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
By Keeley Moss
Part 12 CONTENTS Chapter 34 - Writing to Reach You Chapter 35 - Archives of Pain Acknowledgements for Part 12
Chapter 34 – Writing to Reach You
We get older every year
But you don’t change
Teenage Fanclub – ‘Everything Flows’
Since posting Part 9 of The Keeley Chronicles in early April, there have been some unexpected developments behind the scenes that I count among the most meaningful since I began publishing this blog one year ago this week. One such development is that I was overjoyed and very moved to hear from Inga-Maria Hauser’s nephew – the first member of the extended Hauser family to get in touch with me, after I had spent many months trying to track down Inga-Maria’s mother in order to send her a parcel that included a letter I had written that I’d then typed and had gotten translated into German with the kind help of a friend who first came in contact with me through this blog.
Within just a few days of my first correspondence with Inga-Maria’s nephew, I was surprised again, in a development that was completely-unconnected to the Hauser family, when I was contacted by a man named Walter who had been a teenage friend of Inga-Maria’s in Munich. I was quickly able to establish he was telling the truth, and like I have done with Inga-Maria’s nephew, it has meant a lot to be able to build a bond of trust with him. As with Inga-Maria’s nephew, I have found him to be a lovely person.
Hearing from Inga-Maria’s friend expanded things into another dimension for me, as here was someone who had actually known her and could attest to her character, the very first person I had contact with who was in a position to do so. But I couldn’t have known what was next in store…For in a further momentous development I then heard from Inga-Maria’s sister, which meant so much to me, as she has never spoken to the press or been interviewed in the almost thirty years since Inga-Maria’s murder and continues to shun all media contact. Out of respect for her privacy, I do not think it would be appropriate to divulge her name or anything she has said to me but I am very grateful to her for having gotten in touch.
I cherish the recollections about Inga-Maria that Walter and her sister have shared with me and in the light of what happened to her in Northern Ireland all those years ago any such information is precious. In the course of our correspondence I have been able to find out things such as what was her favourite song which for me as a musician, songwriter and a massive music fan was one of the things I was most intrigued about. All the more so when I learned that her favourite song was ‘Mocking Bird’ by one of my own favourites Barclay James Harvest – a beautifully-orchestrated ballad with a melancholy, mournful air, a preference I think indicative of Inga-Maria’s thoughtful, artistic nature. Here it is:
With Walter’s permission I am about to reveal some more of what has been communicated to me, for I feel it is of benefit to Inga-Maria’s memory which has in the past been tarnished by some preposterous and deeply-disrespectful claims published by a Sunday tabloid some years ago that I believe to have had not a shred of foundation to them, and which I have purposely avoided even referring to in this blog to date because I deem them not worthy of my nor anyone else’s time. Some other information I’ve been privy to and which I’d like to share with you now, in his words, “Inga was for sure one of the most charming and beloved persons I’ve ever met.” These are the words of someone who actually knew her and not the words of someone with an agenda to try sell newspapers off the back of scurrilous and ludicrous male fantasies involving a young woman who has already had her life so cruelly taken and didn’t in any way deserve for her dignity to be trampled on and ravaged in such a callous manner that is sadly a typical case of character assassination from a tabloid newspaper but one which is all the more reprehensible given the horrific circumstances of Inga-Maria’s murder, the abominable mistreatment of her as a visitor to Irish shores and the inability of the authorities to bring charges against those responsible for the crimes inflicted on her for almost thirty years at the time of writing.
Furthermore Inga-Maria’s friend later went on to say, “To know her means to love her. Most of your writings regarding her character I can verify. As far as I knew her, she’d never have gone with someone unfamiliar to her without a very very good reason. This is one of the disturbing facts in the case – how the hell she could get into such a terrible plight? Inga was not that dumb adventurer, she would never have gone with any person – even less persons (!) – that dangerous.” He added, “The most remarkable attributes of Inga were…her personality. Everyone felt comfortable in her attendance. I can’t remember any bad word.”
