The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a murder mystery still officially unsolved after 31 years
By Keeley Moss
PART 2 - CONTENTS Chapter 11 - Country Feedback Chapter 12 - Everything I Own Chapter 13 - I Started Something I Couldn't Finish Chapter 14 - Lost In The Woods Chapter 15 - Welcome To The Jungle Chapter 16 - The Look Chapter 17 - The Hardest Thing In The World Chapter 18 - Unhappy Birthday Chapter 19 - Shattered Dreams Acknowledgements for Part 2 Further sources
Chapter 11 – Country Feedback
Sound the victim’s song
The trial is gone
The trial goes on
Talk Talk – ‘The Rainbow’ (1988)
“Beneath the trees where nobody sees…” goes the age-old nursery rhyme. Ballypatrick Forest Park is a six-mile stretch of striking beauty but considerable remoteness, situated very close to the top of the most northernmost point of Northern Ireland. I have been greatly interested and encouraged in how many people have been getting in touch to share their memories about Inga-Maria’s case and the location, in addition to the thousands of views this blog has received in a mere matter of days despite my having as of yet undertaken no interviews nor done any other promo, and as a result revealing to me the huge extent of interest still prevalent in the case among the people of Northern Ireland even after all this time. The following extracts are from comments I have chosen from a select number of people who have kindly agreed to them being published here:
I was a secondary school student in the town at the time – I remember her picture on the school notice board – looking for information – it was awful. I can’t walk Ballypatrick Forest.
I have since come to live near the place where Inga’s body was found and don’t walk alone here for that very reason.
I live only 6/7 miles from where her body was discovered and was only 8 at the time it happened. Driving past the forest all these years later still frightens me.
Another individual who made contact with me who has asked to remain anonymous said:
Growing up in the area I have always been seriously struck by the case. From driving past Ballypatrick Forest as a young child and hearing the car doors lock from the inside – the only time the doors were ever locked! – to overhearing the whispers between local adults about it. It was very much something which shook the local community.
Another person got in touch to share an intriguing viewpoint, and like the others above has kindly consented to my publishing her words here:
It just strikes me as so weird a place to go from Larne docks – look at a map, there are NUMEROUS forests on the way north long before Ballypatrick – Beaghs, Slieveanorra etc…This is still in my mind even today as I remember it totally catching my breath it had happened in wee Northern Ireland, the randomness of WHERE it happened whilst backpacking.
Weird indeed. Later on we will see how the geographical and behavioural profilers both enlisted by police separately reached the same firm conclusion – that the killers of Inga-Maria were extremely familiar with Ballypatrick Forest, with one police source being quoted as saying that at least one of them knew it “like the back of his hand” – presumably the reason it was specifically chosen for their murderous purposes that night.
Chapter 12 – Everything I Own
I never thought that I would find myself
In bed amongst the stones
The columns are all men
Begging to crush me
No shapes sail on the dark deep lakes
And no flags wave me home
In the caves
All cats are grey
In the caves
The textures coat my skin
In the death cell
A single note
Rings on and on and on
The Cure – ‘All Cats Are Grey’
In the night all cats are grey
Another of the most curious facts about this case is that far from having been “buried in a shallow grave” as the media have repeatedly misreported, the killer or killers made absolutely no attempt to bury or even conceal Inga-Maria’s body. She was left lying face down on the ground just off a dirt track. If, as detectives are convinced, the location where Inga-Maria’s body was discovered was a very familiar one to the killer or killers, then this represents a remarkably brazen move on their behalf, suggesting a quite breathtaking degree of arrogance in what is a close-knit rural area heavy with police activity at the time on account of the ongoing ‘Troubles’. “If she been carried fifty yards, her remains could have been left deep in the forest. If that had happened, she may never have been found”, revealed the investigator now in charge of the case Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray.
