there is. But it’s more than all there was for a very long time. In the continued absence of justice, creativity can offer some solace. Inga believed in art and music, she believed in it enough to devote precious time to creating it. And I do too. To quote one of the first songs in the playlist that accompanies this blog, I believe in you.

And so, for the final example in this instalment of creativity inspired by Inga’s case – Inga’s cause – I’ve decided to follow Oliver’s painting and Colin and Clare’s poetry with a piece of my own. In this instance, the words of a song. All the way back in Part 4 of this blog, I made available a song I’d co-written and recorded called ‘422’ – 422 being the total number of passengers on the Galloway Princess the night it sailed from Stranraer to Larne with Inga on board. There is a further significance to the number 422 – this number included Inga, and one of those responsible for her murder. The song ‘422’ can only be heard in Part 4 of this blog, unlike ‘Plundered Past’ it isn’t on Spotify or YouTube, even though I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve been involved in writing. I thought it would be more special for it to only exist in one place. But because I don’t like separating my song words from where they ‘live’ – i.e. inside the song – I never printed the lyrics alongside the clip in Part 4. But seeing how this instalment is all about the creativity that Inga and her case have inspired, and we’ve so far had a painting and two poems, I thought that on account of how much of a big fan of music Inga was, it would be remiss of me not to include the words of a song she inspired.

So here are the words to the song ‘422’ for the first time. Unlike ‘Plundered Past’ which lyrically is a tapestry of facts, memories and excerpts from Inga’s diary that flash back and forward between her childhood and her trip through the UK in April 1988 that culminated in her arrival in Larne and the harrowing events that followed, ‘422’ is a more sombre and reflective piece that focuses on a number of different aspects. The verses are sung from the perspective of the RUC detectives who worked on the original 1988 investigation in the initial stages of the inquiry, and also allude to what happened to Inga. The chorus meanwhile speaks of my belief at the time when I wrote these words (in 2016) that despite the case appearing impossible to resolve, having gone unsolved for 28 years by that time, I felt that the truth would in time emerge. In the chorus I also sing of my belief that some or at least one of the people who are in a position to assist the investigation would do so. I would say that developments over the past ten months in this case have shown that to have been prescient.

Though still the wait for the final reckoning goes on – that day, I believe, will come.

 

422

By Keeley Moss © 2016

Four hundred and twenty-two people
Four hundred and twenty-two paths
Which of them to grill?
And which of them to ask?

Four hundred and twenty-two stories
Four hundred and twenty-two lives
The shadow of Inga-Maria grows behind your eyes

Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths
Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths

Four hundred and twenty-two bodies
Four hundred and twenty-two minds
Most with an innocent hobby
Some crave the fiendish kind

Four hundred and twenty-two reasons
Four hundred and twenty-two flags
She came in on the evening ferry
And left in a body bag

Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths
Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths

 

_____________________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality
Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

© Keeley Moss 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Acknowledgements for Part 19

With thanks to Oliver McParland, Clare McCotter and Colin Sloan. There is a light that never goes out.

Cover painting by Oliver McParland © 2018 used with kind permission

Memorial Deer by Clare McCotter © 2018 used with kind permission

Inga by Colin Sloan © 2018 used with kind permission

‘422’ lyrics by Keeley Moss. Published by Copyright Control © 2016

‘Ordinary World’ written by Le Bon/J.Taylor/Bates/Cuccorullo. Published by Screen Gems-EMI Music Ltd. © 1993

The Keeley Chronicles PART 18

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

  123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 18 Contents
Chapter 45: There is a Light That Never Goes Out
Chapter 46: A Needle in the Haystack
Chapter 47: Eternal Flame
Chapter 48: Completing the Circle, Thirty Years On
Chapter 49: Wish You Were Here
Acknowledgements for Part 18

 

Chapter 45: There is a Light That Never Goes Out

PSNI's Raymond Murray 6.4.18

The last mile, the hardest mile: PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray in Cairnryan, Scotland on April 6th 2018

 

These storms always find her
To remind her

To the endless sky
The pink over grey
She looks for an answer
But it’s too late

Maybe it’s true
Some things were just never meant to be

Maybe not

The Pretenders – ‘The English Roses’

 

At the close of Part 17 I mentioned that it was my intention for this instalment to focus on the meeting John Dallat MLA and myself attended with PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray at police headquarters in Belfast in the week prior to the 30th anniversary of Inga-Maria’s murder. Even though I was confident I could exercise sufficient discretion in discussing aspects of what was a very positive and encouraging meeting without revealing anything too sensitive, I still felt a degree of reluctance about discussing it in public at all. One of the reasons I have twice postponed covering it in this blog – and why I’m only going to reveal limited details of it now – is due to the great respect I have for DCS Murray and his investigation, and my wish to not run the risk of disclosing anything that he might prefer to remain in-house, even though he was clear with me from the outset of the meeting that there would be questions he would be prepared to answer and ones he would not, which was indeed the case, and which I understood and accepted.

I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my appreciation for the time that DCS Murray was willing to grant John and I to discuss the case and for John to inform him of the plans for Inga-Maria’s memorial event. I would also like to acknowledge the courtesy I was personally extended. DCS Murray had in advance proposed that the meeting take place in Belfast rather than Maydown (in Co. Derry) to take into account that I would be commuting all the way from Dublin, a most thoughtful gesture which was much appreciated. Some things from the meeting that I will disclose here is that DCS Murray told me he has read “most” of this blog and that although when he’d been informed that someone had written a blog all about Inga-Maria and the case he had approached it with a fair degree of trepidation, he found the writing “tempered” and “measured”, that “your research is good”, and that this had led him to read most of the reminder of the blog (which to be fair, at this stage after seventeen parts, some of which are considerably longer than those of any blog, is no mean feat). I consider that a great honour for this blog, given DCS Murray’s position in relation to the case. I would suggest that no one in the world knows more about the case than him, for no one else has overseen it for longer and more importantly during a period in which the case has advanced the most since its inception. He also told me he thinks the blog has a significant and beneficial role to play as it “helps to generate empathy for Inga”. I was especially heartened to hear that. For that reason I know I made the right decision to go ahead and self-publish all eighteen parts so far and make it free to read, rather than the alternative of hoarding it in a drawer while sending it to publishers. That might have made commercial sense but would have been of less benefit to Inga-Maria.

DCS Murray is a very busy man, responsible for overseeing not only the investigation into Inga’s murder but is also the head of the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch. Chief Constable George Hamilton, the most eminent figure in policing in the province recently stated in relation to Inga’s case, “DCS Raymond Murray has a strong record in solving historical cases – on the 30th anniversary of this brutal murder he’s back doing what he does best”. One such historical case was the 1981 murder of nine year-old Jennifer Cardy in Ballinderry, County Antrim, the victim of notorious serial child killer Robert Black, for which Black was given a fourth life sentence in 2011, having already been convicted and jailed for life in 1994 for the murders of three young girls in England and Scotland in the 1980’s. The extent of thoroughness which Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray and his team pursued the case against Black can be measured from the fact that circumstantial evidence attesting to Black’s guilt of Jennifer Cardy’s murder had been obtained by searching through petrol receipts – 560,000 in total – stored in his former employer’s archives to ascertain Black’s whereabouts on the dates surrounding Jennifer’s abduction and murder. Black’s trial for the murder began with the prosecutor, Toby Hedworth, stating that the discovery of Black’s signature upon these receipts was as good as signing his own confession. As an aside, can you imagine the unbelievable levels of patience and dedication necessary in sifting through 560,000 documents? And this was only one strand of what was a very wide-ranging and complex investigation. I would ask people to bear that in mind when they question the resolve and commitment, as they have done from time to time in the comments sections of the various parts of The Keeley Chronicles and elsewhere online, of DCS Murray and the PSNI to solve Inga-Maria’s murder. Although of equal importance, I think it’s fair to say that Jennifer Cardy’s murder didn’t have the degree of media focus and public attention that Inga-Maria’s case has been subjected to over the last year. In other words, if the PSNI were that determined to solve Jennifer’s murder, of which just one aspect involved them having to painstakingly sift through 560,000 documents, can you imagine them being any less committed to doing whatever is necessary to solve Inga-Maria’s case?

Jennifer Cardy 1981

Jennifer Cardy

Robert_Black_mugshot

Police mughot of Robert Black taken at Selkirk police station shortly after his arrest in Stow, Scotland in 1990

We ended up getting to spend exactly ninety minutes with DCS Murray which was a considerably longer time than John and I were anticipating, which given his very busy workload meant a great deal and I think it is indicative of the depth of commitment he has to Inga-Maria’s case. The detectives working the case have to be vigilant and mindful of the potential legal implications of any public disclosures, and especially in a case such as this that has in recent times grown to such an iconic level of importance and public interest in Northern Ireland, the stakes have never been higher. But more than anything, at the heart of the investigation, when you strip away all the layers of the legalities, all the witness statements, all the facts and figures and forensic science, there is a young girl who was deceived and destroyed, and ensuring the safest passage for justice to proceed and finally be achieved on her behalf is paramount. The detectives have a job to do, official protocol must be complied with, and I like everyone else desperate to see justice done must be patient in supporting the police to conduct their investigation as they see fit. I’ve looked into DCS Raymond Murray’s eyes and seen for myself the resolve and determination to do all he can to bring the case to a successful conclusion, and it is my own personal belief that it is only a matter of time before he succeeds. So with that said, I hope the readers of this blog will understand that I have to balance my wish to be informative with a need to tread carefully when necessary with what is still an open investigation, all the more so given the sensitivity of the present time.

