The Keeley Chronicles PART 29

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 31 years

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

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

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Danger: An apt sign at Stranraer Harbour, thirty years on from Inga’s departure from there. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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.

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Step by Step: Approaching the old Stranraer ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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.

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I Am the Dereliction: The site of the original Stranraer ferry terminal as it is nowadays. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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.

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A View to a Kill: That vehicle loading ramp. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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.

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Tracks of your tears: The precise section of railway line over which Inga made her fateful approach to Stranraer. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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.

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Distant Sun: The precise spot the Galloway Princess left Stranraer port from with Inga on board on that fateful evening in 1988. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

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

The Keeley Chronicles PART 28

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 31 years

157. Aug 23rd

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 28 - CONTENTS
Chapter 75: Empty Chairs
Chapter 76: End of the Line
Chapter 77: Welcome to Stranraer
Acknowledgements for Part 28

 

Chapter 75: Empty Chairs

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Motorail Emptiness: On the last train from Ayr to Stranraer. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I feel the trembling tingle of a sleepless night creep through my fingers

And I wonder if you know

Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs

Don McLean – ‘Empty Chairs’

 

Stranraer is the end of the line in every sense. Not only is it the southern terminus for one of the branch lines of the Glasgow South Western Line but where the track ends, the mouth of the Irish Sea begins – if you went any further, you’d literally end up in the water. When Inga arrived there in 1988 the train station was named Stranraer Harbour, but in 1996 it was simplified to Stranraer which is how it remains today.

Stepping onto the 23.31 in Ayr I’m one of only four people to board the otherwise-empty train, the last of the night, the last for many miles around. I take my rucksack off and sit into a seat as the train prepares to pull out. For a moment the train remains still as the driver presumably waits to see if any more passengers appear on the platform, but none do. Looking out the window I see an empty platform in a lonely railway station where thirty years previously, Inga had similarly stepped onto a train bound for Stranraer. I know she isn’t here but I can’t stop myself from trying to look for her out of the window, visualising her standing on the same platform with her rucksack on her back, full of excitement at the prospect of travelling to Ireland for the first time.

The train pulls out and I watch as Ayr soon becomes another flicker in the distance. The first stop isn’t long in arriving, a place called Maybole. Two of the passengers who boarded alongside me in Ayr get off the train here. No one gets on. It’s now just me and one other person on the train. We set off again but it’s not long before the train stops at a station called Girvan. The only other person on the train besides me and the train driver gets off here. Again no one gets on. Where is Girvan? I have no idea. Suddenly it occurs to me that I have not a clue where I am. But I know where I’m going, and that’s what matters.

The stops are coming and going fast now. And soon I’m at the second-last of them, Barrhill. Having no connection to Inga’s case other than by way of the tenuous link that she had passed through here while on the train that took her from Ayr to Stranraer on the last evening of her life, Barrhill is no more familiar to me than Maybole or Girvan were. In Barrhill with no other passenger left on the train, there’s no one left to disembark. And once again no one gets on. Could I really be the only person in Scotland who wants to go to Stranraer right now? I look around the empty train and the answer is clear.

I learned in Glasgow that the journey between Ayr and Stranraer takes approximately ninety minutes by rail so I know there is still an hour left of the journey from here on. What I didn’t know in advance is that the remainder of the journey will consist of a whole hour without any more stops.

Overhead a sign proclaims, “The next stop is Stranraer”. Suddenly a feeling washes over me, a feeling alien and strange. I feel…nervous. I never feel nervous. I don’t feel nervous in social situations, I didn’t feel nervous performing live on the radio in front of 40,000 people – I just don’t get nervous. But I could remember a time in my adolescence when I last felt nervous enough to be able to recognise the feeling now. And suddenly it was coming in waves. Why?

