The Keeley Chronicles PART 14

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 14 CONTENTS
Chapter 38 – Universal Traveller
Chapter 39 – Caught in the Headlights
Acknowledgements for Part 14

 

Chapter 38: Universal Traveller

Newsletter article April 25th 1988

Murder Story: Article published in the April 25th 1988 edition of the News Letter newspaper in the aftermath of Inga-Maria’s murder. This was the first time a photo of Inga-Maria was ever published. Note the misspelling of her surname as “Hausser” and the erroneous information that her father’s name was “Hans Hausser” when in fact it was Josef Hauser and the incorrect claim that she was “believed to be hitch-hicking (sic) around Northern Ireland” when she had in fact never hitchhiked anywhere

 

In this sprawling landscape
How did you know just where I’d be?

Real Estate – ‘Horizon’

 

Something I have dwelled on a great deal is the distance between what’s known and what’s unknown in the case – and my underlying desire to find a way to bridge the gap between that crucial chasm. In an interview published in 2012 the detective leading the investigation, Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray told RTE Crime correspondent and author Barry Cummins exactly what the police need in order to be able to advance the investigation into Inga-Maria’s murder, “What we need is the piece of information which helps to put all of this into proper perspective, that might help us understand the chain of events that brought Inga-Maria from Larne to Ballypatrick Forest, and that we learn what happened on that journey, be it on the coast road or an inland road en route which completes the picture”.

Inga-Maria knew no one in Northern Ireland, and she knew no one in the Irish Republic either. No one anticipated her arrival in Larne on the night of April 6th 1988. There was no one expecting her to arrive in Belfast that night by a certain time and therefore no one in a position to raise the alarm when she didn’t arrive. It is my information that those responsible for her brutal murder encountered her onboard the Galloway Princess. But how is it that they managed to notice her in the first place when almost none of the 420 other passengers aboard had?

I find it incredible that out of the 422 people on board the ferry that night, a mere two people (who were traveling together, so not even two separate people) were the only ones who reported spotting Inga-Maria at any point during the ferry crossing. I recently discovered some facts that are not widely-known – and these are indeed facts – verified facts, not just the sort of urban myths and Chinese whispers that have dogged this case, which I can reveal here. I have learned in recent times that as Inga-Maria was entering the ferry terminal in Stranraer on the evening of April 6th 1988 for the ferry journey that would unwittingly change the course of her life irrevocably, the two people who would later spot her on board the ferry had accidentally bumped into her as she was approaching the doors that led to the walkway up to the ferry. They were two women from Northern Ireland, one young woman and one older woman, who immediately followed Inga-Maria up the stairwell and onto the ferry. And what’s more, each of these two women separately spotted Inga-Maria at points during the crossing, and furthermore in two very different parts of the ferry, which is also something I had not been aware of until only recently.

The first sighting of her on the ferry itself was when the older woman saw Inga-Maria opening a door that led to the lounge, and watched as she crossed the lounge. She was still on her own but – and this is very interesting – she was without her backpack and any of her other bags. Bear in mind that her backpack and bags contained her expensive camera, her diary, her passport, and all her other belongings. Would she – would you – leave such essential and valuable personal items totally unguarded in a public place with more than 400 people in the vicinity, none of whom you knew? I know that I wouldn’t have. I consider it most unlikely she would have left those items unguarded, even just for a few minutes while she visited the lavatory or wherever it was that she was going when she crossed the lounge. It has never been established for certain but I consider it likely that she left her belongings with one or more people who had befriended her onboard the ferry, and considering these people have never come forward or made themselves known to investigators, I consider it highly likely that if that was so, then that person or persons included her killer or killers.

The second time Inga-Maria was spotted onboard the Galloway Princess that night was actually up on deck, and this sighting was made by the young Northern Irish woman who had followed her directly on to the ferry when boarding in Stranraer earlier that evening. This time Inga-Maria had gone up on deck for some fresh air and to take in the sight of the Irish Sea as the ferry made its way towards the port of Larne. The young woman, whose name is known to me but whom I have not spoken with so I shall refrain from naming as her name has never been published anywhere, saw Inga-Maria lifting up the ferry’s on-deck telescope through which a clearer view of the approaching land could be made. Again, Inga-Maria was alone and again she did not have her backpack or any of her additional bags with her. With the exception of a sighting made by a third female passenger aboard the ferry that night of Inga-Maria entering a lorry as the ferry docked in Larne, a sighting that wasn’t reported until 2005 and which has never been confirmed to have been Inga-Maria (this sighting I discussed earlier in Part 3 of The Keeley Chronicles) that was the last time she was ever seen alive.