Yet another unusual feature of the case is that having left Inga-Maria’s body out in the open, in full view of whoever would find her, with the sole exception of her passport all of her other personal belongings – her rucksack, her other bags, her clothes, running shoes, sleeping bag, identity card, her diary, even her expensive camera – were casually left strewn around her, with no attempt made to conceal her identity or to take any other items as ‘souvenirs’, a macabre tendency common among murderers. Although her passport was reportedly missing, an identity card was found at the scene which allowed investigators to establish her identity from an early stage. It was as if the killer or killers had such supreme confidence in their never being caught that they didn’t bother trying to conceal the vast majority of her personal belongings and considered it unnecessary to carry Inga-Maria’s body the fifty yards further into the forest that detectives believe would have made it likely that her body may never have been discovered. Remarkably, having gone to considerable effort to secure as remote a location as possible in which to carry out the battery and murder, the killer or killers then made no effort to conceal their crime. Considering it is now twenty-nine years since Inga-Maria’s murder and the case remains unsolved, you’d have to conclude that, remarkably, despite the extensive evidence at the police’s disposal (more on which later) the perpetrators were correct in possibly surmising that they would be ‘untouchable’.
On April 9th 1988 Inga-Maria failed to make the appointment to meet up with a university friend from Germany in Cardiff. On April 11th she failed to make an appointment to meet another friend in London and by that point it was becoming clear to her mother and father back in Munich that something was terribly wrong.
Chapter 13 – I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
I went with someone and I woke to find
Nothing is what you’ll hear from me
I can no more stop it in the state I’m in
Than I can walk a tightrope in a gale force wind
Microdisney – ‘Gale Force Wind’ (1988)
Inga-Maria had boarded the ferry as a foot passenger in Stranraer and on the ferry that night there were 422 people onboard. As Alan Bailey, formerly the national coordinator of Operation TRACE (the taskforce formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding a number of suspicious disappearances of females in Ireland) stated in his book Missing, Presumed, Inga-Maria was “An attractive girl who would have stood out in any company”, particularly in Northern Ireland in 1988 where for obvious reasons it was rare for any backpackers to visit the war-torn region, let alone a beautiful young woman on her own. Her camera, when it was later found close to her body would reveal that while there were a great many photographs (precisely eight rolls worth) taken in England and Scotland, there was not one of Northern Ireland, presumably because she never had the chance to take any. Furthermore not one of the several hundred people later traced and interviewed by police remembered seeing her get off that ferry. All the evidence suggests that Inga-Maria, who had boarded the ferry as a foot passenger in Stranraer, did not disembark by foot in Larne. Why? The only other way she could have gotten off the boat was in a motor vehicle – a motor vehicle driven by someone else. Was it someone who befriended her during the crossing and offered her a lift to Belfast, possibly even offering accommodation or an offer to show her where accommodation was available? However, the police remain perplexed as to why she would have boarded a vehicle, as once she’d reached Larne she had no reason to – she had her InterRail ticket and had always avoided lifts from strangers. Despite extensive efforts by police that vehicle has never been identified.
Ultimately the crucial juncture, the point at which opportunity intersects with tragedy, is that at which the ferry docked. She should have been on that platform in Larne Harbour station on the night of April 6th 1988. She should have been on that train. She wasn’t. The fact is, she never made it to Belfast. No one reported even seeing her on the way from the ferry to Larne Harbour station let alone on the platform itself or on the train, and it has been suggested to me that CCTV footage from Larne Harbour train station available to investigators is the greatest indicator of all that she never appeared on the platform. Whatever way she made it off that ferry is crucial in determining who was responsible for her subsequent death. After April 6th the daily phone calls to Inga-Maria’s parents in Munich suddenly stop. There are no more postcards from her sent after that date.
Chapter 14 – Lost In The Woods
Come closer and see
See into the trees
Find the girl
If you can
Come closer and see
See into the dark
Just follow your eyes
Just follow your eyes…
The Cure – ‘A Forest’
Imagine. In the depths of that forest. In the night. In complete darkness, with not a light around for miles. And many many more miles from the familiarity of her family’s sanctuary. She must have been absolutely terrified, a thought I find most upsetting. Having barely set foot on the Irish soil she’d so hoped to explore, a young woman barely an adult is losing her life. Having given Northern Ireland a chance at a time when not many tourists would have ventured there on account of the Troubles, she had been taken and torn, beaten and brutalized. The moment whoever killed her snuffed out the light of her life, what was going through their minds? And what had gone through hers in the hour preceding the assault that led to her death? Did she harbour a hope of being saved, of her assailants being seized by the police? Was the attack she faced that night such a fierce and furious onslaught that there simply was no time to do anything but bear the blows, not even a second to come to terms with the enormity of what was occuring? At what point during the journey after leaving the ferry did she realise she was in deep trouble?