The feeling intensifies as the train hurtles forwards at what is now a very fast pace. I have the strong impression that the train driver is doing that thing that I’ve experienced many times when on board the last bus of the night, where it feels like they’re trying to break the speed of sound barrier to get to the end of what has no doubt been a long shift so they can finish up and go home.

I can hardly believe I’m actually going to be in Stranraer soon. The place has become  mythologised in my mind over the past three years. I think the nervousness I’m feeling must have a lot to do with the fact that Stranraer is where Inga made her fateful ferry journey from. It is one of the emotional epicentres of the case, part of a trilogy of tragedy alongside the Port of Larne and Ballypatrick Forest Park. However, I have never felt nervous in Larne or Ballypatrick Forest so it strikes me as odd why out of those three places I would only experience such an intense unsettling feeling when approaching Stranraer.

Suddenly the train begins to reduce speed. The clock reads 00.56. The end of the line is in sight. And with it, the sense of queasiness increases.

During the five minutes that follows, the lines begin to blur. Sitting still on a fast-moving train. Getting closer. Getting there. Hurtling towards her memory. Her spirit maybe. Perhaps just perhaps, a remainder of the faintest trace that this fascinating person left when she briefly passed through here all those years before.

 

Chapter 76: End of the Line

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A Trick of the Night: Stranraer station, sometime between 1am & 3am. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

You’ve gone
Reached the point of no return
The more I see the more I stand alone
I see the end of the line 

Everything is wrong

Roxy Music – ‘End of the Line’

 

Suddenly the train slows to a stop. The sliding doors open. And there she is:

Stranraer

The end of the line. Any further and I’ll be in the sea. And what a sea this is. It’s the first thing I notice. I can’t see it. But I can certainly hear it, whistling winter like a banshee scream. I zip up my coat, stand up and grapple with the straps of my rucksack. Walking towards the doors, dazed from a lack of sleep over the previous nights and unsteady on my feet as I adjust to the sudden weight of my rucksack on my back after spending the previous ninety minutes sitting stationary, I stumble onto the platform. Now that I’m finally here, I can’t bear to just walk away. It is now 1am. And the station area is completely deserted. The station building itself is locked up. Suddenly, I hear a car start. I look up the platform to where the sound is coming from and see the close proximity of this car to the top of the train. That’s when I realise it’s the train driver starting his car. Even he is leaving. But I can’t leave, not yet. I’ve travelled for three days to get here.

I focus on the sound. The sea. Normally I love the sea and find anything to do with it calming and dreamy. But this sea isn’t like that at all. This sea reeks of menace, and tonight it’s whistling wildly. The second thing I notice is that familiar orange glow of the station lights overhead, gleaming and glaring like the ones in the train stations of Preston, Oxford and London on the nights before. But this is different. The tangerine tones here strangely seem stronger. Looking down along the platform they bathe my face in an amber shade. The howling wind, the raging sea, the orange lights, the remoteness of these surroundings, the sense of being utterly alone. I feel like I’m on the edge of the world. Or on the edge of the Irish Sea at least.

The signs Inga saw when she arrived at the station are now gone. As recently as 2017 they were removed and as I’ve been informed by ScotRail, destroyed. History’s precious treasures torn asunder for no good reason. For the record those signs read: ScotRail. Training Beats Coaching. ScotRail. Welcome to Stranraer. Sealink Stranraer-Larne Up to 8 sailings a day – Determined to give you a better service. And most poignantly of all in the light of what transpired only a few hours after Inga saw these signs for the first and last time, the last of those signs read: ease the strain – take the train. NIR Northern Ireland railways.

Take the train. If only.

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Going Nowhere: Stranraer station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

That aside, the station is nowadays largely as it was in 1988. I stand on the platform for a while. Listening to the wind. Looking at the lights. Frozen in the moment, I lose track of time. But it must be a while, because when I next check the time upon arriving in the centre of Stranraer which is only ten minutes’ walk away it is 3am. I decide to leave the station when I start to feel seriously spooked. It’s the single spookiest atmosphere I have ever experienced. Tonight the sea is about as loud as it gets, but the sea itself cannot be seen. I try to find it with my eyes but all I see is a vast void, a black blankness in this wintertime wilderness.

