A tribute to Inga-Maria Hauser, the definitive story of the only case of it’s kind in Northern Ireland and my continuing mission to uncover the truth behind an horrific murder still unsolved after 29 years despite one of the largest DNA screenings in policing history
By Keeley Moss
Part 3 Contents
- Chapter 21 – True Faith
- Chapter 22 – Over Your Shoulder
- Chapter 23 – You Keep Me Hangin’ On
- Chapter 24 – The Windows Of The World
- Chapter 25 – Temple Of Low Men
- Chapter 26 – Crooked Mile
- Chapter 27 – I Keep Mine Hidden
- Chapter 28 – Never Gonna Give You Up
- Acknowledgements for Part 3
- Further sources
Chapter 21 – True Faith
Watching the Detectives: PSNI Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray with photos of Inga-Maria
On June 9th 1988 Inga-Maria’s case was featured on BBC1’s Crimewatch UK, in which a reconstruction of her last-known movements was televised, the first-ever case from Northern Ireland to be featured on this legendary long-running programme. On the night of the broadcast, more than 100 calls came into the Ballycastle incident room and the London television studio, a higher proportion than many lead cases that are featured usually generate. However none of the information received led to any significant breakthrough at the time.
In 1988, the coroner for North Antrim wrote to Inga-Maria’s mother Almut to inform her that the inquest into the teenager’s death hadn’t yet been scheduled due to ongoing police enquiries. Then in February 1989 Moyle District Council wrote to say that the inquest could still not be held due to the police investigation still not having concluded. To this day there has been no inquest held into her death.
On March 4th 1989 Inga-Maria’s parents Almut and Josef visited the murder scene and later took part in a press conference in Ballymena police station where they made an impassioned appeal for information, sadly without success. Almut remarked at the time, with her words translated by an interpreter, “It was unspeakable sadness just to stand there in that meadow where my child had lain. When a mother loses a daughter people forget very quickly but the mother left on her own never forgets.” During the same press conference, then-RUC Detective Chief Superintendent George Caskey remarked that there was still no trace of Inga-Maria’s movements between arriving at Larne and being found in Ballypatrick Forest Park two weeks later.
The investigation however inched forward. In the vast tranche of time since the brutal crime occurred, there have been long lulls when seemingly no progress was being made and the case appeared further than ever from being brought to a successful conclusion. And then suddenly as if out of nowhere, reports of a development would surface to give the ailing case fresh impetus. It quite simply seems to have a life of its own, bubbling away under the surface and never completely falling into dormancy, as if incubated by some mysterious force. I like to think that this is somehow a sign that the case will one day be solved and Inga-Maria will finally be properly allowed to rest.
On August 25th 1989, at that time more than sixteen months since the crime had been committed, police developed the first genetic evidence in the case to connect a man with the murder.
On April 23rd 1991 it was reported that Inga-Maria’s parents had poignantly issued a reward of £3,000 – their life savings – for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of Inga-Maria’s killer. Shamefully, no information came forward.
In May 1991 an appeal was made to the writer of an anonymous letter who had claimed to have seen Inga-Maria with a Chinese couple in the Botanic Gardens of Belfast on April 17th 1988, three days before her body was discovered. From what we now know, the author of that letter was either mistaken, or had deliberately attempted to mislead investigators.
1993 saw reports of fresh door-to-door enquiries being undertaken in the Ballycastle area. Following this however there would be no more heard about the case for several years.
Chapter 22 – Over Your Shoulder
All the news that’s fit to print: Page featuring 1996 Irish Times article on Inga-Maria’s case, headlined “RUC to probe murder links”
On January 5th 1996, The Irish Times published an article shedding light on a possible new line of enquiry in Inga-Maria’s case under the headline “NI murder may be linked to hitcher’s killing”, the broadsheet unfortunately erroneously describing Inga-Maria as a hitchhiker when that had never been the case. The article reported that senior RUC officers had contacted West Mercia detectives to see if a link could be established between Inga-Maria’s case and that of French hitchhiker Celine Figard, who had been raped, murdered and her body dumped in a Worcester lay-by in late December 1995. A man was subsequently identified and convicted of Celine’s rape and murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, but no charges would follow in relation to Inga-Maria, due to Celine’s killer not being a match for the then-partial sample of DNA found at Inga-Maria’s crime scene.
