The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth and labour-of-love in honour of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 33 years on
By Keeley Moss
PART 35 – CONTENTS
Chapter 92: Shattered Dreams
Chapter 93: “Thank you John”
Chapter 94: One Love
Acknowledgements for Part 35
Chapter 92: Shattered Dreams
Woke up to reality
And found the future not so bright
I dreamt the impossible
That maybe things could work out right
Johnny Hates Jazz – ‘Shattered Dreams’
This is the first post of The Keeley Chronicles since April 2020, around the time of the 32nd anniversary of Inga’s murder. It is the longest gap in instalments of the Chronicles since I started my work on Inga’s case back in 2016. I had planned to write and publish new instalments throughout the Summer and Autumn of 2020 but when the death occurred of my dear friend and long-time partner on Inga’s campaign John Dallat MLA in April, followed in early July by the decision of the PPS (the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service) that there were to be no charges brought against either of the two individuals who are among those suspected of involvement in Inga’s murder, news that all of us involved in Inga’s campaign had been on tenterhooks about for more than two years since the arrests in Inga’s case of May 2018, I was just too devastated to write another word of this blog for the time being.
People who have been closely following Inga’s case over the last few years will be aware that the crushing news of the PPS decision is one of a number of cruel body blows to have befallen the campaign in recent times. Firstly, there was the death of Inga’s mum Almut in October 2019, without ever having received justice in her lifetime. Then on a more personal level there was the murder of my friend Lyra McKee, who I had met through my work on Inga’s case when Lyra contacted me regarding the book she was working on involving the case of “The Lost Boys”, the mysterious disappearance of two boys on a Belfast street in broad daylight in 1974 while on their way to school. Lyra had wondered if there might be a connection between a specific individual in The Lost Boys case and one of the individuals suspected of involvement in Inga’s case, which is something I was able to definitively rule out. She had travelled down to Dublin to meet me to discuss these matters and we became friends. Lyra was the most happily-in-love person I ever met and she had her whole life ahead of her which made her killing all the more cruel and tragic, especially given the callous circumstances involved. Although Lyra never worked on Inga’s case, the fact that she and I met and became pals as a result of my work on Inga’s case made me associate it with her, so her untimely passing particularly given the manner it which it occurred was another terrible blow. But fate was not finished there. Far from it in fact.
April 2020 saw the devastating and untimely passing of John Dallat MLA at the comparatively young age of 73. John was a firm friend and someone with whom I had worked with closely on many aspects of Inga’s case over a number of years. As his family and constituents know well, John was a compassionate, forthright and innately decent man, a consummate leader with a common humanity who took people as he found them and treated everyone the same, something that saw him regarded as something of an outlier in as partisan and divided a region as Northern Ireland was throughout the agonising era of the Troubles and beyond. I first met John a number of years ago after he sent me an open letter about Inga that he asked me to publish in this blog, something I was only too happy to do, devoting one of the instalments of the Chronicles to it – it’s all the way back in Part 8 if you haven’t read it yet. We began emailing one another and he and his wife Anne travelled down to Dublin to meet me. That day an alliance was born as we spent several hours in a city centre hotel discussing a number of aspects of Inga’s case and ways that we might be able to try push it further forward.
John’s love for Inga and his passion to see justice secured for her and her surviving family members was a long-standing and all-consuming mission for him, and I bore witness to his unstinting efforts on her behalf on numerous occasions. Through the course of working on the book I am writing about Inga and her case I have interviewed many people. Among that group, John has been the most articulate interviewee of all. This surprised me in a way because John was a very forthright and straightforward conversationalist, and I had anticipated his interview proceeding along similar lines. But he revealed a different side in this interview. I treasure the recording of the two of us at his kitchen table discussing Inga’s case at length and despite having known John for a number of years beforehand, there were some things he said that day that he had not divulged before. The interview is one of several central testimonies in the book I’m working on and I look forward to it emerging when the time is right.