 

Chapter 77: Welcome to Stranraer

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Empty Spaces: The derelict Stranraer ferry terminal at night. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The truth is cooking on a slow simmer
A light still shining even when its dimmer

Beth Orton – ‘Touch Me With Your Love’

 

Turning to go, I cast one last glance over my shoulder. But haunted waters are all that lie beyond the buffers. I’m not long out of the station area before I realise I’ve swapped one wilderness for another. And this one makes the one at the station seem like a fairy story in comparison. I had never been to Stranraer before, so I wasn’t to know that the journey from the station towards the town can only be made one way. And this way consists of a walk that on the left-hand side no more than a few feet away sit the tracks that had brought the train to the station. Looking at the track I realise that thirty years ago the train carrying Inga had rode over this very same section of track. No more than a couple of feet away from the train tracks is where the sea is howling. The footpath is so close to the train tracks, and the train tracks are so close to the sea.

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Wrong Side of the Tracks: Stranraer railway line. The Irish Sea is right in front of the wall here. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

But if I thought that was spooky, what I see when I look in the opposite direction is on another level altogether. Directly to my right I can just about make out in the darkness a caged space that seems to be enormous. I can’t resist moving towards it, pushing my face up against the wire mesh to try find out exactly what it is. And there sits a sight that chills me to my core. It’s the ferry terminal. Or what is left of it. A cold, concrete arena of dereliction. The hollowed-out heart of Stranraer’s once-busy, once-bustling, now-rusting shipping infrastructure. Inga entered that building for her fateful ferry crossing on that April evening thirty years before. And now much like Inga herself the building is sadly gone, thoughtlessly reduced to rubble.

I stand still. Ahead of me and on either side, I am surrounded by complete darkness. So much for “a light that never goes out” – I’m taken aback to discover there are no lights whatsoever once you leave Stranraer station until you reach the main road seven minutes away on foot. Not one light of any kind to guide the way. On my left is the section of train track that was the last section of train track that Inga ever travelled on, and on my right is the now-derelict ferry terminal where she boarded her fateful final ferry. And I’m walking between these two most poignant points. And yet, even in this moment I feel a faint flicker, perhaps an inkling of winning days for Inga’s case that  might lie ahead, the moment where all of this might make sense, the point at which her soul could finally find a measure of peace if at long last justice is finally reached.

The cold is making me shiver. And the wind – being Irish and living as I do in a coastal area, I’m well used to being half-garrotted by gales, but this wind is ferocious. I quicken my step and find my eyes adjusting to the darkness. It’s remarkable how quickly your eyes can adapt after being plunged into the black. As the footpath turns into a bend I can just about make out something ahead. As I get closer, I realise what it is. Then I see there’s more than one. There are many of them. It’s a procession. Of lorries. Motionless in their murkiness. Lurking, smugly, as if smirking. HGVs presumably minus their drivers, abandoned in the darkest part of town. There’s still no light around. I’ll have to pass them if I’m to stand any chance of getting out of here.

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Shadowplay: A convoy of lorries by Stranraer Harbour. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Then suddenly on the road ahead of me I see two red lights. They’re the taillights of a car. Where did that come from? And what is it doing here at 3am? Like the lorries, the car is motionless but unlike the lorries its taillights are on, indicating someone is behind the wheel. Suddenly it starts to drive off. No sooner does it start, it mysteriously slows before stopping again, but still the red lights remain on.

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Night Moves: A HGV and a car on the approach from Stranraer Harbour. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I’m now walking past the lorries. Sitting eerily still on either side, radiating silent, pent-up menace into the night. I shudder. Only this time the cold is not the cause of my shivers.

The symbolism of the sight is screaming at me.