In 1999 Inga-Maria’s case was reopened following a request by SDLP assembly member John Dallat to then RUC chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.
On April 18th 2000 BBC News reported under the headline “New push in murder enquiry”, “Detectives investigating the murder of a German student in County Antrim 12 years ago have said new tests are being carried out in a new attempt to catch her killer…The police have said that due to advances in scientific techniques, items from the murder scene are being re-examined.” No more was heard thereafter for almost exactly two years to the day.
On April 17th 2002, Detective Inspector Sam Harkness on behalf of the PSNI renewed an appeal for information in relation to Inga-Maria’s case, stating that they had a DNA profile of a male believed to be her killer (this was reported as if it was new information but the previous 1996 article had already referred to police being in possession of the DNA sample). In the article he described Inga-Maria’s movements in Northern Ireland during the two weeks prior to her body being discovered as a “mystery”, the PSNI at that time having been mistakenly led to believe by a pathologist’s flawed report that Inga-Maria had been alive for as long as a fortnight after leaving the ferry in Larne and that she’d died only a short time before her body was discovered on April 20th 1988. Perhaps due to the case’s brief re-emergence at this time, “in late-April 2002” an anonymous telephone call which police believed at the time to be very significant was made to Ballycastle police station, with the call terminating in Ballymoney where the person spoke to an officer and left a message having been unable to directly reach a detective whom they had specifically requested to speak to. Detective Superintendent Pat Steele tantalisingly and intriguingly stated that the caller “confirmed many of our suspicions with regards to the identity of Inga’s killer”. He also revealed that police have “a very strong suspicion that there are a small amount of people who have significant information” about the murder. But further extensive enquiries by detectives were able to identify an individual who was subsequently eliminated.
After that no more was heard until 2005 when the biggest advances in the case to date were made, a full seventeen years after Inga-Maria’s brutal murder in that dark, dank forest.
Chapter 23 – You Keep Me Hangin’ On
Karma Police: An RUC officer near to the crime scene, April 1988
In 2005 a cold case review was commissioned into the case, at that time spearheaded by Detective Inspector Tom McClure. Back in 1989 the partial DNA sample discovered at the crime scene that year could only give a match of “one in 2,000”, meaning one in roughly every 2,000 men would match the sample found. In the intervening years since, forensic science had developed to such an extent that the chances of this same sample matching more than one person would now be approximately one in a billion. Part of the reason for such a dramatic escalation in the mathematical certainty of these odds is that after Tom McClure had examined the full crime scene and the list of all the original materials which had been kept safe over the previous seventeen years, he was able to ascertain there were certain items which had hitherto not been subjected to forensic analysis, and which after they had been tested by scientists with the use of the latest technologies including a procedure named Second Generation Matrix Process (SGM+) they had managed to generate a new DNA sample which turned out to be identical to the original sample secured in 1988 but which this time allowed for the billion-to-one match with whoever left their DNA where Inga-Maria’s body was found. Furthermore, and even more crucially, the new sample the forensic scientists had in 2005 managed to raise from the then 17 year-old materials provided detectives with a full DNA profile, an unprecedented development.
One of the first results of the fresh impetus that this breakthrough provided the case with was a return to the studios of Crimewatch UK, the legendary long-running BBC television show that had originally featured a reconstruction of Inga-Maria’s last-known movements back in 1988. On July 13th 2005 her case was again featured, with Detective Superintendent Pat Steele being interviewed by presenter Nick Ross and this time a new witness came forward to say that they had been on board the Galloway Princess on the night of April 6th 1988 and had seen a young woman broadly fitting Inga-Maria’s description climbing into a lorry as the ferry docked in Larne. Also, even more remarkably, the caller claimed to have taken down the license plate of the lorry! This incredible lead could and surely should have been the breakthrough to finally solving the case, all the more so given that after speaking with this witness detectives do not believe that they were telling them anything other than the truth. The sighting was extensively-investigated but was not able to be substantiated as the witness was unable to provide specific details of Inga-Maria’s appearance. Given the fact that that potentially-crucial lead came to light twelve years ago now at the time of writing and the case still remains unsolved, and despite the Detective Superintendent currently leading the inquiry being on record as stating that the investigation has moved forward significantly since 2005, one would have to conclude that this lead was somehow yet another dead-end.