Ballypatrick Forest is approximately forty miles distance from Larne, and in the opposite direction to Belfast. It being late at night, and dark, and the area being totally unfamiliar to her, she may not have even suspected that those sharing the vehicle with her were taking her in the opposite direction to that which they presumably had promised to take her until the attack commenced, or possibly just before. Did she get to look out the window of the car or lorry and see the streets and surrounding countryside even once without fear or apprehension of what was about to ensue, and even briefly see a part of Northern Ireland, the land she had come to explore? Or had she been overcome by an assailant in the vehicle so soon after disembarking the ferry that she never had the chance to even momentarily take in the sight of Northern Ireland at night? The exact circumstances of what preceded her murder that night are unknown.
What is known is that they took her life – and there’s that phrase, sounding almost flippant given how often we hear it…”took her life”. Took. Her. Life. Hers, not theirs. And yet they ended hers and plunged her loved ones into a pit of pain while continuing to live their own. What goes through the mind of rapists, of killers? How can they reconcile themselves to the horrific pain, suffering and indignity they’ve inflicted on an innocent victim? Is it the absence of a conscience and some sort of mental compartmentalisation aiding this capacity for detachment? Or is sadism such a driving force that they only ever gain glee from their victim’s plight, and revel in others’ revulsion or at best be totally apathetic about it? Leaving a young woman’s broken body to the elements with her once-living flesh left to rot in a forest. Apart from the Troubles, and yet somehow slightly caught in their tragic tail-lights. Which leads neatly on to our next chapter…
Chapter 15 – Welcome To The Jungle
The lanes were silent
There was nothing, no one, nothing around for miles
I started something
I forced you to a zone
And you were clearly never meant to go
The Smiths – ‘I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish’
It was into this toxic cauldron that Inga-Maria inexplicably sailed on that fateful Spring night in April 1988. Although she was not a victim of ‘the Troubles’ per se, certainly her killers benefitted from the fact that, with so many other murders to investigate, the RUC’s investigation into Inga-Maria’s case would be to a degree compromised by the vast workload they were having to contend with on a daily basis that were it not for ‘the Troubles’, they would at least have been in a better position. So in that sense Inga-Maria is a victim of ‘the Troubles’, although not directly. It also could well have had an effect on the thinking patterns of the perpetrators, who may have felt they could slip under the radar in the course of carrying out such crimes as those inflicted on Inga-Maria, and would stand a better chance of getting away with it.
The following passage I am quoting verbatim from the chapter on Inga-Maria’s case in Barry Cummins’ The Cold Case Files, for I feel it warrants printing in full, in an effort to show the context of the environment Inga-Maria arrived into on the night she arrived in Northern Ireland. The book is an invaluable resource on Inga-Maria’s case and six unsolved murders in the Republic of Ireland, and I recommend it:
In the year that Inga-Maria Hauser was murdered, 106 people lost their lives as a result of ‘the Troubles’. 1988 was one of the most violent years in Northern Ireland and it was a year that also saw Troubles-related deaths in the Republic of Ireland, Gibraltar, Holland, Belgium and England. However, 95 of the 106 deaths that year due to ‘the Troubles’ occurred in Northern Ireland. On the very day that Inga-Maria Hauser arrived in Larne on the ferry from Scotland, an IRA bomb had exploded under a car in Co. Fermanagh close to the Cavan border. A 51 year-old father of five who was a part-time member of the Ulster Defence Regiment was killed. Less than a week after Inga’s body was found in Ballypatrick Forest, the IRA killed two more people. A 23 year-old man was shot dead as he collected dustbins in Co. Tyrone on the 26th of April. The father of one was also a part-time member of the UDR. On the same day a 20 year-old British soldier was killed in an IRA booby-trap bomb while he was on patrol in Co. Tyrone. The previous month had been one of the most violent and bizarre in the history of ‘the Troubles’. On 6th March the SAS shot dead three IRA members in Gibraltar. Their funerals were being held on March 16th at Milltown Cemetery when a UFF man opened fire during the funeral ceremony and killed three men, one of whom was an IRA member. His funeral was being held three days later when two British soldiers in plainclothes drove into the cortege in West Belfast. The car was surrounded and the two men were pulled from the vehicle and beaten savagely before being shot dead. The moments leading up to the deaths of the two soldiers had been captured by television crews who were filming the funeral of the IRA member. The harrowing scenes were broadcast on television screens around the world and Northern Ireland was at one of its lowest of many low ebbs. It was into this environment that Inga-Maria chose to visit Ireland. The 18-year old German was not deterred by news reports of violence, shootings, bombings, maimings and murder…