Lorries.

Of all the things. Of all the places.

Up ahead I can just about make out a sign. It reads:

Welcome to Stranraer

TO BE CONTINUED

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 28

Empty Chairs written by Don McLean. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1971

End of the Line written by Bryan Ferry. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management ©1975

Touch Me With Your Love written by Orton/Barnes/Friend. Published by Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management ©1996

The Keeley Chronicles PART 27

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 unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 27 - CONTENTS 
Chapter 73: Coming in the Ayr Tonight
Chapter 74: Blazing Your Trail
Acknowledgements for Part 27

 

Chapter 73: Coming in the Ayr Tonight

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Ayr Apparent: The scene at the station upon my arrival. Inga made her last-ever train connection from this platform. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Waiting for the last train
Standing in the pouring rain
Thinking, wishing, hoping

Clutching on the last straw
Seeing things I never saw

One step forward
Two steps back
And you’re gone
Gone

The Mighty Lemon Drops – ‘Inside Out’

 

Boarding the packed train in Glasgow Central for Ayr I reach into my rucksack and check my phone for the time. The journey is set to take one hour. By the time of reaching the town of Troon however there is almost nobody left on the train and by the time it reaches the last stop in Ayr, I am one of only three people who get off. The weather on this night is suitably Scottish – blustery, cold and dank. But being Irish I am more than accustomed to inclement climes.

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Coming up for Ayr: Signs at the station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Stepping onto the platform in Ayr that familiar feeling returns. I had felt it upon arrival in London, Oxford, Headington, Bath, Bristol, Preston, Inverness and Glasgow. The sense of her having been here. I have ninety minutes to kill. But where to go? There’s no seating area or waiting room in Ayr station due to an ongoing rebuilding job that has rendered any and all enclosed spaces inaccessible to the public. Then again, even if there had been somewhere sheltered to sit in the station, I would have preferred to take the opportunity to explore Ayr for the hour and a half I have here.

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The Times They Are a-Changin’: ScotRail timetable, Ayr station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

So that’s what I decide to do. Swapping one dark slab of concrete wetness for another, I exit the station and without the slightest clue where I’m going, set off in a randomly chosen direction. My phone has again run out of battery so I can’t access the satellite navigation. Before long I find myself on a motorway, which I hope will lead me towards Ayr town centre. I guess right, and after a while it looms into view. Sniffing out the scent of the centre, I keep walking. Despite the bad weather, I’m excited to be here, in Ayr. Somewhere new. Somewhere else. Somewhere else with a connection to her.

 

Chapter 74: Blazing Your Trail

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Inside-Looking Out: The author at Ayr station, wondering when Inga’s killers will be behind bars…
Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

You were there in the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars and you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

Flags, rags, ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision underneath the stars
Yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

The Waterboys – ‘The Whole of the Moon’

 

I have still yet to encounter even one person since I stepped off the train. Although a part of my nature favours safety, erring on the side of caution, the Gemini star sign I share with Inga means a larger part of me is drawn to the deep end. Those who are that way inclined tend to break loose and choose the choppier waters in life, unable to quell the curious urges.

And what of Ayr? The streets are completely deserted. No people. No cars. Nowhere. I walk further then choose a street at random, again guided by instinct. Passing by a pub named Rabbie’s, I glance at the windows. It looks like there’s life inside. It’s the only sign of life in Ayr tonight. I pause and ask myself if I should go in? I don’t drink alcohol and pub culture is not my thing. So, what business have I got going in a pub? But everywhere else in the town looks to be closed, and I mean everywhere. I still haven’t set eyes on a human being in the 25 minutes I’ve been here. I want to have an adventure. Going all the way to Ayr only to wander down a motorway and walk through deserted streets in the dark would be hard to qualify as an adventure. But the whole time in the back of my mind there’s the memory of her mission, a pursuit that plummeted from pleasure to peril. This decision is balanced on a knife edge. It’s such a mundane moment – I’m in a Scottish town at night and I’m merely trying to decide whether to enter a pub or not. However because I have spent literally every waking hour of the past three years with the details of Inga’s case on my mind, during this trip retracing her steps I am more conscious than I might be otherwise of the potential life-changing significance of what may appear on the surface to be straightforward events and innocuous choices. Deciding to enter this pub might make no difference to anything or it could change my life in some catastrophic way. Similarly, not entering it could leave me open to some other unforeseen threat to my existence. These are ultimately scenarios we are all faced with most days of our lives. Over-analysing the potential perils and permutations to the extent that you could become paralysed by doubt or fear is no way to live. The best of a bad bunch of options is probably to live on instinct and try to experience as much as possible in life while trying to balance the scales of safety and risk.