58. Mar 26th AKA Keeley & John, Stormont (best, reduced to 30%)

Keeley Moss & John Dallat MLA at Parliament Buildings, Stormont Castle in Belfast after the meeting with PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray that left us feeling very encouraged about the prospects of justice for Inga-Maria. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

So instead I’ve decided to devote the bulk of this instalment to discussing another aspect entirely but one that illustrates how, just as Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray and the PSNI have never given up hope in trying to advance the investigation and bring the chief suspects to justice despite it being thirty years since Inga-Maria was murdered, with the various detectives on the team having spoken face-to-face with approximately 1,700 people in their efforts to match the DNA sample of the crime scene donor, there are other people out there who are willing to go wherever it takes and do whatever it takes to honour the cause of Inga-Maria Hauser, this artistic adventurer whose incredibly-brief presence on the island of Ireland and the horror that followed continues to resonate in ways she could never have imagined on the fateful night the Galloway Princess docked at Larne with her on board. In this instalment we will learn that although Inga’s parents have had to vacate the space they had long occupied in holding a torch for her due to death or ill-health, there are other figures emerging to ensure that, as I’ve quoted many times on social media at the foot of my statements about the campaign, “There is a light that never goes out”. And we will see just how inspirational Inga’s cause is, and how influential and powerful the human spirit can be, that a young woman could arrive on the island of Ireland in April 1988 alone, unknown and almost completely unnoticed and end up being murdered that night, and yet whose untold story all these years later would have such an impact that it would change the course of my life. Also in this instalment I will reveal for the very first time the inside account of how I came to be in contact with Inga’s family in the first place, which is a story in itself.

 

Chapter 46: A Needle in the Haystack

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Back to the Old House: Almut Hauser’s former apartment at 181 Einsteinstrasse, Haidhausen, Munich, just two doors up from Inga-Maria’s childhood home. Photo: Marcus Baumann ©2017

 

The last night on Maudlin Street
Goodbye house, goodbye stairs

The last night on Maudlin Street
Goodbye house forever
I never stole a happy hour around here

I am moving house
A half-life disappears today

Morrissey – ‘Late Night, Maudlin Street’ (1988)

 

Since 2009 when Inga-Maria’s mother Almut Hauser made a heartbreaking plea via a translator in the Belfast Telegraph to “Help bring an end to my 21-year nightmare”, nothing more had been heard publicly from any of Inga-Maria’s family members until recently. There had been intermittent media reports on the case on and off from 1988 up until early 2012 but then there were no more news reports or updates whatsoever for five years, until the spring of 2017 which was the 29th anniversary. Back when I began publishing this blog in 2016, at that time to all intents and purposes it seemed the case was dead – with their having been no updates or media articles for four and a half years by that point. My foremost intention when I started the blog was to try create something special for Inga-Maria, this person I had never met but whose story had touched my heart and left an indelible imprint on my psyche. It may sound naïve and hopelessly-idealistic but my thinking at that time was that if I could do something nice for Inga’s mum, then by proxy I could in a roundabout way do something nice for her, as a gesture from an Irish citizen to try make some very small amends for this horrible thing that Inga had suffered the night she arrived. Because there had been no new media reports for a full four years when I began researching what became this blog, and because no one I ever mentioned the case to in my native Dublin had heard of it, I assumed that that would be the case everywhere, and that nobody would be interested. That might seem hard to believe now given the eruption in interest there has been in the case over the last year or two. But it’s the truth. Back in early 2016, reading about what had happened to Inga had had such a profound effect on me that as I’ve said before that I simply could not get her or the case out of my mind, and as that feeling persisted and actually intensified week after week I resolved to try and do something, and spent the next four months researching and writing what would become Part 1 (I have since substantially enhanced and expanded the original text and photos).

When the blog captured the public’s imagination the way it did, going viral on the first day of publication much to my shock at the time, I felt so glad for one person in particular – Almut Hauser. I had read something she had said in the RUC press conference that she had addressed back in 1989 which was “I hope that the people of Northern Ireland do not forget Inga”. So when the blog took off in the way that it did, I was so looking forward to telling her that even after all these years, people had not forgotten Inga, and what’s more a large section of the community had felt inspired to come together to make a renewed and impassioned call for justice, that ‘people power’ was making its presence felt. So I wrote Almut a long letter, explaining who I was and why I had started the blog, and the response it had generated. I knew she didn’t speak English so I had my letter translated into German (Google Translate had turned out to be too unreliable so I asked one of my best friends who was originally from Dublin but had settled in Berlin if he would translate the letter and he kindly agreed). In the parcel I included a CD featuring four songs I’d written about Inga. I sent it off but was saddened not to receive a reply. After some weeks had passed, the parcel was returned with a message written (in German) on the front, on a sticker the post office in Munich had placed on it, which when translated read as “Unknown at this address”. This was a surprise to me, as I was fairly sure that I had the correct address for her in Haidhausen (a suburb of Munich).

So I continued trying to reach her, while working by day in the library where I was at the time and working on the blog by night. A woman from Larne who I’ve become friends with through this blog, her ex-husband’s friend just happened to be in Munich at that time and she very kindly asked her ex-husband to ask his friend to call to the address I had for Almut. When he did, he was told that there was no one named Almut Hauser there but that one of the previous occupants in the apartment block was an elderly woman who had since left the country. When this was communicated to me, I simply couldn’t believe that Inga’s mum would have left Munich and moved to another city much less another country as even though I didn’t know her, I knew she had always visited Inga’s grave and Inga’s dad Josef’s grave every day and I just knew how being able to do that would have been so important to her. Bear in mind that this was long before the news of Inga’s mum’s ill-health had been made public. And this is back when no one in Northern Ireland had heard of Viktor, or Friederike for that matter. The only living relative of Inga’s whose name was in the public domain (until 2018) was Almut. So at that time (2016) I had nothing else to go on. But I’m the sort of person who, if I feel passionate about something, I give it everything. So nothing was going to stop me.

I assumed Almut must still be living in Munich, and I set out to try to find her so I could tell her about the blog and that the people of Northern Ireland hadn’t forgotten Inga, as she’d feared might turn out to be the case back in 1989. The first thing I did was go on Facebook. I typed in the name Almut Hauser and it turned up a mere two matches. Surely it wasn’t going to be this easy to find her? Surely was right – it wasn’t. Neither of them turned out to be her. So next I typed in the name Hauser into the Facebook search engine, but I limited it to only people residing in Munich. It turned up 253 matches. I assumed at least some of them would be relatives of hers, most likely grandchildren and a few cousins. Saying that, it was becoming akin to looking for, as the fabled saying goes, “A needle in the haystack”. I felt however that if I was to stand a chance of these people responding to my request, that I would have to write to them individually and not just sending out a generic ‘mass message’ that given the volume of emails and messages people receive on a daily basis, plus how many demands are on peoples time, there would be more chance of being ignored. So I decided to address them individually, all 253 of them. The process took weeks. I eventually received replies from the vast majority of them. Those who did reply sent a polite message back, some more detailed and more warm than others. The majority of them kindly wished me luck with my search. But by the end, by the time I had messaged the 253rd and final person on my list, not one of them turned out to be related to Almut or to even know of her. This really surprised me, and left me very disappointed. But still I was not deterred. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better” as Samuel Beckett once wrote.

And so I tried again. I decided to dispense with social media altogether and went back to the fabled drawing board. I thought about my friend’s ex-husband’s friend calling to the address in Munich that I had for Almut and being told that there was no one living there with that name…but that one of the previous occupants in the apartment block was an elderly woman who had left the country. “Maybe she has left Germany after all?” I thought, perhaps because she could no longer bear to live with the memories of what had happened to her family, with her youngest daughter murdered and her husband now dead? I thought about it for a while and tried to put myself in her shoes. If I was her and if I was looking to leave Germany, for whatever reason, where would I go? I knew that she had been born in Austria and had grown up there, in a small town (the name of which I shan’t reveal here in order to reduce the chance of her being tracked down by any reporters, as she is not in a position to talk to anyone about Inga). I was conscious of how elderly people in general prefer familiar surroundings, how they find them more comforting. So I guessed that she had moved back to Austria, after many decades in Germany, and I guessed that of all the places in Austria it would be most likely that she would probably have moved back to her hometown. So I embarked on a search of the electoral register for the region of Austria where I knew Almut’s childhood home was located, and then eventually located the section of the register for that small town. And after a while of searching, there it was. I’d found her! It had to be her. What would be the odds of two separate people with the same obscure name having lived in the same small town? Well, probably pretty high given that quite a few decades had elapsed from when Almut originally lived there. Still, this was the best chance I had to reach her at last and communicate the news that the people of Northern Ireland hadn’t forgotten Inga as she’d feared back in 1989, and that in fact that her daughter’s case had become renewed with new energy, revived with new life, in a beautiful and poignant way that illustrates the indomitable nature of the human spirit and the refusal of this case to permanently fall silent until it is solved, until an ancient score is settled and Inga’s soul can be allowed to properly rest.

I ended up typing a completely new letter to her, in which I added a section explaining what had happened to the first letter and now I needed to find someone who could translate this new letter into German, as I felt I couldn’t ask the same friend who had translated my first letter due to my desire not to “melt his head”. After I sent out a request to all the staff in the RDS where I was working at the time, I was approached by a work colleague in another department who offered to translate my latest letter into German for me but who then proceeded to do nothing with it for months and no matter how gently I cajoled her or eventually how persistently I pleaded with her, nothing managed to rouse her from her inertia, instead she continually made every excuse under the sun (“The dog ate your letter” was about the only excuse she didn’t make for why she hadn’t translated the letter as promised). Eventually I ran out of patience and wrote a third, even longer letter, which the friend of mine who had befriended me through this blog very kindly arranged to have translated into German for me, something she managed to do within a mere two days. When it was sent to me I printed it out in work and sent this off in a parcel together with a new CD featuring four songs about Inga that I’d been inspired to write and record, to the new address I had for Almut in Austria, and waited.

Days passed. Then weeks. Then a month. But the only post that arrived was…The parcel I’d sent, returned – again. However, where the parcel I’d sent to the address in Munich had been returned because Almut had possibly left the country and no longer lived there, this parcel was returned bearing a most curious sticker. It read (in English) “Not collected”. Not collected? What the hell did that mean? I could see that the parcel was clearly unopened. So it hadn’t been refused. Just “Not collected”. I sat and tried to ponder what might have happened for the parcel to have been “Not collected”. I’d sent it to the address I had guessed she was living at in Austria, and unlike when I’d sent it to the address in Munich there was no word from the post office to say that the address was incorrect, or that the occupant wasn’t recognised at that address. If it was the case that whoever was living there was a different Almut Hauser then why hadn’t they opened what they would have expected was a parcel intended for them? And if it was the new home of Inga’s mum Almut that I was trying to reach how could she not have collected it if it was sent to her house? Surely she would only have to open the letterbox? So, now I guessed there must have been some reason that rendered her unable to open the letterbox. This was turning out to be a lot more complicated that I’d expected. But it struck me that ironically it was in keeping with the long and complicated route that the investigation had taken from day one. I then got the idea to send the parcel again but this time instead of addressing it directly to Almut I would address it “c/o Almut Hauser”, that way I figured that perhaps someone else other than her might feel more inclined to collect it and open it on her behalf and that hopefully they would communicate the contents of my letter to her. Still, I knew it was a long shot. It was becoming akin to sending out a message in a bottle.