Also in July 2005 The Irish Times published a new article, erroneously stating “She may have died within hours of arriving in Northern Ireland on the 7am ferry from Stranraer on April 6th, 1988.” Suddenly the 7pm ferry had become “the 7am ferry”, wrong by a whole twelve hours. In the same brief piece, the hapless broadsheet also incorrectly claimed she “was discovered in a shallow grave” when that had not been the case. Then-Detective Superintendent Pat Steele was quoted as having revealed: “We are revisiting many of the passengers who were interviewed as part of the initial investigation in the light of new information.”
On April 18th 2006 – almost exactly 18 years to the day since his daughter was murdered – Inga-Maria’s father Josef very sadly passed away after a battle with cancer, his death rendered all the more tragic for him never having received justice for his daughter in his lifetime.
“We have come across paramilitaries as we have continued our screening process”, Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray told author Barry Cummins. “They’ve given their DNA sample like anyone else, they’ve been co-operative and they are anxious that Inga-Maria’s case is solved. We believe that Inga-Maria’s murder was discussed amongst paramilitaries. We think that they had their suspicions.”
The area where the teenager’s body was discovered is in the most western corner of Ballypatrick Forest, the single furthest point from all entrances, approximately 4km from the Glenmakeeran Road and well off the main scenic drive through the forest which is used by the general public. Furthermore, there were other remote locations a good deal closer to the main road where the killers could have brought her but that they chose instead to go to the trouble of bringing her to the furthest point within the forest suggests to investigators the confidence of someone who knew the area. The PSNI has obtained advice from both behavioural and geographical profilers who agreed that at least one of the persons responsible for the murder were very familiar with the specific location. The location was known to have been used at the time by people who rented forestry plots – also working in the area were Forestry Service employees and sub-contract labourers. The forest was also used by turf cutters who had turbary rights. Police appealed at this time to anyone who may have been familiar with that particular area of Ballypatrick Forest back in 1988 and urged them or anyone with any awareness of such people to come forward.
2007 saw further developments, this time regarding a revision of the likely date of Inga-Maria’s death, which would be essential in accurately pinpointing the movements of POI’s (those deemed to be ‘persons-of-interest’ to the investigation) during the relevant timeframe. Here I quote from the chapter on Inga-Maria’s case in Barry Cummins’s book The Cold Case Files, the details of which are indicative of the extraordinary lengths to which the PSNI have gone to in their determined efforts to solve this case:
A medical opinion was originally given that Inga-Maria had died close to the date her body was found on 20 April and this meant she might have been held hostage somewhere for almost two weeks before being murdered. However, as part of a cold case review sparked by the discovery in 2005 of a full DNA profile from the crime scene, police carried out a fresh assessment of Inga-Maria’s most likely date of death. The PSNI studied the footage of the crime scene from April 1988, and they conducted tests in Ballypatrick Forest in April 2007. Inga-Maria’s body had been remarkably-intact when it had been found; it had not been subjected to any animal interference and this had led to some people thinking she might only have been dead for some hours or days before she was found on 20 April.
In an effort to get a definitive conclusion on the precise date of Inga-Maria’s murder, the PSNI asked a botanist to study the growth of nettles at the crime scene and compare crime scene images with the nettle growth of April 2007. Detectives also asked an entomologist from Queens University in Belfast to assist in studying fly activity and animal activity in the forest. Over the course of the month of April 2007 it was established that the location where Inga-Maria’s body was found was a particularly cool environment with very little fly activity and no animals. On comparing the topography of the area with how it appeared in April 1988, it was clear the appearance of Inga-Maria’s body was consistent with it having been in the forest since the earlier part of that month. From the pathology report, detectives knew that Inga-Maria’s hair was clean when her body was found, and again this was consistent with her having been murdered shortly after arriving in Northern Ireland, rather than her having been held captive anywhere. The logical assumption, and what all the scientific and general evidence now points to, is that Inga-Maria was driven to her death at Ballypatrick Forest Park on the night of 6 April or the early hours of 7 April.