Chapter 16 – The Look
Easter’s heir uncrowns
Another destiny lies leeched upon the ground
A gilded wreath on reason
The flower crushed conceives
A child of fragrance so much clearer
Talk Talk – ‘Eden’ (1988)
Another factor that would have endangered Inga-Maria upon her arrival in the North is the simple fact of her physical beauty. A friend of mine from the North was once discussing the murder of Captain Nairac and how his demise had been brought about when he had blown his cover during an undercover surveillance operation. He had entered the Three Steps Inn near Forkhill where my friend lives, and had foolishly attempted to ingratiate himself with the locals by openly claiming he was a “provo”, an announcement that swiftly aroused suspicion among those present. However, in addition to that blunder, he would surely have drawn attention to himself by the fact that he looked so unlike anyone else generally living there. With his high cheekbones, a full head of dark hair, slim figure and an aura of suave sophistication gained through his privileged upper-class heritage and belonging to a family steeped in the military elite, surely difficult for even someone trained in the art of subterfuge to sufficiently disguise, Nairac was asking for trouble going in that bar. As my friend put it, “People around here don’t look like that”. Accordingly, his card would have been marked the moment he stepped in the door of the Three Steps Inn that night.
Even though the circumstances of Inga-Maria’s and Captain Nairac’s respective deaths in Northern Ireland eleven years apart could not have been more different, there is a correlation to be drawn from how their possession of uncommonly good looks would have marked them out as different and in Inga-Maria’s case, as particularly desirable to predators. She was presumably not to know that coming from such a country as Germany where as I’ve seen with my own eyes on numerous occasions, practically every second young adult both male and female appear to be model-material, she was visiting countries where in general people, as my friend said regarding Captain Nairac, just “don’t look like that”. Yet another example is the case of Manuela Riedo, the 17 year-old Swiss student tragically raped and murdered in Ireland in 2007, another girl of uncommonly-striking physical beauty.
Chapter 17 – The Hardest Thing In The World
Back in the same place but everything’s changed
Back by the harbour with my back to the land
Block out the sadness with the palm of my hand
The Weather Prophets – ‘Almost Prayed
Something that no one ever seems to focus on when it comes to someone’s life having been taken is this: That person was, and ultimately always will be, somebody’s baby, the precious produce of two people’s love, be it fleeting or lifelong. To unilaterally erase the existence of another is essentially a crime against humanity. Another human being, effectively a mother’s baby, a father’s baby, whatever age they may have grown to by the time of their murder. The destruction of life is so much more than one death – it’s the permanent curtailment of a chain of life that could have ultimately lead on to many other lives over the course of the future. And the creation of so much sadness and regret. For what? Some sick thrills on a cold night in a forest? Followed by a lifetime of the perpetrators having to look over their shoulders, surely never feeling entirely at ease, all the while knowing that every new day is another opportunity for that knock on the door by the long arm of the law.
Have you ever had a bad dream, wake up and it not stop?
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – ‘Jennifer She Said’
In each of the three photos of Almut Hauser circulated through the media, all taken in the years since her daughter was so brutally murdered and after her husband had succumbed to cancer, there is the most unmistakable pain etched across her face. I don’t think I have ever seen another person so wracked with anguish. She looks for all the world haunted by loss. How she has managed to continue with the everyday business of living in the circumstances I cannot imagine.