But I sent it off again, for the third time, and again I waited. Initially I heard nothing back. However…a few weeks later an email landed in my inbox from a sender I didn’t recognise. From the tone of the opening words I just instinctively knew it was legitimate, and furthermore significant. I braced myself for whatever the email would contain. The author of the email identified themselves as Viktor Leibl, the grandson of Almut Hauser. He explained that the letter that I had sent had been passed on to him as his grandmother was unable to read it or reply to it. This – at last – would explain why I had received no reply to the previous letters I had sent her over the previous months. However when Viktor explained just why she was unable to read or reply to it, at that moment I burst into tears. I hadn’t cried for two years at this point, not since my own grandmother who I was extremely close to had died. But as I read Viktor’s first email further, it became apparent to me that one of the central aims I’d had in starting this blog and embarking upon the journey that had effectively taken over my life which was to try do something positive for Inga’s mum and therefore in a roundabout way as an Irish citizen to try make amends to Inga’s soul for the barbarism of those who murdered her, with whom I share the same nationality if nothing else, would not be possible. Ever. Because (as has since become public knowledge via the PSNI’s statements this year through the media) Almut had suffered a stroke not long before which had resulted in a heavy dementia, rendering her effectively no longer able to remember the past. This is something I learned twelve months (remarkably, twelve months to the day) before it entered the public domain but which I never went into detail about here in the blog or anywhere else online, not wanting to disclose any details unless or until the Hauser family themselves saw fit to do so.

The news that Almut, who had visited her daughter’s grave practically every day waiting for so many years to discover who had murdered her beloved daughter and what precisely had happened that night for Inga to have ended up many miles in the opposite direction to where she had intended to go, would now likely never be able to know or understand what had happened and who was responsible, I found incredibly-sad. It was a crushing realisation after everything else she’d had to suffer since 1988. In that moment I felt angry on her behalf, for that to be the outcome on top of all the other cruel injustices that had befallen her. But on the other hand it was some consolation to learn from Viktor that as a result of her condition no longer would Almut have to be conscious of the loss of her daughter in such horrific circumstances. It’s something I have since learned is commonplace among those who have had to bear the loss of a child in this way, where the development of Alzheimer’s or another such degenerative brain disease can be a way for the emotional system to guard against being overwhelmed by continuous grief.

 

Chapter 47: Eternal Flame

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Two Sisters: Inga-Maria & Friederike Hauser pictured in the late 1970’s. Photo: Hauser family collection

 

Ein herz und eine seele

German proverb that translates as “One heart and one soul”, as quoted by Viktor Leibl in the 2018 BBC Spotlight documentary ‘The Life and Death of Inga-Maria Hauser’ to describe the relationship between Inga-Maria and Viktor’s mother Friederike

 

After that first email, Viktor and I began communicating regularly and soon began conversing on Skype. I liked him instantly from the moment we began chatting. He seemed a little shy which is always an endearing quality I find. One thing I remember vividly from our early contact was Viktor telling me that my email had been “a wake-up call” for him – he’d had absolutely no idea that there were people campaigning on behalf of the murdered aunt he’d never gotten to meet and that a large public movement had assembled and been mobilised. Viktor told me that he’d informed his mum, Inga’s sister Friederike, about this blog and the campaign that had by then been advocating for some time on Inga’s behalf, and that had brought her unsolved case back to public prominence after those four and a half years out of the spotlight between 2012 and 2016. Even so, I was not expecting to hear from Friederike. I was aware that she has never given an interview in all the years since Inga’s murder and I knew from Viktor how wary she is of people in general, which I understood given the terrible things that she’s had to face in her life. Viktor had told me that his mum never discussed Inga, which I perceived as being her way of dealing with the grief. Some people deal with grief differently, and I would never want to be judgemental of whatever way someone who had been through an enormous trauma had found was the best way for them personally to cope with it. Friederike’s way was to avoid discussing Inga, to avoid contact with most people, and to shun any requests for interviews for twenty-nine years at that time, and even though this blog is a true labour-of-love I did not expect her to deviate from this long-held policy and make an exception for me.

Therefore I was stunned when I received an email from Friederike out of the blue in May 2017. It was a very nice email and one that meant so much to me. She was much more forthcoming than I would have expected, and I so appreciated her trust and candour. Over the following weeks we exchanged several more emails. I greatly appreciated being able to learn more about her as a person, as well as Inga-Maria. I sent her a photo of me so she’d have more of an idea of who she was communicating with, and she sent me a photo of herself in return. When I saw her photo I was struck by how closely she resembled Viktor, almost a mirror image in fact. I am very respectful of her privacy, especially considering all she’s been through, and all the more so given her being so wary of press attention, so I have never revealed any of the contents of those emails to anyone, and on principle it’s not something I would ever do. I also resolved to never mention Friederike’s name, as I knew it had never (at that time) entered the public domain (subsequently in Spring 2018 the PSNI referred to her by name in a press statement for the first time, which is why I’m now doing so here. But if anyone combs back through previous parts of this blog they will see references only to “Inga-Maria’s sister” as I didn’t want to compromise her privacy or make it easier for the press to track her down by referring to her by name). In one of Friederike’s emails, she told me something that made me realise she’s had an even harder life than people would imagine, even people who are aware of Inga-Maria’s murder and the fact it has gone unsolved for thirty years now. And it made me even more protective of her privacy, which isn’t always easy given the extent of press interest there now is in Inga-Maria’s case and how at times over the past few years I’ve found myself being somewhat in the middle between someone who doesn’t want to speak and a ravenous media who sometimes struggle to comprehend the family member of a murder victim remaining silent. However, that is Friederike’s wish and everyone, myself included, has to respect that.

As I’ve said, I have never revealed anything from any of her emails to me, neither in this blog nor to anyone in private. However, I hope Friederike will allow me one brief and minor exception. On May 28th 2017, poignantly on what would have been Inga-Maria’s 48th birthday, she replied to my previous mail and in addition to a number of other things expressed her sadness about that anniversary. I had revealed to her in a previous mail about the song ‘Plundered Past’, the lyrics of which I had written about Inga-Maria, and which at that time was about to be released as the second single by my band Session Motts. We’d assembled a film crew and had spent the previous week in Larne Harbour and other locations working on the video for it, a video which depicts Inga-Maria prior to and during her journey to Larne (see Part 10 of this blog for the full story of the making of that video, and to see the video itself). The opening of that email read as follows:

 

Dear Keeley,

Today it is a very sad day, it’s my sister’s birthday today, thank you for writing your mail to me.

Hope everything will be great for your band’s new video.

I am sure, Inga will like it.

 

I am sure, Inga will like it. I couldn’t speak. Those few simple words blew my mind. For here was someone who actually knew Inga, and more than that, is the closest living link to this person who “crept in the back door of my mind” and stayed to quote one of the lines in ‘Plundered Past’. Whose cause continues to flicker undimmed and undiminished like an eternal flame. An internal flame. And now that the flame has caught aflame in the public domain no amount of dousing is going to stop that flame spreading.

Of course I have no way of knowing what Inga would have thought of the video, or the songs, or this blog for that matter. But having Inga’s family and friends respond favourably is the closest I’m going to get to know what she herself might have thought of it. And hearing from a number of them as I have that they think she would have liked it is enough for me to feel it has all been worthwhile, however long we have to wait for the case to be solved. I still believe it’s a matter of ‘when’ the case is solved rather than ‘if’, even if at the present time I seem to be in a minority where such optimism is involved. But as I’ve told many of the people who have contacted me since the most recent arrests in the case were made, I don’t share the current pessimistic mood that I’m aware is doing the rounds in response to the lack of further news and the fact no charges have yet been brought. I believe Inga’s case is going to be solved, and that those involved in her murder will see the inside of a courtroom. As the saying goes, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Only time will tell if my faith is well-placed.

 

Chapter 48: Completing the Circle, Thirty Years On

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Back to the Old Town: Keeley Moss & Viktor Leibl on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, June 2018. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Going on to Ireland next. I think I’m looking forward to that the best.

Inga-Maria Hauser, diary entry, Scotland, April 6th 1988

 

Viktor and I remained in contact and have become good friends since he first emailed me in early 2017. I can now reveal it was he who provided me with the recording of Inga singing and playing ‘Greensleeves’ when I explained to him my idea to publish it in this blog in the hope that the more people I might be able to get to hear it the more chance I felt there was of one particular person who is in a position to help bring the investigation forward hearing Inga’s voice, and that this idea, as unorthodox as it was, might succeed where other efforts behind the scenes had thus far failed in reaching out to that person’s conscience for Inga’s sake as I could not stop thinking that her soul must be crying out for justice. In early 2018 as the significant landmark of Inga-Maria’s 30th anniversary approached, I got in touch with Viktor to inform him of John Dallat’s idea to install an inscription stone at Ballypatrick Forest that would be the first memorial for Inga in Northern Ireland, that would mark the area where her life had been so cruelly taken, and furthermore would give the local community a focal point to reflect and pay their respects to the teenage traveller who had only wanted to visit their country when she was effectively executed practically upon her arrival on these shores. John and I wanted to invite Viktor to the event that was being planned to celebrate Inga as a person and to unveil the inscription stone. Viktor informed me that he would be unfortunately unable to attend due to work commitments, although he had requested time off to do so. I kept him informed of how the day had unfolded and emailed him and Friederike (and friends of Inga’s in Munich) a number of links and articles about the event, so that even though they were not there in person, they would be able to feel a part of it. One of Inga’s schoolmates later informed me that she actually watched the memorial event from Munich on an online news feed broadcast live from Ballypatrick Forest.

While Viktor had been unable to attend the memorial event, he messaged me in April with the news that he would be coming to Northern Ireland after all, in the summer, on an internship programme in connection with his work. He had originally requested being sent to Dublin but all of the places on the internship there were taken so he asked for his second choice, which was Belfast. I wondered if his decision was motivated by the fact that when Inga arrived in Northern Ireland she had been intending to travel to Belfast and then on to Dublin. It felt very emotional reading this message from him, the symbolic significance of it was immediately apparent to me. For it meant that thirty years on from the fateful night she had arrived in Northern Ireland, now Viktor would be “following in her footsteps” as the saying goes.