Inga-Maria’s dream was to travel – and in one of her last diary entries written in Scotland she wrote, “The day after tomorrow I’m going on to Ireland. I’m looking forward to that the best”. And then for her to be treated like that, almost immediately upon arrival? There are no words.
I’ll conclude this chapter with the following words from Inga-Maria’s friend: “I would be honoured if you give your attention to some things out of our conversation to your blog. I totally agree with you – and have the strong conviction – it will be very very important to describe Inga not only as a victim or a cold case, but rather as that person, she really was or maybe she could have been in future, in our present… Perhaps it will help convincing the one or the other of the offenders, the witnesses or protectors, what they have done and still do to a human being, a real person, a young girl with all her talents, her dreams, her plans of life – maybe they can catch a small glimpse of the consequences their disgraceful act had“.
Chapter 35 – Archives Of Pain
You have your very own number
They dress your cage in its nature
For the outside
The small black flowers that grow in the sky
They drag sticks along your walls
Harvest your ovaries, dead mothers crawl
For the outside
The small black flowers that grow in the sky
Manic Street Preachers – ‘Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky’
Another person to have contacted me since the Spring in relation to Inga-Maria’s case is John Dallat. John is a man 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. Most importantly of all in my opinion, he is responsible for Inga-Maria’s case having been reopened after a direct approach to the then-RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.
I have written about John a number of times before. 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 the case has had a profound impact on him and he has I believe more than anyone strived to make a positive difference in honour of her memory. John travelled all the way from Derry to Dublin to meet with me, which is indicative of the lengths that he is willing to go to try help Inga-Maria’s case. I am proud to call John a friend and like the many fine people I have come in contact with through my work, the terribly sad thing is that it wasn’t any of these people who Inga-Maria encountered aboard the Galloway Princess on the April 6th 1988 instead of whoever was responsible for taking her life after “a vicious and ruthless assault” in the words of the PSNI.
Reinhard Keck conducted an interview with Inga-Maria’s mother Almut Hauser for the German newspaper Bild in 2011. Here are several extracts that I have translated into English for the first time:
Her white blouses are ironed, neatly laid in the closet. And her bed is also fresh; a colourful blanket embroidered with horses, which gallop into the expanse. Her favourite blanket. Inga Maria Hauser could come home any day, any hour. If she entered her room, she would feel as if she had never been away. The world out there has continued, but here, within 20 square meters, Inga Maria’s mother has left everything as it was 23 years ago. When Inga Maria died.
Carefully we can enter it. It is a small room with a light parquet, in which the memories accumulated: on the desk, notebooks; Pins and brushes are arranged neatly. On the bedside table next to the bed, a golden hairpin and a silver necklace shine, on the windowsill are figures made of clay. For Almut Hauser sacred artefacts, all carefully selected and carefully arranged.
“Inga Maria’s things will always be with me,” says Almut Hauser with a firm voice. “I have not thrown anything away, I wanted to have everything around me to keep the memory alive.” Then she strokes the colourful horse’s corner: “They are also the things that belong to Inga”.
“It was her great dream to travel with her backpack through the UK during school holidays,” says her mother.
Would she have let her daughter go? Almut Hauser often thinks about this question. And perhaps it is so difficult for her to let her youngest go a second time. Just let go and not know her anymore, as soon as her room no longer exists.
Ten years ago it would have been possible to dissolve the room. Almut Hauser did not. She retired at that time and had to look for a new apartment. She did not need much space, there was only one extra room – for Inga Maria. “First I packed my things, then the ones from Inga,” says Almut Hauser, “in the new apartment I have automatically rebuilt everything as it was before.”