Chapter 18 – Unhappy Birthday
Loved and lost…From the one you left behind
From the one you left behind
The Smiths – ‘Unhappy Birthday’
Inga-Maria’s body was discovered by a sheep farmer on his rounds in Ballypatrick Forest exactly two weeks after her death, on April 20th 1988. Of all days, this happened to be her mother’s birthday. Think about that for a moment…For the rest of her life she would never be able to enjoy her birthday again, with it coinciding with the anniversary of the discovery of her murdered daughter’s body, and the flood of achingly-painful memories and thoughts that would bring surging to the surface. Forevermore she would have to look around her daughter’s bedroom – which for all the remaining years Almut lived there would be maintained exactly as Inga-Maria had left it – and think of what might have been had she lived, had she not gone to Northern Ireland. While being consumed by guilt, ‘survivors guilt’ and the guilt only too familiar to parents who’ve had to deal with navigating the thorny topic of how much freedom to permit their progeny, only for that freedom to having been a factor in a subsequent tragedy. All the possible permutations, all the points at which that tragedy could have been averted if only, if only.
But there are no answers. There is no salvation, only sorrow. No hope, only hell. Twenty-nine years on and still Inga-Maria’s killers remain beyond the law. Almut’s husband Josef died of cancer in 2006, having never seen anyone held to account for his daughter’s murder. After her husband’s death Almut moved to an apartment on the same street as their former family home. She has said she visits the graves of Inga-Maria and Josef every single day to light candles. My heart truly goes out to her. My primary motivation with this website and with all of my work involving the case is to try to help her in any possible way I can.
How we learn to linger on
Don’t you know how life goes on
To incessantly drive on
Dress in gold’s surrendering gown
Heaven bless you in your calm
Heaven bless you
Talk Talk – ‘Inheritance’ (1988)
Chapter 19 – Shattered Dreams
So much for your promises
Caught up in a web of lies
But it was just too late to know
Woke up to reality
I thought it was you
Who would do me no wrong
Johnny Hates Jazz – ‘Shattered Dreams’ (1988*)
And so it came to pass. She passed our way, and she passed away. Her arrival on these shores was exceptionally-brief and totally unknown to anyone on the island at the time with the exception of her murderers. Think of all she lost, all that was denied to her. Not just the remainder and the reminders of her great adventure and the fact that she would not have another. Not just her future, whatever way she dreamed it might be, regardless of how many if any of those dreams might have been realised. These are the facts. She would never marry. She would never have children. She would never get to make an imprint on any more lives than the people she had met up to her late teens. But maybe, through this story of her fateful final adventure, she can be granted a sort of belated posthumous honour, that stands as a testament to her bravery and vitality, and the tragedy of her passing, of the interest of people who like myself never got to meet her. I hope so.
And then there’s the place where the perpetrators chose to take Inga-Maria to carry out the murder – of all places, a forest. One of the few beautiful and unspoilt landscapes in what was at that point in time an environment ravaged by years of war and bitter sectarianism. A forest, a place of nature, home to countless trees surrounded by scenery, shrubbery and greenery. Trees – providers of oxygen, the very giver of life – helplessly overlooking an act of wanton defilement and destruction resulting in the taking of a life.
May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.
© Keeley Moss 2016
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 2
Thanks to Fi, ‘J’, Roisin, Aileen and another individual who has asked to remain anonymous for permitting me to add excerpts from their comments to Chapter 12.
‘The Rainbow’, ‘Eden’ & ‘Inheritance’ all written by Hollis/Friese-Greene. Published by Warner Chappell Music ©1988
‘The Teddy Bears Picnic’ written by Bratton/Kennedy. Published by © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
‘All Cats Are Grey’ written by Smith/Tolhurst/Gallup. Published by APB Music Co. Ltd. ©1981
‘Gale Force Wind’ written and published by Cathal Coughlan and Sean O’Hagan ©1988
‘A Forest’ written by Smith/Tolhurst/Gallup/Hartley. Published by APB Music Co. Ltd. ©1980
‘I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish’ & ‘Unhappy Birthday’ written by Morrissey/Marr. Published by Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group ©1987
‘Almost Prayed’ written by Peter Astor. Creation Records ©1986
‘Jennifer She Said’ written by Clark/Cole/Cowan. Published by EMI Music Publishing ©1987
‘Shattered Dreams’ written by Clark Datchler. Virgin Records Ltd. ©1987 *USA ©1988
The Cold Case Files: On the Trail of Ireland’s Undetected Killers by Barry Cummins. Published by Gill & Macmillan ©2012
Missing, Presumed by Alan Bailey. Published by Liberties Press ©2014
Police Service of Northern Ireland