Imagine being one of those women, imagine knowing in the aftermath of her murder that you very briefly crossed paths with someone who was about to be erased from this existence in such a tragic and shocking way, and in such a standalone case that the news of the release of her singing and playing guitar, something not heard before in Ireland or the UK became the lead item on the main evening UTV News on November 2nd 2017, almost thirty years after the murder. Imagine knowing that that night aboard the Galloway Princess that you were that close to the truth behind one of the most baffling murder mysteries of the last three decades, and yet still even for those women the precise truth of what followed remains tantalisingly out of reach. What would have seemed such mundane moments for them at the time – accidentally bumping into someone as they entered the ferry terminal in Stranraer, following her onto the ferry, later seeing her crossing the ferry lounge, and later still seeing her up on deck gazing out in wonder, hope and expectation towards the land she would barely set foot on before her life was so brutally taken. These apparently mundane moments were to become some of the most important and memorable details of those women’s own lives, for it’s not every day or even every decade that you become one of the only witnesses to have observed at least part of a sequence of events that are still making news headlines thirty years later.

All the same though, even considering the fact that due to the two Northern Irish women accidentally bumping into Inga-Maria as she entered the ferry terminal in Stranraer and them subsequently following her directly onto the ferry itself making it more likely that they would remember her, I still think it very strange that no one else among the hundreds of passengers later tracked down and questioned by the then-RUC reported having seen her on board the ferry. She was strikingly good-looking, and more unusual still she was a lone young woman, an 18 year-old tourist travelling to a region that was at that time in the midst of a vicious internecine conflict. How the hell could she not have been spotted by more people? Two out of 422? I know from the correspondence I have received that I’m not alone in finding that ridiculous.

Newsletter April 21st 1988 sidebar

Inside: From the April 21st 1988 edition of the News Letter newspaper. This was the first-ever newspaper report of Inga-Maria’s murder

 

Don’t believe his heart, I beg you please it lies
There’s murder in the eyes of men and treason in the sky

She crossed the room in honour and took his words in vain
He smiled the smile of murder…

The House of Love – ‘32nd Floor’

 

Another point I’ve mulled over a lot is relevant to the title of this chapter – Universal Traveller, which is the title of an excellent, eerie song by the French band Air and a piece of music that always makes me think of what it might have been like on board the Galloway Princess that night. For one thing, that’s what Inga was – a universal traveller. She could’ve been anyone – anyone’s daughter, anyone’s sister, anyone’s friend. To me she’s symbolic of young people everywhere with hopes and dreams setting off on their first journey abroad. Except where the vast majority of them will return home, ready to regale with their tales of the road, Inga never did and never will.

The murder of Inga-Maria Hauser is as I said at the beginning of Part 1 of The Keeley Chronicles, the only case of its kind – the only sexually-motivated murder of a tourist in Northern Irish history. But for the individual who drove her off that ferry and whoever else who may have accompanied him, she arrived totally unnoticed in Northern Ireland on the night she died and instead of receiving the warm Irish greeting she deserved, was instead subjected to a horrendous ordeal, which has long since left a significant shadow hanging in its wake and which will never be resolved for as long as her killers and those shielding them carry on denying her justice like they denied her her life. And yet although Inga may have been ‘just’ one person, she is in a way every backpacker, every overseas explorer, every human being who ventures outdoors to see the other side of this life. Not an hour goes by where I don’t think of her, and I know there are likewise so many people out there all across Northern Ireland who have never forgotten her, not least John Dallat who has campaigned long and hard for answers and justice on Inga-Maria’s behalf. I notice that she’s particularly on my mind whenever I’m in a train station or at a bus depot or in an airport, any of those places with a transitory ambience, that palpable melancholy atmosphere that seems unique to those places, where so many people are constantly moving, fleetingly passing in transit on their way from one point to another and perhaps leaving only the faintest trace of their souls as they roam.

 

Chapter 39 – Caught in the Headlights

Newsletter article April 22nd 1988

Caught in the Headlines: From the April 22nd 1988 edition of the News Letter newspaper, this was among the first full-length articles on Inga-Maria’s murder. Note football legend George Best pictured alongside

 

So maybe you’re standing
In some foreign town
You’ve walked for miles
And your jeans and your curls
Are bleached and split

As the words on these pages
Maybe I’m reminded
Caught in the headlights

So you’re ten miles out
Of this city at night
When do coloured lights
Become paint and glass and dust?
How I wonder
What light to trust?
The light of the distance
Or the candle that might just burn?