Can you imagine living like that every day, year after year after year? Imagine the impact all this would have on your marriage, and on the relationship you have with your other daughter. Imagine the impact it would have on your social life, on your health, on your work. That level of unsurpassable agony, the torment of those memories. Trying desperately to keep the worst thoughts as far away and the best ones as close as possible but all the time knowing that as both are inextricably linked, even the happy recollections are soaked in sadness. And the realisation that the rest of your life will be spent in this prison of pain while the very individuals responsible for causing that pain have never had to spend one minute inside any prison to atone for what they did. Maimed by the memory of losing your baby and being aware of what their last hour on this Earth must have been like, filled with the worst experiences it is possible for a young woman to be put through. Assaulted by the thought that you weren’t there to protect her, and faced every day with the feeling that you somehow failed her, that she spent the last moments of her young life being terrorised and brutalized in the most remote section of a pitch-black forest a thousand miles from home. Hounded by the horror of the utter terror she must have experienced during that ordeal.
Sometimes I don’t know how much longer I can carry on being immersed in this case and writing this blog with the extent of human suffering shadowing my steps, each grim detail swirling around inside my head without end. During the sixteen months so far that I’ve been writing, researching and promoting this blog I’ve gone to some dark places psychologically. I’ve cried many times about what happened to her, her looking forward most of all to visiting Ireland as she stated in one of her last diary entries and knowing what the reality entailed, her family having to live the rest of their lives without her and imagining the silence and the sadness echoing endlessly, her parents having to hold what would have been her 21st birthday party in her absence and them inviting all her friends to their home that day, her body having been discovered on of all days her mother’s birthday, Inga’s dad having to leave this life without ever knowing what really happened and without ever seeing justice…But I feel I have to try carry this on for as long as it is possible to do so. I can’t let it go. And neither can John Dallat.
And neither can Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray and the PSNI who it should be acknowledged have devoted years of work to trying to solve this case. I know there are people out there who bear a grievance towards the PSNI and certainly their former incarnation the RUC and would be loath to give them credit. However anyone who has really taken the time to delve into the extensive history of this case would surely have to acknowledge that back in 1988 and equally so from the early 2000’s until 2012 they committed significant resources and a huge volume of man-hours into trying to solve the case. If the PSNI didn’t care, or if there was a cover-up as some have suggested then it makes no sense why they would have taken it upon themselves to spend time and considerable effort in developing a full DNA profile of the ‘crime scene donor’ from the crime scene materials 17 years after the murder and then assembling a team of detectives to work full-time on the case from 2005 when they obtained the full DNA profile until 2012 when they hit a brick wall in the investigation. Not long after Part 1 of The Keeley Chronicles was first published I was contacted by a retired RUC detective who was among the first at the scene of Inga-Maria’s murder. In his words “This was the one case in my career I would have given my eye teeth to solve”. I believe that sentiment would have been broadly shared by his counterparts in the police force and by many of the subsequent police officers and detectives some of whom have worked long hours on the case for years at a time.
Every time I work on a new instalment of this blog I always try to do something different and present something new for you, either in terms of writing about the case from a different angle, or by featuring a new interview or song I have recorded or by including an otherwise-unavailable news clip about the case, or by publishing a new photograph of Inga-Maria whenever possible. Well this part, fittingly published one year on from the week when The Keeley Chronicles first emerged and went viral, is significant for the inclusion of the previously unpublished details about Inga-Maria that I mentioned in the first paragraph and even more so for another newly-unearthed photo of Inga-Maria at the top of the page. It shows this beautiful girl as she was on a long-ago day in the early 1980’s during an outing to a zoo, which given that Inga-Maria was born in 1969 I would estimate was taken sometime around 1981 or 1982. In the photo she’s laughing, happy and so full of life…The very life that only a few short years later would be stolen from her forever.
I urge those in the rural area to the east of Ballymoney who are shielding those responsible for her horrific murder to simply take a look at the photograph at the top of this page and try telling yourself that the girl in that photo doesn’t deserve justice or that she could possibly be able to rest in peace without it.
Just try telling yourself that.
May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.
© Keeley Moss 2017
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 12
Thanks to Walter and John Dallat MLA. There is a light that never goes out.
‘Everything Flows’ written by Blake/O’Hare/Love/McGinley. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1990
‘Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky’ written by Bradfield/Wire/Moore/James. Published by Sony Music Publishing ©1996