Before long it was June and Viktor was on the verge of arriving in Belfast as planned. Like Inga herself I tend to have a very open, freewheeling attitude to life in general with a perhaps foolhardy faith in ‘the Universe’ where I generally trust that everything will fall into place, and so far for me it has. I’m of course well aware that that approach did not serve Inga well in the end but instinctively I’ve learned to trust it and it works for me. I used to be overly cautious, and it severely limited my life, and led me to harbour regrets that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. So I tend not to worry about anything. But where the prospect of Viktor arriving in Northern Ireland was concerned, I was worried. I’ve heard a lot about how statistically Northern Ireland is among the safest countries for tourists anywhere in the world, and I feel my native Dublin is nowadays more safe than ever, but Viktor is no ordinary tourist – he’s the nephew of arguably the most notorious unsolved murder victim in Northern Ireland, someone who was as I have said on more than one occasion in this blog the only tourist in history to be the victim of a sexually-motivated murder in the province. Lightning couldn’t strike twice…Could it? The idea was so unlikely as to be unbelievable but then again, as Almut Hauser had said about Inga’s murder, “It was, and still is, unbelievable” – that a young woman could arrive in a country where no tourist had ever been murdered in such a way, and for it to happen to her and (to this day) only her, and what’s more for it to have happened before she’d even set foot on dry land? That was statistically so unlikely, and actually unprecedented – and yet it happened.

So I felt an urge to wrap Viktor in cotton wool as the saying goes, just in case something, anything, might go wrong. Fortunately he touched down safely in Belfast and made his way to his lodgings on the Ormeau Road where he and I met a few days later for lunch with the BBC Spotlight team who I’d put Viktor in contact with a few weeks previously during the production of the landmark documentary The Life and Death of Inga-Maria Hauser. It was a beautiful sunny day as I made my way from Dublin by coach to Belfast to meet with him in person for the first time. I travel everywhere by public transport, and like Inga-Maria my favourite mode of transport has always been the train. Perhaps because so much of the last week of her life was spent on trains, and that’s the period of time that has been most prevalent in my mind ever since I took such an interest in her case in the first place, I find I can’t stop thinking of her whenever I’m in a train station or a bus station, or an airport or ferry terminal, or on board any of those modes of transport. And here now, as I travelled to meet the first relative of hers to set foot in Northern Ireland since 1989, that was even more the case. I gazed out the coach window at the miles of wide open spaces that stretched out before me like a yawning mouth, the beautiful sunny day taunting with its glory as just another to add to the list of things that Inga was being denied the opportunity to witness or experience. Three hours after departing Dublin, the coach approached the outskirts of Belfast, that familiar kingdom of red-bricks and relics, a fascinating city with as many scars as homegrown stars, the historical and the hysterical combining to imposing effect.

I disembarked at Glengall Street and soon after hopped in a cab bound for the Ormeau Road. Within a few minutes I was there, and there he was before me, the closest living link to Inga I was ever likely to meet. His mere arrival in Belfast was a notable achievement – it’s something Inga tried but was prevented from doing. His presence in Northern Ireland saw the completion of a circle thirty years on. I felt it was akin to the passing of a torch – from one ‘Universal Traveller’ to another, from Inga-Maria to Viktor, the nephew she never lived long enough to see enter the world. Instantly the warm camaraderie we’d formed over many emails and Skype chats was solidified in person. He said something to me like “Finally you’re no longer just a blur of pixels!” and I laughed (he’s told me how notoriously-bad the quality of Wi-Fi can be in Germany which amazed me as I expected the exact opposite to be the case given the perception here of Germany being at the apex of cutting-edge technology but Viktor assures me that view is very far from the truth). We immediately fell into easy conversation and had a lovely lunch with the Spotlight production team (Conor Spackman, Pippa Cooke and Carla Speer), all of whom I became very fond of while working with them on the programme about Inga-Maria. We took some photos and chatted amongst ourselves until the Spotlight team had to go back to the office after which Viktor and I stayed on at the restaurant. I asked him how his grandmother was; knowing that her condition is not something that can improve but still wishing that somehow it might be otherwise. And I asked him how his mum is, and how his internship was going, and how he’s finding Belfast. Simple things really but significant things in a way. And as we spoke, the sun shone down on this beautiful day and I felt so melancholy that Inga couldn’t be here. For here I was I was in Belfast because of Inga. Viktor was in Belfast because of his internship (but although I didn’t ask him directly, I felt Inga must have had something to do with his initial choice of Dublin and then Belfast of all the places he could have done his internship, I mean why come all the way from Austria to those specific places otherwise?) But Inga – the reason I was there, and surely a reason for Viktor being there – wasn’t here. She’s nowhere.

And yet, in a sense, she’s everywhere. She may be dead but her inspiration is more alive than ever. There are several poets who have this year felt inspired to write poetry about her, there is a wonderful artist in Ballycastle named Oliver who was inspired to paint her portrait (which I intend to feature in the next instalment of The Keeley Chronicles) and in addition to this blog almost every song I’ve written for more than two years has been inspired by her. She was such a creative person, and although she died in a way that was an affront to creativity, she has inspired and is continuing to inspire creativity which I think will be her lasting legacy. And that can defy the lifelong silence her killer imposed on her. Because the individuals responsible for her murder can’t murder songs, or poems, or paintings. They can’t murder creativity, or passion, or inspiration. And all those things can live on long after those individuals have gone. Sometimes the quietest sounds are the loudest. There are some loud personalities in life who ultimately leave no lasting trace, perhaps for instance the sort of man who walks into a pub with scratches on his face.

And then there those who don’t live very long at all but who ultimately go on to make more impact than those who have lived more than three times the length of time they got to. Anne Frank is a perfect example of this. She died at the age of 15 and was completely unknown during her short lifetime. But after her death at the hands of the Nazis at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 the diary she’d secretly written her thoughts in while hiding with her family in a basement from the occupying Nazi forces was discovered and following its publication would go on to win a large audience around the world, since becoming a hugely-celebrated classic, and granting Anne Frank posthumous fame. The Nazi soldiers who captured her and imprisoned her? Who were they? What are their names? No one knows. No one cares. But Anne Frank – who died unknown and unmourned at the hands of her captors’ cohorts – would achieve more in death than they ever would in life, or in death for that matter. Do you see what I’m getting at? This is I think one of the most important points of this entire saga I’ve spent the past few years immersed in, an odyssey that’s admittedly been as curious to me as any of the by-now countless number of people who during that time have asked me why I’ve felt so drawn to this one case above all – and this one person at the heart of it all. For Anne Frank in 1945, read Inga-Maria Hauser in 1988. Sure, the circumstances of their deaths were different. But the parallels are undeniable. Both were teenage girls who met with an horrific demise. Both left creative treasures that were fortunately preserved and which emerged into the world years later (Inga-Maria had to wait a lot longer than Anne Frank for her artistic flair to receive public recognition). But both are now remembered and celebrated, by so many more people than were ever aware of them during their respective short lifetimes. And are in turn inspiring new artworks to be born. It’s a bittersweet but beautiful legacy to have left behind, something both Anne Frank and Inga-Maria would surely be very proud of. Which is a lot more than can be said for the very different sort of legacy those who condemned them to their deaths will leave behind.

 

Chapter 49: Wish You Were Here

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Come a Long Way: Viktor Leibl & Keeley Moss in Dalkey, Dublin. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

Pink Floyd – ‘Wish You Were Here’

 

In Part 2 of this blog there’s a chapter titled I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish. Sharing a title with The Smiths’ 1987 single of the same name that was released five months to the day before Inga-Maria was murdered, I felt it described perfectly the journey she started but indeed, couldn’t finish. I have said many times that it’s one of the things that has bothered me most ever since I first read about the case, that sense of ‘unfinished business’, of a crusade that was never completed, a journey that had to be jettisoned. Inga-Maria’s trip through the UK and Ireland in the spring of 1988 was (or would have been) the realisation of a dream (her mum Almut was quoted in 2009 as saying, literally, “It was her dream”). In the period following the murder Inga-Maria’s parents visited Northern Ireland (on the first visit in 1988, Josef Hauser travelled to the province alone in order to identify her body, and the second, in 1989, in the period leading up to the first-year anniversary both he and Almut visited Ballypatrick Forest Park and later made the televised appeal for information through a translator in an RUC station that I referred to earlier in this instalment). So the fact that Inga-Maria never got to realise that dream that it could be said has hung suspended in the air for thirty years unresolved, is much like her unsolved case itself a continuous bugbear, and an undoubted source of angst and frustration for the good people of County Antrim and for people such as John Dallat and myself.

So when Viktor messaged me to say he was coming to Dublin, this struck me as having such a poignant but beautiful symmetry to it. As a result, thirty years after Inga-Maria should have reached Dublin, Viktor would became the first-ever member of the Hauser family to reach the Irish capitol, and what’s more, he would travel from Belfast to do so. This journey is precisely the one Inga-Maria would have undertaken on April 7th 1988 had she not been murdered the night before. The significance of that did not escape me. I wondered how much Viktor would be conscious of that as he made that journey.

After meeting him in Belfast, Viktor had contacted me a couple of weeks in advance to see which date best suited to meet up. I work weekends and he works weekdays but on the weekend of June 23rd-24th I was set to work the Saturday and the Monday, having Sunday free, which I felt was an ideal opportunity to host Viktor and take him on a tour of Dublin. So we arranged to meet on the Sunday. Therefore it was a surprise, but a very pleasant one, to receive a message from him while I was in work on the Saturday to say that he was already in Dublin with a work colleague, having travelled down a day early, and what’s more he messaged to say they didn’t have anywhere to stay. His exact words were, “Keeley, do you have a hint about a place to stay for my colleague Simon and me? We actually didn’t think about this”. At first I smiled when I read that last sentence, as I felt it was something that only a young person (Viktor is in his mid-twenties) would do, to travel to an unfamiliar city or town without having planned in advance where they would stay (it’s something I myself still do).