Moonshine and starlight
Pockets full of rainbows

It will call you
Angel
When the world knows your name

Deacon Blue – ‘The World Is Lit By Lightning’

 

The one thing that has always puzzled me most about Inga-Maria’s murder isn’t the fact that she had seemingly taken a lift on the night of her death – even though that was something considered very much out-of-character, and actually unnecessary (due to her being in possession of a valid Interrail pass) and as a result something that has long baffled the detectives investigating her case. No. I felt I could relatively easily rationalise and envisage the sort of scenario that would have given rise to her diverting from her established code of practice, one I’ve outlined in a theory I spoke of in an interview I gave the Belfast Telegraph in July 2017. Inga-Maria’s last-ever diary entry written in Stranraer before boarding the ferry began with the heartbreaking words “Wonder where I stay tonight?”, and this I feel makes it at the very least conceivable that she would have been receptive to an offer of a lift specifically to a B&B or a hostel, considering it was night-time when the ferry docked at Larne and had she caught the train from Larne Harbour as planned it would have been approximately 11pm when she would have arrived at Belfast’s York Road station, far from an ideal time to arrive in a totally-unfamiliar city, especially considering it was in the middle of a war and she was an 18 year-old girl on her own with no friends or family there to call on, and bearing in mind this was an age long before smartphones and Google Maps made navigation of an unfamiliar territory so much easier.

No, what mystifies me more than anything else in this story is one very striking and very unusual anomaly, something I consider so unlikely as to be possibly unprecedented in the annals of criminal history. How could Inga-Maria be the only tourist ever to have been the victim of a sexually-motivated murder in the province? The extent of ruthlessness and savagery and the degree of confidence, arrogance even, deployed in the course of her battery and murder point to an individual or individuals who have committed such a crime at the very least once before, possibly numerous times. In all my many years of reading True Crime I have not once encountered a killer or killers who were ‘The finished article’ from the get-go, whose murderous methods emerged fully-honed and developed to the extent that Inga’s killers were. And yet, in 1988 there was simply no precedent in Northern Ireland – and what’s more, in all the years since there’s been no subsequent instance – of a sexually-motivated murder of a tourist taking place there. And furthermore, police went to the trouble in the last decade of painstakingly compiling a list of approximately 1000 ‘male nominals’ considered by them to be the individuals most likely to be capable of a crime involving sexual violence against a woman, on the basis of a previous conviction or due to having come into consideration in some way during the incredibly long-running investigation, and yet even in a geographical area as small as that of Northern Ireland, and with all of the geographical and behavioural profilers enlisted by the PSNI reportedly united in their belief that the offender or offenders were “very local” to the area where her body was eventually discovered, still the identity of the “crime scene donor” as the PSNI have pointedly described the man whose DNA profile they possess proved frustratingly, maddeningly elusive. For months I had put the various permutations of this equation to work in my mind. And time and time again I arrived back where I’d started. She couldn’t have been the first, the last, the only one. And yet the evidence shows that yes, she was, and is.

The first, the last, and so far the only. Caught in the harsh headlights of history. Lured by the urge to wander, purged from the surface of the Earth, expiring in the expanse between the digits of the missing minutes that separate day and night from any afterlife. Squandered by a monster, the forever-frozen future of a universal traveller.

___________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser cropped-inga-classic-pic-better-quality
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 14

Heartfelt thanks to Gary Watson and Inga Richardson.

‘Horizon’ written by Martin Courtney IV. Published by Domino Publishing Company ©2014

‘32nd Floor’ written by Guy Chadwick. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC ©1990

‘The World Is Lit By Lightning’ written by Ross/Prime. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC ©1989

10 thoughts on “The Keeley Chronicles PART 14

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for getting in touch again and for your supportive words.

      To answer your question, Inga Maria’s belongings were left at the crime scene in Ballypatrick Forest Park although an early press report stated that her passport was missing. However, her identity card, her camera, her diary, her clothes, rucksack, sleeping bag and all her other belongings were there, left scattered in close proximity to where her body lay.

      Kind regards

      Keeley

      Like

  1. Hi,

    I have been having similar thoughts about this. Was it a rash young man who was spurned and lost his temper or was it something more sinister?
    Is it possible that there could be a link between this murder and those of the Vanishing Triangle?

    What are the laws that the PSNI have to abide by in relation to harvesting DNA samples from their main suspects and their family members? Must they obtain permission for it? Or can they obtain them in public places from items that these people would have discarded? My understanding is that when arrested the police can obtain a sample. If they really think they know who done this, why don’t they just arrest them in order to get the sample?