Chapter 93: “Thank you John”
Long ago, far away
Life was clear
Close your eyes
Harry Nilsson – ‘Remember’
Among the personal memories I value most of John are the countless times he let me stay with he and his wife Anne at their home in Kilrea, County Derry and the many occasions he went out of his way to collect me from the most obscure railway stations and coach drop-off points in the small hours of the morning in all manner of far-flung locations in Northern Ireland (Cullybackey! Maghera! Glenshane Road Park and Ride!) so that he and I could continue on our mission on behalf of Inga, and the times he and I shared in his car while on our way to and from various meetings, such as the times we met with PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray at police headquarters in Belfast and the time we travelled to Coleraine to meet with the now-retired former RUC Ballycastle duty sergeant who the sheep farmer who had discovered Inga’s remains approached in Ballycastle police station on the evening of April 20th 1988, a man who was also the first police officer to reach Inga’s crime scene, a lovely man with a deep feeling for Inga who has since become a trusted friend.
Those times in John’s car when we set out in the early morning, unaware of what would await us at these meetings but brimming with hope and optimism for what might lie ahead, and the possible positive implications for Inga’s case, are some of my happiest memories of John and indeed are some of the few upbeat moments that I’ve experienced during my time working on what is such a heavy, harrowing and emotionally-exhausting case.
I also have John to thank for granting me one of the biggest honours I’ve ever had, namely that of writing the wording for Inga’s memorial stone. I was so glad he asked me, most of all because without wishing to sound arrogant, I felt I knew exactly what it needed to say. It needed to have as personal a connection with Inga as possible and to include a reference to something that meant a lot to her. Around the time we were working on plans for the memorial stone, I had learned from one of Inga’s friends who had contacted me via the Chronicles something I had long wondered about, being as I am a huge fan of music as well as a huge fan of Inga – namely the identity of her favourite song. This song was, it transpired, Mocking Bird by Barclay James Harvest. So when I was tasked with choosing the wording for Inga’s memorial, I hoped that a lyrical passage from this song might be appropriate for use on the inscription. Upon scanning the lyrics, two lines jumped out at me.
Time will see your tears run dry. There’s a mocking bird singing songs in the trees.
I found it incredible how this passage from the lyrics of what had been Inga Maria Hauser’s favourite song was so eerily relevant to the circumstances of what had been done to her in the vicinity of Ballypatrick Forest Park on that Spring night all those years ago, and how it seemed to summarise both the sorrow at the heart of her story, and the mocking actions and attitudes down through the years of those suspected of involvement in Inga’s murder, in addition to referencing the location populated by shadows and tall trees at Ballypatrick Forest where Inga’s life was taken.
John and I had this long-running joke where he would mimic me thanking him (he was always doing kind things so I was always thanking him!) Every time we were together he’d say “Thank you John” in a deadpan manner and I’d laugh.
Well, thank you John. For now and ever.
Chapter 94: One Love
One heart and one soul
The Stone Roses – ‘One Love’
Although John and I always approached Inga’s case from slightly different perspectives, which is understandable given our two totally different backgrounds, I always knew that John essentially felt the same way I did. I knew that like me he could never get her and what had happened to her – or rather, what had been done to her, by certain specific individuals – off his mind. In that sense it was very much a vision shared. One vision. One mission. One love.
Despite the fact that John and I were as different as two people could be, coming from opposite ends of the country, him from a rural background in Donegal and myself from a suburban and urban background in Dublin, he being several decades older than me, his background being in teaching and politics and my background being in music and the arts, to name just a few differences, there was one subject matter on which we intersected perfectly.
Of all the things John said to me during our years working as partners on Inga’s campaign, there is one thing, one central truth, that stands out as perhaps the most significant and most meaningful of all. One evening after we had returned from a meeting in Belfast with the PSNI, we were sitting in his kitchen in Kilrea talking about Inga who unsurprisingly virtually all our conversations revolved around. I mentioned how she’s not just a case, she’s so much more than that. John, in his manner of getting to the heart of the matter and summing up an issue succinctly, nodded and said. “Aye. She’s a cause”.
Not just a case. A cause.
And what a cause.
Inga Maria Hauser
May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.
Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2021. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgements for Part 35
This instalment is dedicated to the memory of John Dallat MLA (1947-2020). Friend. Family man. Politician. Elected representative. Inga Maria Hauser campaigner. Thank you John x
Shattered Dreams written by Clark Datchler. Lyrics published by Stage Three Music (catalogues) Limited, Music of Stage Three Obo Stage Three Music (catalogues) ©1987
Remember written by Harry Nilsson. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave ©1972
One Love written by Squire/Brown. Published by Zomba Music Publishing ©1990