Then however it occurred to me that that is exactly what Inga-Maria had done on the last day of her life, having written her fateful last words “Wonder where I stay tonight? Need more money” in her diary before boarding the ferry in Stranraer that evening, a journey that would irrevocably change the course of her life, with fatal consequences. But where Inga had been in the words of one of the many people who have left a comment on one of the parts of this blog, “incredibly unlucky”, I have always been fortunate to have avoided peril on any of the many times I have travelled to a unfamiliar location without having arranged anywhere to stay in advance, and here Viktor would also be fortunate. Viktor told me that the first thing anyone said to him when he announced that he was planning on coming to (Northern) Ireland was, “Don’t get yourself killed”. Even though I tell people on a regular basis just how safe I believe Ireland nowadays is, due to the circumstances of what had happened to Inga within minutes of her arrival at Larne and the fact that Viktor is her blood relative as I said earlier I felt more conscious of his safety, and more protective of him, than would otherwise have been the case. So when he messaged to say that he was in Dublin and was suddenly planning to stay in the city overnight but had nowhere to stay, I phoned around B&B’s close to where I lived to see if I could book him and his colleague somewhere to stay. Had it just been Viktor on his own I would’ve offered for him to stay with me but my flat is very small and has just the one single bed. However, every B&B I phoned had no rooms available at such short notice, and when I broadened my search to hotels I was shocked to find that the only hotel rooms still available in the city that night would cost upwards of €230 for each person. I informed Viktor of this and assured him that I would sort something out, and that he could stay with me and I would have a think about where his colleague could stay. He soon replied to say that his colleague would be happy to sleep on my floor. So with that, it was sorted. I was still in work at this stage and wouldn’t be home until 8.30pm so wouldn’t have time to try and source extra bedclothes but I figured I could try and cobble together whatever else might be needed on the hoof.

On my train journey home from work I listened to the playlist of songs I’d made for Inga-Maria, and thought about all of the events that had led to this point, of her arrival on this island on a spring night all those years ago and all of the many twists and turns that had ensued since. And now here we were, thirty years on, with the police closer than ever to bringing some or all of those involved in her murder to justice, and here was a blood relative of hers finally in the city, my city, that she had come so tantalisingly close to reaching back in 1988. Where Inga-Maria hadn’t made it that far, Viktor had. Where she had sought sanctuary but found only savagery, Viktor had sought a safe harbour and found Bulloch Harbour, the serene marina near to where I live.

As I made my way home, I wondered how it would feel to see him in Dublin. I couldn’t shake from my mind the significance of him finally reaching here, and completing a circle that Inga-Maria had commenced but can never complete. As I made my way on to my street that night, one of the songs on the special playlist to the right of this piece, ‘Tell Yer Loved Ones’ by the brilliant Dublin band Tandem Felix suddenly came on the random shuffle on my phone. This immensely-poignant song always makes me think of Inga (even though it’s not about her). And here it was playing, and there he was in front of me. Standing there, already a fixture in my future memories of the past. I was aware of how much this moment meant. Within seconds we had greeted one another and had fallen into easy conversation as I showed him and his colleague the way towards the door of my home. Once inside I urged them to make themselves at home while I set about fixing some food. We chatted late into the night and before going to sleep, I decided to play them some of the new songs I’ve felt inspired to write about his murdered aunt. I hope Viktor doesn’t mind me saying this but while he’s a lovely person who I’m very fond of I think it’s fair to say he’s not a particularly emotional guy. So it surprised me the way he reacted to all three of the songs I played him (I never perform solo acoustic anymore, far preferring to play as part of a band but made an exception for Inga’s memorial event and likewise for when I played for Viktor). In particular after one of the songs, one which I wrote from Inga’s mum Almut’s perspective, I saw that he had tears in his eyes. His subsequent praise for these songs, as I told him at the time, meant more to me than any reaction in the world. Because of the extremely slow way the music industry operates, it’s possible that no one outside of my flat that night will hear these songs for years, if ever, and I wasn’t sure when Viktor would be in Ireland again or if I’d ever get another chance to play these songs for a member of Inga’s family, so I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do so.

The following morning, after a pleasant night’s sleep, I made breakfast and the boys chatted among themselves (and had a frankly hilarious argument with each other). Then we took some photos and went out, into an even more beautiful summer’s day than had been the case in Belfast. I thought I’d take them up to Dalkey and on from there to Sorrento Park, at the summit of which is arguably the best view in all of Ireland, a view said to rival that of the Bay of Naples, which is exactly the sort of sight I think Inga would have been most captivated by had she made it that far. After that we stopped for some soft drinks in Dalkey village and made our way into the city by train. By train – Inga-Maria’s favourite way to travel. The DART was packed with people on their way to various beaches, it being a hot Sunday in summertime. None of the people on the train had any idea who Viktor was nor the significance of his visit. That in a way would not be surprising given that Inga’s case is nowhere near as big a deal in the Republic of Ireland as it is in the North. I sat there on the train opposite Viktor, and it crossed my mind that Inga would have loved this moment had she been able to be here. A beautiful day, summertime in full flight, a free day ahead of us, on a train her favourite mode of transport, en route to show her nephew Viktor around the city. She would love that. She should be here. I wish she was.

We arrived at Pearse Station (I had taken Viktor and Simon to Pearse in order to let Viktor play the piano as I had learned he can play the piano and there’s one at that station for anyone to play. But he was quite shy when we got there so all three of us had only a very brief bash on it). I knew Viktor has a keen interest in science so next I took him to the science exhibition in Trinity College. After spending some time there, I brought them to what I think is one of the best places to hang out on a hot day in Dublin, namely the cricket pavilion on the grounds of Trinity College known to some as “The Pav” where we had ice creams and soaked up the sun for a little while before we had to make a mad dash so Viktor and Simon could catch their scheduled Enterprise train back to Belfast. We had to run something like a couple of miles to make the train which we made with literally one minute to spare – our amusement and relief is evident in the photo I took as they boarded the train (see directly below).

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Race for the Prize: We made the Enterprise train to Belfast with literally one minute to spare… Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After we’d waved our last goodbyes, I turned around and headed for home. Feeling a little lighter, feeling fortunate I’d gotten to experience something so meaningful. I’d been given the chance to ensure that Viktor, my friend and Inga-Maria’s blood relative, had food, shelter and a safe passage while visiting the city that thirty years before had been Inga-Maria’s intended destination from Belfast. And as small a contribution as I’d made in that respect, it did feel a little like this was coming full circle, a chance to if not rewrite history then at least to ensure that history did not repeat itself. And that means a lot. Because as easy as it was for me to do, it was something that would have made all the difference in the world to Inga-Maria had those who murdered her instead been willing to see to it that she was granted the customary warm Irish welcome and safe passage that was the least she deserved on the night she arrived with a head full of dreams at the Larne ferry terminal on the 6th of April 1988.

But as I said, instead of being shown sanctuary she was shown only savagery. And so that shall remain the case for as long as justice is delayed. And justice delayed is justice denied. It’s high time we see the arrival of that tide, like the waves that carried a certain ferry forth on a long-ago Northern night…

____________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser  cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality
Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

© Keeley Moss 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 18

Thanks to Inga Richardson and Marcus Baumann for their valued assistance.

‘The English Roses’ written by Chrissie Hynde
Published by Hynde House of Hits/ATV Music Publishing ©1981

‘Late Night, Maudlin Street’ written by Morrissey/Street
Published by Warner Bros. Music Ltd/Linder Ltd/Copyright Control ©1988

‘Wish You Were Here’ written by Waters/Gilmour
Published by Pink Floyd Music Publishers Inc. ©1975

The Keeley Chronicles PART 17

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 17 Contents 
Chapter 43: Made of Stone
Chapter 44: Ceremony
Acknowledgements for Part 17

 

Chapter 43: Made of Stone

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Last Flowers: Anne Dallat lays one of thirty black-ribboned roses – to symbolise each one of the thirty years of life that Inga-Maria had stolen from her – while the author looks on with John Dallat MLA and Councillor Donal Cunningham standing directly behind. Photo by Justin Kernaghan ©2018

 

Your knuckles whiten on the wheel
The last thing that your hands will feel
Your final flight can’t be delayed

The Stone Roses – ‘Made of Stone’

 

Before publishing the next instalment of this blog, in which I hope to discreetly discuss a few aspects of my and John Dallat MLA’s face-to-face meeting with PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray at police headquarters in Belfast, I would like to devote an instalment to the memorial event held for Inga-Maria in Ballypatrick Forest Park on April 6th which coincided with the 30th anniversary of her murder.

With each new blog instalment every month I try to focus on a different aspect of the case or of Inga-Maria’s life, in the hope of keeping things fresh but also to hopefully ensure that this blog has as much depth and variety as possible moving forward, both in terms of paying tribute to the beautiful young life stolen at the centre of it all and also to expand the horizons of what for many years had been portrayed in the media in a rather more reductive and one-dimensional way. I have come to learn that there are many dimensions to this case, some of which are a lot more public than others – and some of which are not public at all. Even with the sixteen parts of this blog to date having amounted to some 50,000 words, there is so much more still to be said, and no doubt even more still to learn. I plan to delve into some of these issues in the future instalments of the blog but before doing so, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the memorial event staged at Ballypatrick Forest, specifically for the benefit of those who were not able to be there in person and to acknowledge those who were and who made in some cases very long journeys to attend, and to also reveal a lot of the background to the event that is not known.

Another reason for my feeling that I should dedicate an instalment to the memorial event and the inscription stone at the centre of it before moving on to other areas is that it is my intention that this blog, by the time it is complete, will hopefully contain everything that is relevant to Inga-Maria and the case. And considering that last month’s memorial was the first public event of its kind arranged for Inga-Maria, I think it would be remiss of me not to include it in the blog, even though it has been covered extensively elsewhere. However most of those newspaper accounts, while obviously very welcome in terms of generating additional coverage for what is still an unsolved case at the time of writing, were by their nature fairly straightforward reports whereas as an actual contributor to the event, and someone who had been involved since its inception I was able to have a certain perspective on it that is perhaps unique so I hope I will be able to convey that here.