Chapter 24 – The Windows Of The World
Don’t Give Up: Former SDLP MLA John Dallat whose intervention sparked the case being reopened
In 2008, after another three-year hiatus in updates on the investigation, there were over the course of several weeks a number of new articles published in the media, reporting on fresh pleas for information from police and seeking to revive public interest evident from the BBC News headlines “Tourist Killer Knew Murder Spot” and “Will Killer Ever Be Caught?” and, in the Coleraine Times, “Forest Holds Key To Inga’s Murder – Police”. More significantly, police provided to the media for the first time ever a map of the precise location where her body was found and a photograph of this location.
Following this, SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat issued a statement in which he welcomed the PSNI’s announcement that they expected developments in the case. John Dallat, an unsung figure, deserves much credit as the man who in 1999 took it upon himself to persuade then-Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan to reopen the case, when presumably he would have had little to personally gain from such an intervention, given the continued low profile of both Inga-Maria’s case and her surviving family members.
2009 brought yet more tantalising reports of fresh developments, with a most intriguing lead. Having previously run the crime scene donor’s sample through the DNA databases of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales without locating any match (the Republic of Ireland being one of the only countries in Europe still without a DNA database after repeated broken promises from successive Irish governments), the PSNI revealed that the sample had shown similarities with the profiles of a number of women stored on the UK genetic national database. Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said: “DNA science is developing all the time. We can infer from the way that DNA characteristics are inherited that there is a possibility…that in this small female group there is a male relative’s DNA profile which could match the DNA profile from the crime scene.” It was reported in the Metro amongst other newspapers that police were “now focusing their enquiries on the samples of the females, who live across the the UK” and that police “plan to conduct these new inquiries, with the assistance and co-operation of the women concerned, in the coming weeks.” The same year Suzanne Breen, writing for the Sunday Tribune, had written of a fresh report that Inga-Maria had been watched on the ferry by a truck driver.
The graph on the wall tells the story of it all: Map showing the precise location of the crime scene. From a briefly-circulated 2008 PSNI press release
Also in 2009, Inga-Maria’s mother Almut broke an 18-year silence to make an exclusive new appeal via the Belfast Telegraph, with the heartbreaking headline “Help bring an end to my 21-year nightmare”. In the article Almut showcased a never-before-seen photo of Inga-Maria and revealed that after the murder, RUC officers had travelled to Germany and interviewed all of Inga-Maria’s friends. She also said that she had received letters of support from across Ireland and remained in contact with Inga-Maria’s friends. She further revealed that on what would have been her twenty-first birthday she and her husband Josef invited all of Inga-Maria’s friends to their flat in her memory.
In 2010 a new book, Passport To Murder by Ali Bracken, was published by Gill & McMillan. Featuring “True stories of foreigners killed in Ireland, the inside story behind the killings of 21* foreigners in Ireland”, the very first chapter is devoted to Inga-Maria’s case. It is a very well-written and meticulously-researched account but even more importantly features several pieces of substantial information never before revealed in any other article or book extract on the case to date, before or since. One of the most notable revelations discussed within the pages of this book but never mentioned in any other account concerns the fact that there are two separate individuals, the first of whom was arrested and the second of whom was “spoken to under caution”, in relation to the rape and murder of Inga-Maria. From Passport To Murder by Ali Bracken:
In this decade, one person has been spoken to under caution in relation to her murder. In 1988, shortly after her killing, a man was arrested and questioned but was later released without charge. “Do we have a prime or chief suspect? They are not words I’d use. I can say that the person spoken to in the past decade is not the same person who was arrested shortly after the body was found. But I will only rule people out after we find out what happened to her. Until we know what happened, the enquiry will continue as far as we can go with it,” explains Detective Murray.
