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 mystery still officially unsolved after more than 31 years
By Keeley Moss
PART 29 – CONTENTS Chapter 78: Distant Sun Acknowledgements for Part 29
Author’s Note: October 2nd 2019 brought the devastating news of the death of Inga’s mother, Almut Hauser, after a long battle with ill-health. Tragically she never lived to see justice for her murdered daughter in her lifetime. Long-term readers of The Keeley Chronicles may be aware that Almut was the reason I started this blog in the first place. This instalment is dedicated to her memory.
Chapter 78: Distant Sun
Tell me all the things you would change
I don’t pretend to know what you want
When you come around and spin my top
Time and again, time and again
I am not afraid of the dark
Where your words devour my heart
Still so young to travel so far
Old enough to know who you are
Wise enough to carry the scars
Without any blame
It’s easy to forget what you learned
Waiting for the thrill to return
Feeling your desire burn
And drawn to the flame
Crowded House – ‘Distant Sun’
After the dark and unsettling experience covered in the previous instalment, I eventually found my way to my B&B in Stranraer. Having grabbed a few hours sleep and following a quick shower, breakfast and make-up routine, I checked-out and stepped out into a cold but beautifully crisp, sunny Scottish winter’s morning which gave the area a very different complexion from the frankly evil ambience that I’d experienced on the way from the train station during the small hours. There was only one place to go – Stranraer Harbour. I set off on foot and arrived there within minutes. It was hard to imagine the role this place had played in one of the murkiest and most harrowing unsolved murder cases of the past three decades. In the daylight I could see that Stranraer is a nice, quiet town. And its harbour is even more serene, a setting utterly at odds with the savagery deployed in Inga’s killing across the water. I stood there for a while just staring at the sea, looking all around at this coastal idyll, the nature in abundance, and the clear blue sky overhead. Exactly the type of environment Inga had travelled a thousand miles from her home to witness. I thought of all the mornings that have spanned the past thirty years, every one of which she has missed out on.
I decided to walk around to the far side of the harbour, to where Inga had boarded the Galloway Princess on that spring evening all those years ago. The walk would take me back to the train station and past the old ferry terminal area that I’d found so haunting in the darkness. I wondered if daylight would also lend them a different atmosphere. Upon reaching the back of the corrugated wire fencing that surrounds the derelict ferry terminal, and noting the signs that forbade trespassing, it certainly looked a lot less foreboding with the light of day to illuminate it. Only now could I appreciate the vastness of the wide-open space where the ferry terminal building had once stood. It is huge, and almost entirely vacant. It is practically a testament to emptiness.
It isn’t possible to gain access to it, what with all the corrugated iron fencing, barbwire and padlocks in place. But what is being protected? Virtually nothing but space itself. Acres and acres of open space. Or rather, closed space. One detail however stood out. The one part of it that still stood, defiant and unyielding.
The vehicle loading ramp.
The same ramp that the cars and lorries used to drive onto the Galloway Princess. It was the only thing remaining in the entire ferry terminal. Of all the things for the port authority to have left erect.
An entire ferry terminal levelled, and they leave that one thing standing. My blood froze. My brain fizzed. I instantly knew what it meant. This was the ramp that Inga’s primary killer used to drive his vehicle onto the Galloway Princess, the ramp that ultimately played a part in the tragedy that ensued on the other side of the water later that night. It was a chilling sight.
I peered through the wire mesh and tried to picture the building it had been in 1988, a vital cog in the whirring wheel of Stranraer’s then-thriving shipping industry. But that was long ago, and it had since fallen on hard ground – literally. A casualty of supposed progress, more collateral damage for sneering corporate profiteering. I resumed walking and headed towards the train station.
To my right-hand side lay the railway track, the same track that had brought me here in the small hours of the morning, and more to the point the same track that had brought Inga here on that long-ago spring evening.
To the left-hand side, just a little further up, lies the exact spot where the Galloway Princess left Stranraer port from on that fateful evening in 1988. Standing there it’s such an inviting sight. A sun-drenched ocean view that radiates openness and vibrancy with an air of elusive mysteriousness – mirroring Inga’s foremost character traits. Looking at it, it’s apparent what made her feel so drawn to the flame. In the words of the beautiful song ‘Distant Sun’ by Crowded House that always makes me think of her, “Still so young to travel so far. Old enough to know who you are. Feeling your desire burn. And drawn to the flame”. In this instance the ‘distant sun’ is the ever-elusive, tantalisingly-close justice in Inga’s case, beckoning, burgeoning, constantly on the verge of being reached but never quite arriving.
But “drawn to the flame” – that’s exactly what she was. And exactly why she came all the way here. And exactly why I followed her all the way here. For the same reason.
Drawn to the flame
TO BE CONTINUED
May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.
Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgements for Part 29
Dedicated to the memory of Almut Hauser. There is a light that never goes out.
Distant Sun written by Neil Finn. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing France, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. ©1993