Soon after publishing Inga-Maria’s performance of ‘Greensleeves’ via this blog last November which was the first time the Northern Ireland public had gotten to hear her voice,  I travelled to John Dallat’s home in Kilrea near Coleraine where John had taken me into his confidence for an initial brainstorming session about his ideas for what became the memorial event in Ballypatrick Forest Park. That weekend in November John held a meeting with myself and Councillor Donal Cunningham at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle during which John’s initial plans were discussed. John’s original idea was for a three-day event to take place over the weekend of Inga-Maria’s 30th anniversary from April 6th to April 8th and that was to have involved a night of music at the Marine Hotel on the Friday, followed by a ceremony at the Corrymeela Ballycastle centre on the Saturday and rounded off by a sponsored walk to Ballypatrick Forest on the Sunday with all of the proceeds going to support a charity that raise funds to assist those who have been victims of sexual violence. On the day of our meeting last November, both the Marine Hotel and the Corrymeela Ballycastle Centre were provisionally booked for this purpose. However, soon after this my band, who John had asked to perform a set of music at the event in honour of Inga, unfortunately broke up. Furthermore over the following months it became apparent that the plans for a three-day event, while ambitious and impressive in scope, might prove too elaborate an undertaking that would run the risk of the intended purpose of the original idea becoming unfocused, and that Inga-Maria’s memory would in fact be better served by streamlining the memorial plans to a one-day event, with a suitably-sombre ceremony centred around the unveiling of an inscription stone in her honour, the first of its kind, to mark the area where her life was so cruelly taken on the night of her arrival in Northern Ireland all those years ago.

So many people had messaged me over the past two years to say that it was a shame that there was nothing in the area to commemorate Inga-Maria’s tragic passing. This had weighed on my mind for some time, and I know it was the same for John for even longer. We also felt the absence of an inscription stone meant that aside from a photo of Inga that a local person had thoughtfully placed by a tree along the nature ramble in Ballypatrick Forest (see photo directly below) there was nothing to act as a focal point for people to pay their respects, all the more so considering that Inga-Maria is buried not in Northern Ireland but in her native city of Munich which is not easily accessible for the many people in Northern Ireland and in particular the communities of the rural Glens and Causeway Coast area who have touchingly taken Inga-Maria to their hearts.

Inga makeshift memorial (cropped)

Pictures of You: The poignant makeshift memorial at Ballypatrick Forest Park which prior to the creation of the inscription stone was the only marker for Inga-Maria anywhere. Photo by Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The weeks preceding the memorial were very hectic, with so much to prepare and the event needing to be promoted. John marshalled everything superbly and delegated extremely well, assigning various roles to people who he instinctively felt were right for each task. John himself crucially secured funding for the creation of the inscription stone and he co-ordinated with Councillor Donal Cunningham to make the necessary arrangements for the event. John nominated me to write the wording for the inscription. It meant the world to me to be asked to do that, especially as having communicated at length over the past few years with friends and family members of Inga-Maria, and with the desire I have felt from the outset in wanting this blog to focus on the person Inga-Maria was and on the events of her life as much as possible (and not just the grisly details of her death, or the many mysterious aspects of the case itself) I felt I was in a good position to choose a wording that would represent the person she was, and that I hoped she herself would have approved of.

John also asked me to create a four-page booklet to be distributed at the event and to perform music during the ceremony. For the memorial booklet I chose my favourite photo of Inga-Maria for the front, one that I felt captures her smiling youthful zest so poignantly, one in which her appetite for life and her hopes for the future are I think visible on her face, a future that would mutate into a nightmare on the night that very face was damaged beyond repair. Inside the booklet was an introductory message penned by John on the second page, with Clare McCotter’s triptych of poems for Inga-Maria taking up the third page (these poems can be read in Part 15 of this blog). The back page featured a poem John had written for Inga entitled No Beauty Hath Ever Been Seen (this can also be viewed in Part 15, a poem John was too modest to take credit for upon its inclusion in the memorial booklet) and lastly the back page also included the lyrics to a new song I’ve written from Inga’s mother Almut Hauser’s perspective. Finally, at the bottom of the back page the most well-known iconic photo of Inga was added and with that, once the correct margins, spacings and fonts were added, the memorial booklet was complete.

John enlisted Clare McCotter to read her poems for Inga during the ceremony and Donal Cunningham was asked by John to perform the role of MC. As a lovely additional touch, John bought thirty red roses and his wife Anne took care to tie a black ribbon around each and every one of the roses, to symbolise the fact that it had now been thirty years since Inga-Maria’s life was so brutally taken.

While John co-ordinated the preparations for the memorial and Donal liaised with the creator of the inscription stone (a local man named Donal Og Newcombe) I set up an event page on Facebook to which I invited several hundred people and generally handled the social media promotion of the event to get the word out. No sooner had word began to circulate about the event that we were contacted by a number of press outlets keen to cover the occasion. John and I undertook a round of interviews with local and national media to further try to ensure that anyone who would be interested in attending wouldn’t miss out. In the meantime I worked on the memorial booklet and the wording for the inscription stone. It struck me that the wording couldn’t be too elaborate – it needed to balance economy of language with as succinct a summarisation as possible of the message we wanted to convey. There were many things I could’ve said but I knew I wouldn’t have a huge amount of space to work with. Each word would carry a considerable weight as essentially the wording could come to be seen to define Inga-Maria’s life.

Which is all the more so as Inga-Maria’s grave at the Ostfriedhof in Munich doesn’t actually have any headstone, instead what is there is something I would describe more as a grave marker. There is no wording on this grave marker other than her name and the year she was born and died. Anyone looking at Inga’s grave who didn’t know her would have no idea of the sort of person she was, of what interested her, or of what her personality was like. These are the very things she was denied the chance to reveal to people by the man who murdered her and those who assisted him, which is one of the main reasons I’m so intent on trying to communicate those qualities of hers through this blog and in as many interviews as I’m asked to do.

Inga-Maria Grave 1

The Living Dead: This never-before-seen photograph shows Inga-Maria and her father Josef’s graves at the Ostfriedhof in Munich, Bavaria. Photo by Inga Richardson ©2017

 

After John had asked me to write the inscription, I had sat up in bed that morning in my flat in Dublin and tried to imagine what Inga herself might choose for the wording. It’s a subject I’d imagine most people rarely ponder, as it’s an understandably uncomfortable thought to think of yourself no longer being alive but…What epitaph would you pick for yourself if you could choose a few lines to summarise your life? It might be more difficult than you think. And as difficult as it might be to choose your own epitaph, imagine being tasked with writing the epitaph for someone you never met – and what’s more someone who has posthumously become so important to you, and indeed very significant to an increasingly large number of people, many of whom would in the future be taking time out of their day to travel to see the inscription stone and pay their respects. The stone would hopefully be a lasting testament to a person who none of us got to meet and who arrived almost totally unnoticed and unheralded in Larne on that Spring night in 1988 but whose incredibly-brief presence on Irish shores and it’s agonising aftermath continues to resonate in ways she never could have imagined on the evening she fatefully set sail from Stranraer Harbour. So, I knew the wording had to be perfect. Inga’s memory would deserve nothing less.

But…what to write? I instinctively felt that rather than grappling with any complicated ideas, I should start with the basic information that would need to preface any wording. And so I thought I’d reprise something I’ve written at the end of every part of this blog.

 

Inga-Maria Hauser
Born May 28th 1969
Died April 6th 1988
Never forgotten

 

Simple, but essential.

For the following lines however, I knew I wanted to make a statement that went beyond basic details, and into the realm of Inga’s personality and something that was important to her. The first thing that jumped into my mind here was music. She loved music of course, she sang and played music. And then I thought of friendship. The one character trait most associated with Inga-Maria is how sociable and friendly she was. The friends of hers I’ve spoken with all describe how easily she made friends, and how comfortable everyone felt in her company. Then-RUC Detective Chief Superintendent George Caskey when discussing Inga in 1988 had described her as “a friendly and outgoing young girl who made friends easily”. PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray described her in broadly similar terms to me during our recent meeting with him. So with that in mind it struck me that the best way to arrive at the perfect wording to complete the inscription stone would be to somehow combine her love of music with her love of friendship. And then it occurred to me – her favourite song, as revealed for the first time in Part 12 of this blog, was ‘Mocking Bird’ by Barclay James Harvest. That fact had been revealed to me by a man named Walter who was one of Inga’s teenage friends, who was one of the people who described her most vividly to me. So here I felt was an opportunity to combine her love of music and friendship. I scanned through the lyrics of ‘Mocking Bird’ and it was then that I realised that this song featured what would be the perfect lines to complete the wording on the inscription stone:

 

Time will see your tears run dry
There’s a mocking bird singing songs in the trees

 

However, there was more…For not only would the inclusion of this line reflect Inga’s passion for music and her favourite song, and it also had a connection with friendship in the form of it having been revealed to me by her friend, but it seemed to eerily foreshadow the circumstances of what had actually happened on the night she would have cried very real tears “in the trees”. There was an additional relevance I felt in the notion of a mocking bird – one could say the mocking bird in this case is Inga’s killer and his accomplices, possibly having a good laugh for much of the preceding thirty years while presumably mocking the efforts of the police for valiantly trying but at the time of writing having been unable to bring them to justice. Which brings me to the title of this chapter, Made of Stone. For one thing it is the title of a song by The Stone Roses released on March 6th 1989 exactly 11 months to the day after Inga was murdered, secondly the subject of this instalment focuses on a memorial marker that is literally made of stone, and thirdly the killer of Inga-Maria Hauser and his primary accomplices must have hearts made of stone to have apparently never struggled with the evil enormity of what they did to an innocent young girl who only wanted to give Northern Ireland a chance at the height of the Troubles, a time when so few other foreign tourists were willing to visit.

 

Chapter 44: Ceremony

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Come Together: Some of the public and press who attended the 30th anniversary memorial event for Inga-Maria at Ballypatrick Forest Park near Ballycastle. Photo by Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The dark clouds in bouquet above
For how long will this dark age last?
For how long must we wait to learn?

And can others see…
Or do they navigate in dark?

If you ever want to dock your dream
Well you’ll need love to guide your fragile ark

The Dukes of Stratosphear – ‘Little Lighthouse’

 

The scene at Ballypatrick Forest Park on April 6th 2018 as the minutes ticked down towards the commencement of the memorial event was that of rural Northern Ireland at its Wintry worst. Strong winds and a continuous downpour were more than matched by an extremely biting cold that honestly felt more severe than any I have ever known. Having been to Ballypatrick Forest many times now, for all of its deserved status as a stunningly-beautiful location that is home to all manner of fauna and flora and where wildlife thrives, it always seems to me to be significantly colder there than anywhere else. It’s by some distance the coldest place I’ve been, and that’s from someone from Dublin, a city that’s no stranger to inclement weather. The freezing cold was appropriate however, in that it held a certain kinship with the chilling circumstances of the events that had taken place there exactly thirty years previously.