Chapter 25 – Temple Of Low Men
Streets Of Your Town: Ballymoney, County Antrim. Detectives believe that the answers to who killed Inga-Maria lie in the rural area east of this small town
In 2011 Detective Superintendent Murray made the bold claim that they were “closing the net” on the killers. He also issued a previously-unpublished photo of Inga-Maria and released another statement to the media in which he revealed, “I have a report that a man in the rural area east of Ballymoney was seen soon after the murder in April 1988 with scratches on his face and that there was concern in the community that he had some sort of involvement. I want to acknowledge the assistance which the community in North Antrim has given to police in this investigation. We have been able to collect many pieces of the investigative jigsaw but there are still gaps. I believe those gaps can be filled by individuals with information, individuals possibly in the rural area east of Ballymoney. The investigation continues to make progress. We are tantalisingly close to making significant progress. We just need those remaining pieces of the jigsaw. To that end, police plan to conduct a new series of house-to-house enquiries in parts of north Antrim in the coming weeks.”
On March 22nd 2011 The Irish Times reported, “Detectives investigating the murder of a German backpacker more than 20 years ago have narrowed their inquiries to a cluster of villages in Northern Ireland”. Those villages were reported as being Armoy, Loughguile and Cloughmills – a very small and specific area. It’s apparent that the police have enough detailed information to be able to narrow the field so definitively to these comparatively-tiny locations, and yet to this day there has yet to be a single person charged in relation to the case. How could they come so near and yet apparently remain so far from a successful conclusion? The overall DNA screening had at last count amounted to some 2,000 individuals having had samples taken – the single-largest screening in Northern Irish history, and one of the largest-ever in the UK overall. And yet still the elusive final breakthrough remains frustratingly out of reach.
On March 24th 2011 the Ballymoney and Moyle Times, in an article headlined ‘A Murderer Among Us?’ featured the most forthcoming and frank interview to date from those leading the hunt:
“Police believe they are closer than they have ever been to identifying Inga-Maria’s killer or killers…A police source said that since October last year their investigation has taken on new urgency and up to 600 ‘actions’ have taken place involving seeing people and examining pieces of information. The source added: “There has been a change in tempo in the last three or four months and we feel very encouraged. We think there is still valuable information in the rural area east of Ballymoney – Armoy, Loughgiel and Cloughmills. We don’t think the well is dry there yet and we would appeal to people to think about the murder in terms of the possibility of more than one person being involved and maybe that will make people think a different way. We know this case has been discussed in detail in that area and we know people in that area have had suspicions both then and right up to now. We think there are still some suspicions that have not yet been aired because of family bonds or whatever but we would appeal for people to come forward. The last big jump was when we got the DNA profile and we want somebody to maybe decide that blood isn’t thicker than water to get in touch with us because a young girl did not deserve to be murdered and left in a forest.”
The police source also had an unprecedented direct message for the killers:
“We are not just casting about here, this is a driven line of enquiry. Come to us before we come to you. I hope you can’t sleep at night because of this and I hope you get worried when you see us turning up at your door.” The source believes that although almost a quarter of a century has passed he thinks the killers are still alive. “We would not want to see the Hauser family cheated of justice by the death of the person responsible. Inga’s father Josef passed away from cancer a few years ago without seeing justice. We keep Inga’s mother Almut up to date with enquiries and it would not be right if she does not see justice.”
Chapter 26 – Crooked Mile
Sign O’ The Times: One of the three villages officially identified as holding the answers to the 28-year old mystery
I think it’s fair to acknowledge that nobody is in possession of more pieces of the investigative puzzle than the PSNI and foremost the man who has been valiantly leading the investigation into the case for a number of years now, Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray. It is my firm belief that that he was in possession of very credible intelligence to have taken the extraordinary and unusual step of publicly naming Armoy, Cloughmills and Loughgiel AKA Loughguile as being suspected of harbouring the killers. And so to these three rural villages of east County Antrim…Places and communities that Detective Superintendent Murray, a cautious and conscientious man not given to overstating things, has gone on the record to state he believes hold the key to this ancient atrocity being solved. As he told journalist Barry Cummins:
“These are rural communities in east County Antrim, they are close, they are tight-knit. People talk and people know every blade of grass in a hedgerow. They know when something isn’t right. Because we have the DNA profile from the crime scene, we don’t necessarily need someone to give evidence. It would be very nice if they would and it’s the best way, but we don’t need that for the case to stand up in court. We don’t need written statements, what we need is the piece of information that 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 that completes the picture.”