    Given that they have obtained a ‘Crime Scene Donor’ and also undertaken one of the largest DNA screenings in UK history in the Glens of Antrim whilst trying to solve this case, I would have thought that if the sample was in any way useful, it would have provided a partial match to a family or ‘clan’ (for want of a better term).
    Can you explain why this has not occurred – it leads me to believe that at least one person at the scene (the ‘donor’) was not a local person.

    Back in those days, you kept pretty much with your ‘own’ due to the troubles. I’m having trouble believing that a couple of young lads from the Glens done this and have then sat on it for nearly 30 years.

    Was there no other biological evidence gathered at the scene or had the rough weather during that period washed it all away? I presume the PSNI still have the crime scene evidence – when was it last gone over by forensics? I’m sure they have done it recently, but am curious.

    It seems like the truth is that the PSNI don’t really know who done it. As 2018 begins, it still looks as if we are as far from solving this as ever we were. There comes a point in time where memories fade and Father Time catches up with the witnesses.
    The DNA sample can only possibly place a person at the scene. It can’t tell us who killed her or what happened. That would require the person to give up their associates.

    Liked by 2 people

    • One question I forgot to add was did the Galloway Princess not have any storage facilities onboard for luggage that Inga could have availed of?
      Do you know how many of the serial killers linked with this case have been fully ruled out of it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Dave

        Thanks for getting in touch and for all the many detailed and I think valid questions you posed in your two comments. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible via email, thanks.

        Kind regards

        Keeley

        Like

  2. Hi keeley, Thank you so much for this blog. I grew up In Ballycastle, was 8 years old when this happened and never stopped wanting justice for her. With regards to your latest post, I share your bafflement that only two people on a ferry holding over 400 passengers did not recall seeing her that night. Also, that she was spotted without her luggage…it got me thinking about what kind of circumstances would Inga have found herself in on the crossing that would explain this? Bare with me, I’m a bit long winded….
    I previously worked as a Tour Guide taking groups in a coach (along with a coach driver) from London to various destinations in Europe. All tours started in London and mostly we would use the Dover to Calais crossing for tours in mainland Europe. On this ferry route the coach and lorry driver’s have access to a private lounge specifically for them (they get hot meals and duty free discounts in here as well as a bit of privacy and peace away from the other passengers). Even as a Tour Guide accompanying our coach drivers, we did not have a right to access this lounge but usually if you had a good working relationship with the driver, they would be able to get you in without issue. The ferry staff who worked in this lounge would not normally question your right to be there as long as you were with the driver.
    I don’t know if the Galloway Princess had one of these driver lounges but if Inga Maria was invited in there by a driver, it would explain why a striking young woman alone was only noticed by two people that night and why she felt comfortable enough to leave her belongings with someone she barely knew to go on the deck to check out the view. These lounges are cordoned off with warnings that regular passengers are not permitted access and if you tried to go in there without aid from a driver you would definitely be stopped and/or denied access by ferry staff…this could have created the false sense of security for Inga Maria with regards to her belongings and sadly the person she was in there with.
    Further, I don’t know how many drivers/ferry staff would have been in there at that time of the evening, but having been in these lounges, i was always struck by the behaviour and appearance of a lot of these guys…they always looked exhausted, miserable, lonely,, were often alone and definitely disinterested in the comings and goings of the other drivers with access to the lounge.
    Apologies if I am just stating the obvious here and/or there was no such lounge on the Galloway Princess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ursula

      Thank you for your kind words, and for taking the time to post such detailed, thoughtful and well-founded comments. You make some very interesting points there. I’ll be in touch.

      Best wishes

      Keeley

      Like

  3. One last thing…..
    I think in many ways Inga Maria was/is a victim of ‘the troubles’ in that her murder remains unsolved due to the culture of silence and total distrust of the police that arose because of it and remains even today. The language the police and John Dallat use when there are any updates suggest to me that they know people who know who did this but can’t get them to make formal statements that could be used in any criminal prosecution. I am heartened by the continuing development of what DNA evidence can provide…there is at least one company that I know of in the United States that is able to take a human DNA sample and, using technology they have developed, can produce a type of e-photofit of that person….it’s only a matter of time before technology such as this advances to the level it can be used by law enforcement and courts to help bring people like Inga Maria’s killer(s) to justice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ursula

      Thank you for another very astute contribution, and for your interest in the blog and your compassion for Inga-Maria. I’ll be in touch later today.

      Kind regards

      Keeley

      Like

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