John and Keeley at Inga's Memorial 6.4.18

Never Forgotten: John Dallat MLA and Keeley Moss examine the inscription stone for Inga-Maria at Ballypatrick Forest Park, Co. Antrim, April 6th 2018

 

The crowd of locals and other well-wishers, accompanied by a large media contingent, was already assembling as John and I made our approach by car, alongside Clare McCotter and John’s wife Anne Dallat. We had announced that the event was due to take place at 1pm, which was largely in order to facilitate the participation of the UTV Live news team, whose chief reporter Barbara McCann and producer Chris Hagan have always been supportive of our campaign on behalf of Inga-Maria. Barbara as a young reporter in 1988 had actually been present, in her words, “As the body of Inga-Maria was carried from the forest with a respect not shown to her by the man who murdered her”.

As the ceremony got underway it was apparent that a significant number of people had taken time out of their day to venture in some cases many miles to this distant and remote outdoors location, and all the more so amid such terrible weather. That made it feel even more special that people had chosen to put the memory of Inga to the forefront of their thoughts, and had made a special effort to be there. At this point the memorial booklets were distributed and the event commenced.

Rather than my describing the event as it unfolded, I think there’s no substitute for reality, so I shall let the following footage instead bring the day to life.

This is the way, step inside.

 

 

 

___________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality
Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

© Keeley Moss 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Parts 17

With thanks to John Dallat MLA, Anne Dallat, Daniel Kane, Suzanne Wehrly-Kane, Mags McCaw, Inga Richardson and Peter Heathwood. There is a Light that Never Goes Out.

Photography by Justin Kernaghan, Inga Richardson and Keeley Moss.

‘Made of Stone’ written by Squire/Brown. Published by Zomba Music Publishers Ltd. ©1989

‘Mocking Bird’ written by John Lees. Publisher unknown ©1971

‘Little Lighthouse’ written by Andy Partridge. Published by Virgin Music Ltd ©1987

The Keeley Chronicles PART 16

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 16 Contents
Chapter 42: The Girl With April In Her Eyes
Acknowledgements for Part 16

 

Chapter 42: The Girl With April In Her Eyes

ing2

Expecting to Fly: A rare photo of Inga-Maria Hauser and her father Josef taken in the early 1980’s

 

There once was a King, who called for the Spring
For his world was still covered in snow
But the Spring had not been, for he was wicked and mean
In his winter-fields nothing would grow
And when a traveller called seeking help at the door
Only food and a bed for the night
The girl with April in her eyes

Oh, oh, oh, on and on she goes
Through the winter’s night, the wild wind and the snow
High, high, high, on and on she rides
Someone help the girl with April in her eyes

She rode through the night till she came to the light
By the firelight she died
Oh the morning was bright, all the world was snow-white
But when he came to the place where she lay
His field was ablaze with flowers on the grave
Of the girl with April in her eyes

Oh, oh, oh, on and on she goes
Through the winter’s night, the wild wind and the snow
High, high, high, on and on she flies

She is gone
The girl with April in her eyes

Chris de Burgh – ‘The Girl With April In Her Eyes’

 

Referencing a song by Chris de Burgh may seem more than a little incongruous for a blog that regularly features lyrical quotations from such doyens of musical credibility and rock royalty as Joy Division, The Smiths and Microdisney. But I quote the velvet-voiced Irish crooner with good reason on this night, April 20th, which is 30 years from the night when Inga-Maria’s battered body was discovered in the remote westernmost section of Ballypatrick Forest Park by the horrified sheep farmer who found her.

“Someone help the girl with April in her eyes” goes one of Chris de Burgh’s lesser-known songs. A song that, believe it or not, was one of Inga-Maria’s favourites, as revealed to me by one of her teenage friends in Munich. As anyone with knowledge of the facts of this case would know, Inga-Maria was murdered on the night of April 6th 1988, with her body not being discovered until April 20th. I have always found one of the saddest and most chilling facts of this case to be that this “Girl with April in her Eyes”, whose dream it was to travel through the UK and Ireland that April, had written a postcard in which she spoke of how she was “Going to Ireland tomorrow. I think I’m looking forward to that the best” only to be murdered within minutes or hours of the ferry docking in Larne that night.

Inga-Maria’s body lay unattended and uncared-for for fourteen days in the forest. It bears repeating that, contrary to the erroneous claim made in many media reports that have been published over the years, she was not buried in a “shallow grave” or covered up in any way. She was dumped, discarded with a breathtaking callousness as if she was nothing, and left to the elements, with her clothing deliberately disturbed and all of her belongings scattered throughout the trees nearby. It is facts like these that make John Dallat MLA and I feel all the more motivated to keep up the campaign to seek truth and justice on Inga’s behalf, especially as she does not have any family members in Ireland to fight for her. But as was made abundantly clear at our memorial ceremony at Ballypatrick Forest Park on April 6th 2018, the community of Co. Antrim have taken Inga to their hearts, and that community numbers some of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure to know. How bittersweet that this teenage traveller, who arrived in this country unknown and unnoticed by all but those involved in her murder, has posthumously gathered thousands more friends than she ever could have imagined.

The photo that I’ve chosen to illustrate this instalment is one of Inga-Maria and her father Josef rock-climbing together in the early 1980’s. It is a rare and very special photograph that, although it’s been published a couple of places before, has never been widely circulated. For quite some time I’ve intended using it in a blog post but I wanted to wait for the perfect moment. This to me, the night of the 30th anniversary of Inga’s remains being discovered, is that moment. The phrase ‘Every picture tells a story’ is I think very true, and this picture I believe tells so much. In the background there lies a beautiful clear blue sky, the sort of dreamy, balmy sky that when overhead you look up at and bask in the glory of life, aware that you’re fortunate to be alive and in a position to witness such a stunning sight on the ultimate canvas, nature’s very own easel.

She looks very happy in the photo, in the first flush of her impending adolescence. I can imagine from looking at this photo that she was delighted to be outdoors with her dad, at his side as they navigated the rocks together, spending time together as father and daughter in a way that’s only much later apparent just how precious that time was. And in this case that was far much more so, for obvious reasons in the light of what would transpire only a handful of years later in Northern Ireland. But looking at the photo now, it is heartbreaking to think that at the moment this photo was taken, as Josef Hauser and his beloved daughter paused on the rocks with such a beautiful clear blue sky above them, that all the hopes and dreams that he would have had for her, and that she would have had for herself, would never be able to be realised. Imagine being the girl in that photo, and imagine at that moment wondering just how your life was going to turn out…Which career paths would you pursue, where would you live, what countries would you visit, what art would you create, would you get married or perhaps have children? Except in Inga’s case, virtually none of those things would happen. Because within just months of becoming an adult she would get off a ferry and be murdered, and dumped in a forest, and for thirty years (and counting) those who are responsible are yet to spend so much as a minute in prison for it.

A further scan of the lyrics of ‘The Girl With April In Her Eyes’ reveals a striking number of eerie parallels with what ensued on the night Inga-Maria Hauser arrived in Northern Ireland: “He was wicked and mean…When a traveller called seeking help at the door…Through the winter’s night, the wild wind and the snow…Someone help the girl with April in her eyes…With flowers on the grave, of the girl with April in her eyes… She is gone, the girl with April in her eyes”. I found it extraordinary to learn, in the light of those lyrics and the circumstances of the fateful April night that echoes so many of the lines in the song, that this had been one of her favourite songs. Something regular readers of this blog will be aware of because I’ve referred to this a number of times over the past two years, most recently several times throughout Part 15, is something that became a feature of the PSNI’s 30th anniversary press release, namely a line Inga-Maria wrote in her diary on the last day of her life which was “Going to Glasgow now. Snowy mountains, wild landscape”. And of course those details too were unwittingly foreshadowed in the lyrics to ‘The Girl With April in Her Eyes’.

But on this day, April 20th, the second landmark anniversary in this case to occur this month, let us respond to that request issued in the song Inga-Maria used to play on the record player in the youth club she attended at St. Gabriel’s Church in Munich during the mid-1980’s, which poignantly was also the church where her requiem was later held on May 25th 1988 (further eerie coincidences are that Inga-Maria’s funeral occurred on both my birthday and the birthday of Clare McCotter who wrote the triptych of poems about Inga which I published in Part 15 and another strange but far sadder coincidence is that Inga’s remains were tragically discovered on her mother’s birthday). The line in the song that goes, “Someone help the girl with April in her eyes”. Let us redouble our efforts to help this girl with April in her eyes by showing those among the very small group of people in the community who are in the position to enable police to bring those responsible for Inga’s murder to justice that they can do so with complete support from the rural communities of Co. Antrim, so many of whom I know deeply want this to happen.

It’s time to help the girl with April in her eyes.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Author’s note

I mentioned in Part 15 that it was my intention to publish in Part 16 an account of my and John Dallat MLA’s recent meeting with PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray at police headquarters in Belfast but on account of today being the 30th anniversary of Inga Maria’s remains being discovered, I decided to postpone that instalment for a future post and instead produced an instalment for Part 16 that is I think more fitting to coincide with such a sombre occasion.

_____________________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality
Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

© Keeley Moss 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Parts 16

With heartfelt thanks to Walter.

‘The Girl With April In Her Eyes’ written by Chris de Burgh. Published by Big Secret Music Inc. ASCAP ©1979

The Keeley Chronicles PART 15

The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a tribute to the victim of a tragedy still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

Part 15 Contents
Chapter 40: A Flower Attracting
Chapter 41: Legacy
Acknowledgements for Part 15

 

Chapter 40: A Flower Attracting

Inga 1988 RUC poster - Cropped

Reaching Out: A portion of the original 1988 RUC poster that was distributed widely at the time requesting information from the general public

 

Beauty finds refuge in herself

She is suffering
You exist within her shadow

Beauty she is scarred into man’s soul
A flower attracting lust, vice and sin

Manic Street Preachers – ‘She Is Suffering’

 

Friday April 6th 2018 marks thirty years from the night Inga-Maria Hauser arrived in Northern Ireland and was subjected to the vicious and ruthless assault that culminated in her murder practically before she’d even set foot on land. On the 30th anniversary there has yet to be anyone held accountable for what remains the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Recently John Dallat MLA and I travelled to police headquarters in Belfast for a meeting with the man leading the investigation into Inga-Maria’s murder, PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, to inform him of our plans for a first-ever memorial in Northern Ireland for Inga-Maria and to discuss the investigation in general. I hope to tactfully discuss some aspects of what was a lengthy and very positive meeting in the next instalment, Part 16, of The Keeley Chronicles.