Over the years there have been persistent rumours among the local community that one of the killers is a lorry driver from Loughguile AKA Loughgiel. The following is an excerpt from a comment left on this blog by an individual I shall refer to only as ‘RC’:
Stories going about it was a lorry driver in Loughgiel, police know it and had him in several times but can’t corner him, they don’t have the evidence, so they keep trying to smoke him out.
That would certainly explain the very unusual decision of the PSNI to publicly name three specific villages where they suspect the answers lie to the decades-long mystery, one of the three being Loughguile AKA Loughgiel. It would also explain the reason at least one of the perpetrators were aboard the Galloway Princess that night, transporting their lorry from the British mainland. They say there’s no smoke without fire, and whilst one has to keep an open mind in the continuing absence of any further confirmation, the fact that this particular rumour has persisted above all others for so long I would suggest is indicative of its credibility.
On April 17th 2008 on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the discovery of Inga-Maria’s body, in an article by Lisa Smyth the Belfast Telegraph reported, “It is understood police know who was behind the crime but have so far failed to gather enough evidence to bring him to justice.” This is to my knowledge the first and to date the only claim on record that the police know at least one of those who was responsible, rather than just where they are believed to be based.
In the same article, long-time champion of Inga-Maria’s case the SDLP’s John Dallat MLA said, “It is time for anyone who is protecting the identity of the murderer to break their silence and bring an end to the two decades of misery experienced by the family of the German teenager. It is frustrating that after 20 years the pieces of the jigsaw are missing.”
Furthermore he revealed, “The area where Inga was found is so remote that whoever killed her must have had a detailed knowledge of the forest and I believe that people do know who is responsible and (are) shielding this killer. They are not helping themselves by their actions, they are not helping the man who did this and they are not helping the Hauser family.”
To the communities of Armoy, Cloughmills and Loughgiel AKA Loughguile in that beautiful part of the world that is populated by a great many fine people, I can only add my voice to the calls that have previously gone unheeded. Who will break ranks and go to battle with brutality, rattling the inactive and lifting the veil of the vile and the violent? There is one thing of which I am certain – unless and until that day of deliverance arrives, the darkness that shadows County Antrim like a murky curtain will not be overthrown. The lingering spirit of an innocent murdered in your midst will not abscond. Until then – La tristesse durera. The sadness goes on.
Chapter 27 – I Keep Mine Hidden
Your Blue Room: Inga-Maria in her bedroom in Munich. This undated PSNI handout is the previously-unpublished photo released to the media in 2011 as part of a quest for new information
She knows nothing
Just pack up and go
But one day in your brand new home
You hear knocking on the door
And later in the dark
She calmly says
Are you happy now?
Laughing at the world
Since you went away
Each quiet day has taught me to say
Well who the hell do you think you are?
Where’s the point in what you’ve done
You’ve got what you want
And threats from your friends
‘Are You Happy?’ – Microdisney
The following passage I am quoting verbatim from the chapter on Inga-Maria’s case in Barry Cummins’ book The Cold Case Files, for I again feel it warrants printing in full.
Detectives have long been aware of the possibility that the name of the killer or killers may be in the investigation file somewhere. It may have been someone spoken to during door-to-door enquiries but who never raised the suspicions of police. Or the killer may have given a witness statement, or may have been stopped at a roadside checkpoint. There are many high-profile cases throughout the world where it turns out the killer was in the mix early on but simply wasn’t identified until much later. So once the PSNI had their new DNA profile which would allow for a one-in-a-billion match, they consulted with a behaviourist at the National Crime Operations Faculty in England. He gave detectives certain parameters so as to ‘score’ every male who featured in any way in the case. The higher the score the higher the possibility that someone might be the type of person who should give their DNA sample. It might be that they had lived in the area of Larne or East Antrim, or that they had worked driving a vehicle around Northern Ireland, or had come into the mix in some other way. Detectives built up a matrix of what they called ‘male nominals’ and eventually went and took DNA swabs from 1,000 men. Police put a huge effort into prioritising which people should be sampled but after completing what is one of the largest such ‘voluntary swab’ procedures, not one of the men was a match for the ‘crime scene donor’. Said Detective Superintendent Murray, “Once we didn’t get a match from the 1,000 men that we prioritised for sampling, we then got high-level approval from our head of Crime Operations to ask the DNA overseer in England to do a familial trawl on the database. This is where a certain process can be used to search for siblings or a parent or child of the crime scene donor. Basically if his DNA is not on the database, the science is so advanced that we can identify a close relative of his if they are on the database, and they can perhaps lead us in turn to the man we wish to identify. We did 500 such tests, we did a third of that number looking for a brother or sister of the donor and the other two thirds looking at the parent and child list but again we didn’t get a match.”