Many people have mentioned to me over the two years I’ve been working on her case that there was nothing to mark the area where Inga Maria’s life was taken. With that in mind, on Friday April 6th at 1pm myself and John Dallat MLA are to host a special event at the entrance to Ballypatrick Forest Park just outside Ballycastle at the northernmost tip of County Antrim to mark the 30th anniversary and where we plan to unveil the first-ever inscription stone for Inga-Maria. The event will also feature a performance of music that will hopefully accurately reflect Inga-Maria’s artistic nature and her love of music. All are welcome to attend and I would encourage you to do so.

I would like to extend thanks to the followers of this blog for your patience as I’ve waited to follow-up Part 14. I generally publish a new instalment each month without fail but I’ve left a three-month gap this time, quite deliberately, out of respect to the PSNI as soon as I became aware that their preference was for a lull in all coverage of the case in the months leading up to the 30th anniversary in order to focus the attention of the press and public on the next major concerted push in April and not risk diluting the impact of such a landmark anniversary. In the meantime I’ve been working away quietly behind the scenes in a number of ways. But as we approach the 30th anniversary, I intend for this to be the first of three new instalments on the blog in relatively quick succession, which will hopefully compensate for the paucity of new posts over the last few months.

With each instalment of The Keeley Chronicles I always endeavour to try and do something new, focusing on a different aspect each time, partly because like many creative people I have an aversion to repetition and partly due to the fact that I’m mindful that this case is now on the cusp of its 30th year and I am wary of going over too much familiar ground. So the main theme of this month’s instalment is something I haven’t covered before, focusing primarily on poetry and song lyrics inspired by Inga-Maria’s short life and the long shadow her murder has cast ever since.

In recent days I’ve been heartened to receive not one but two sets of poetry written in honour of her. The first is actually a trilogy – or “triptych” – of short poems penned by a strikingly-talented poet from Kilrea, Co. Derry named Clare McCotter. As you’ll see, her ability at weaving words is quite brilliant. The triptych was recently published on the Poetry24 website and I have received Clare’s permission to publish it in full on The Keeley Chronicles (see below). It is a beautiful and very moving homage to Inga-Maria.

But that’s not all – I was very touched to receive a poem written by John Dallat MLA about Inga-Maria which he completed roughly around the same time as Clare’s poems. As anyone who takes an interest in politics in Northern Ireland will likely be aware, John is someone with a long and illustrious career in politics and who currently represents East Derry on behalf of the SDLP. He holds the notable distinction of having been the first-ever nationalist mayor of Coleraine and also spent nine years as Deputy Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. But even more importantly in my opinion, he has been the only public figure to repeatedly call for justice in Inga-Maria’s case and previously made a direct approach to the then-RUC Chief Constable Ronald Flanagan. It is clear from numerous public statements he has published regarding Inga-Maria’s case over the years and from all my communication with him that what happened to Inga-Maria has had a profound impact on him. John’s touching poem is entitled No Beauty Hath Ever Been Seen and displays a real depth of feeling and sincerity. It is published below for the first time anywhere.

To make it a trilogy of works inspired by Inga-Maria, I’ve decided to round out this ‘Poetic Edition’ of The Keeley Chronicles with a piece of my own, ‘Plundered Past’, the lyrics to the song I wrote about her which was released as the second single by my now-defunct band Session Motts. I generally don’t like separating words from music as I prefer for the lyrics I write to live where I believe they belong: inside the song, beyond the clear comprehension that can strip a song of what I think is its most essential strength, its mystery. But I want to make an exception in this case, and publish the lyrics here for the first time in full (the Belfast Telegraph previously published the lyrics to the chorus of ‘Plundered Past’ on Page 3 of their July 12th 2017 issue).

For all the success my old band had with our two other singles last year (neither of which were about Inga-Maria) my own personal highlight of 2017 was in hearing one particular line in ‘Plundered Past’ regularly on the radio down South and seeing it as a posthumous achievement for Inga-Maria from beyond the grave, in defiance of her killers who must have thought they’d permanently silenced her on that night in Ballypatrick Forest. Although the line from Inga-Maria’s diary that I quoted in the song may at first glance appear to be innocuous, mundane even, and only consists of a mere four words – those being “Snowy mountains, wild landscape” – which she wrote on the train on her way to Glasgow on what would turn out to be the last day of her life, April 6th 1988, I felt there was something beautiful about the way those four words looked and sounded. I also feel that that line best expresses Inga-Maria’s wonderment at the beauty of nature and her appreciation of the world around her.

Snowy mountains, wild landscape. So simple and yet so descriptive and evocative, setting the scene exactly as she saw and perceived it on a Spring afternoon in 1988 as she gazed excitedly out of the window of a British Rail train while it whizzed past trees and fields en route to the Scottish city as the 1980’s itself raced towards the end of the decade. What makes those four words I think even more poignant is that they display the restless zest of a young person in love with the world, in love with life itself, living out a dream (and that is no overstatement on my behalf – Inga-Maria’s mum Almut was quoted as saying to the Bild newspaper in 2011 that “It was her dream” to travel to the UK and Ireland).

Snowy mountains, wild landscape. As Inga-Maria jotted down those four words in ink that day, she could never have imagined that they would be some of the last words she would write, that within hours she would be erased from this existence seven weeks and one day short of her 19th birthday, the precise circumstances of which remain a secret maintained by a clan of clones bereft of souls. She also couldn’t have possibly imagined that those four words which she penned in her diary as the train tracks beneath her feet clattered as the wheels met steel, each portion of track unwittingly carrying her closer to imminent catastrophe, that those four words would more than 29 years later be quoted in the form of a song inspired by her, and would resound from radios throughout the South of Ireland for several months (although it has to be said, to the obliviousness of most listeners who generally wouldn’t have known what or who the song was about). Plus it’s worth bearing in mind that Inga-Maria’s case has a much lower profile in my native South of Ireland than it has in the North. But it’s something no one can take from me that, however mundane it may sound, I managed to get something that she wrote so innocently and innocuously on a train in April 1988 onto the airwaves in 2017, and which I see as a posthumous vindication, one where the last line of the song would come true upon its release – “I’ll give you the voice they denied”.

 

Chapter 41: Legacy

glasgow-works-1-1988

The View From Here: British Rail train on the outskirts of Glasgow in 1988. Inga-Maria would have taken in this view on her approach to the Scottish city on the last day of her life

 

Triptych

By Claire McCotter ©2018

Back Packer

She is a swallow
on the heart hammering
brink of blue
for weeks her sleep
silvery with dreams
of maps and moons
and magnetic fields
now her bright brown eyes
on the edge of flight
the leap the drop
the rise the rise
the jolt of sky
the swoop the curve
the turn
her maiden voyage
a practice run
wound down at dusk
on a telephone line
her throat full
of sorrel and stars and sun
and miles
and miles of blue
and the miles and miles
of blue to come.

  

Solace

In her bedroom
she is a student of song
practising
guitar chords
before pressing record
not knowing
every time
her mother
presses rewind
the gold crocus
on her child’s tongue
candles the night.

 

Self Seeding

Left broken
in the place seed fell
they brought
their corn haired girl
back home
thinking of those
she might
have brought
to them
her mother
smoothed the earth
out over
her shoulders.
And yet
still in the forest
her dark eyes
blent with theirs
she waits at dusk
among the sika deer.

 

No Beauty Hath Ever Been Seen
A poem by John Dallat MLA ©2018

No beauty hath ever been seen
To compare with the Munich queen
Clad in blue jeans
And full of beans
Looking forward to meeting a mate
My God she is so stunning, so sedate.

Offered a lift in a lorry
Inga-Maria has nothing to worry
No tourist before has come to grief
For her parents at home this surely is a relief.
The lorry is for Belfast or so he said
My God hopefully Inga-Maria is not being misled

A Province-wide search has begun
Is Inga-Maria in trouble or just having fun?
Sighted here and there, far and wide
Her family desperately want her at their side
They know she would not wander
And to strangers she would not pander

More sightings, who did she embrace
Surely this isn’t a murder case?
Inga-Maria is an intelligent child
Bright and creative, loving and mild
Who in their right mind would steal her life?
But such thoughts are now so very rife.

Sadly, those fears were well grounded
Inga-Maria in a forest has foundered
Died defending her honour
As deadly blows rained down upon her
A talented musician, a beauty so stunning
Please God her killers have exhausted their cunning.

 

‘Plundered Past’
Song lyrics by Keeley Moss ©2017

Singing The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’
In the far-off lands of a plundered past
On this street lived a family
In the far-off lands of a plundered past

You could use your pencils and paint
In the far-off lands of a plundered past
“Snowy mountains, wild landscape…”
In the far-off lands of a plundered past
In the far-off lands of a plundered past

I love you, I live you
The old has become new
You crept in the back door of my mind
I need it, I feel it
I won’t let time steal it
I’ll give you the voice they denied

Eerie glow that bathed the streets below
In the far-off lands of a plundered past
Twenty to 10 they’re lining up
In the far-off lands of a plundered past

Scratches on his face hint at Hell
In the far-off lands of a plundered past
In the far-off lands of a plundered past

I love you, I live you
The old has become new
You crept in the back door of my mind.
I need it, I feel it
I won’t let time steal it
I’ll give you the voice they denied

You crept in the back door of my mind

I’ll give you the voice they denied

 

_____________________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality
Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Found April 20th 1988. Never forgotten.

© Keeley Moss 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 15

With thanks to John Dallat MLA and Clare McCotter.

‘She Is Suffering’ lyrics by Richey James. Published by Sony Music Publishing ©1994

Triptych: Back Packer/Solace/Self Seeding written by Claire McCotter. Published by Copyright Control ©2018

No Beauty Hath Ever Been Seen Poem written by John Dallat MLA. Published by Copyright Control ©2018

‘Plundered Past’ lyrics by Keeley Moss. Published by Copyright Control ©2017