In 2012 SDLP assembly member John Dallat appealed through the media to call for renewed efforts to track down the murderers and solve Inga-Maria’s case. That same year Almut Hauser again spoke briefly to the media to say “It is good that police have this lead which they are working on” but also that “I cannot get my hopes up, the crime was so long ago, it was and still is unbelievable.”
Also in 2012, The Guardian revealed for the first time they had been briefed about the number of people suspected of involvement in Inga-Maria’s murder, reporting on April 11th of that year that “It is understood the police believe at least two people were involved in the teenager’s murder.” The German tabloid Abend Zeitung published an article the same year which featured a new interview with Almut Hauser with a new photograph of her in which her continuing anguish was clearly visible.
At the time of writing these have been the last media reports in relation to the case.
Chapter 28 – Never Gonna Give You Up
Ceremony: Mass card for Inga-Maria’s funeral
In 2014 the now-retired Operation TRACE National Coordinator Alan Bailey, formerly head of the Garda taskforce founded to investigate the suspected victims of the so-called ‘Vanishing Triangle’ in Ireland, published a book entitled Missing, Presumed that featured a chapter on Inga-Maria. Although well worth seeking out, the author devoted little more than five pages of his book to her case. Within that chapter is the following passage:
She had travelled across Europe and up through England and Scotland by train, and did not try and hitch-hike on any part of the journey…The fact that there was no reported sighting of her leaving the boat after it docked would suggest that she had taken a lift from a person she had met while en route from Scotland to Northern Ireland.
It is worth bearing in mind just how tiny the three villages are that detectives have openly gone on record as stating they believe hold the answers to the now 29 years-long murder mystery. Cloughmills has a population of just 1,309 people (in 514 households) according to the most recent Census. An estimate in 2013 by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency stated that Armoy has a population of only 1,122. Most remarkably, the most heavily-linked village of all, Loughgiel/Loughguile, was recorded in the most recent Census as being populated by a mere 396 people (in just 128 households)! So, roughly 2,800 people in total. The PSNI confirmed they had taken DNA samples from 2,000 individuals all over Northern Ireland by the year 2012. When they said they felt they were “tantalisingly-close” to a breakthrough, that confidence was clearly well-founded. And yet here we are another five years on, with not a word of any more progress. Almut Hauser is now 75 years old. I dearly hope that she receives the justice so long denied to her before it is too late.
It is now more than a quarter of a century since a young woman on her brave way through the world was so viciously violated and cruelly denied the rest of her life. And to this day justice is still delayed, still denied. It’s time – long overdue in fact – that an ancient wrong was righted and the killers of Inga-Maria Hauser finally be held to account for their murderous urges on that night in April 1988. I feel and I now know that many share the view that we owe it to her memory and that of her family’s solemn struggle to rectify at least some of the injustices and indignities inflicted on an innocent who did nothing to deserve the destruction wrought upon her in the darkness of a County Antrim night all those years ago.
La tristesse durera (The sadness goes on)
– Vincent Van Gogh
Inga-Maria Hauser. Born May 28th 1969. Died April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.
Please get in touch with me via email in the ‘Contact’ section if you have any information in relation to his case.
Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2016. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgements for Part 3
Thanks to ‘RC’ for permitting me to publish in Chapter 26 his comments left on this blog.
‘Are You Happy?’ written and published by Cathal Coughlan and Sean O’Hagan ©1985
Passport To Murder by Ali Bracken. Published by Gill & Macmillan ©2010
The Cold Case Files by Barry Cummins. Published by Gill & Macmillan ©2012
Missing, Presumed by Alan Bailey. Published by Liberties Press ©2014
The Police Service of Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Ballymoney and Moyle Times
BBC Northern Ireland
Vincent van Gogh