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Pretty Vacant: The abandoned Ayr town centre after dark. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

So once again I let my heart and head be led by instinct’s instructions, and I open the door to the pub. I need to charge my phone for what feels like the 427th time this day, and at the same time I’m thinking I just might have an experience in here that could be something to remember. I cross the lounge and try to find a power socket to charge my phone. There’s a football match on the TV – it’s the 90th minute of a game Glasgow Rangers are drawing 0-0 against some European side. There are a bunch of men sitting around the TV watching the match. I’m just relieved to be in out of the wretched weather. I’m also wondering how the hell Rangers are in Europe, the last I’d heard they’d been relegated to Division 3 or something. I take my rucksack off my shoulders and place it on the seat beside me. I’m expecting a member of the bar staff to approach me any moment now and expect me to buy a drink, which would be fair enough. Except they rarely serve in pubs the kind of drinks I like (I have very childlike tastes) and I’m not enthusiastic about the idea of buying a drink I don’t want, plus I need to conserve what little remaining funds I have… Wonder where I stay tonight. Need more money.

Suddenly a man approaches me and asks me a question in such an impenetrable accent I don’t understand a word of it. Figuring he must be a member of the bar staff and is asking me what I want to order, I ask “What hot drinks do you have here?” It’s a cold night and I could do with a hot drink. I can tell by the confused expression on his face that he must have asked me a different question than the one I thought I was responding to. However, it soon becomes apparent that not only is that the case, but it turns out he isn’t a member of bar staff at all. He’s just a guy in the bar, and he had approached me to ask if I wanted a drink. This was the last thing I was expecting. I am never asked out in Dublin. Not that he is asking me out. He is asking me if I would like a drink. But is a guy in a pub asking you if you’d like a drink merely a pre-amble before asking or expecting other things? As I say, it doesn’t happen to me in Dublin, so I wasn’t sure how to deal with it now that it was happening in Ayr. I scramble my thoughts and hope some half-sensible reply might come tumbling out of my mouth. In a split second I have to ask myself several questions – namely “Who is this guy?”, “Is he expecting something in return if I accept his offer of a drink?”, “Is this a ruse of some sort?”, “Or worse, is history repeating itself here and is this guy going to end up doing to me what Inga’s killers did to her?” The fact that I was only here to retrace her footsteps had heightened my sense of awareness in terms of trying to avoid a similar fate, and had intensified my second-guessing analysis of the situations I was finding myself in. Since my arrival in Ayr I had already debated with myself whether to leave the leave train station and go and explore the area – I ultimately decided yes. Then I debated with myself whether to enter this pub – I’d decided yes to that as well. Now I was being confronted by a guy I had never met in my life who was asking me if I’d like him to buy me a drink. In that moment I recognised a strange parallel with the moment Inga was approached at Larne – do I say no and risk seeming impolite? Do I say yes and risk getting myself into a situation I might regret? Or do I bypass both of those options and instead say something that confuses the hell out of him?

Evidently my brain chooses the latter option. Having already wrongly mistaken the guy for a member of bar staff, I respond to his question of “Would you like a drink?” with some comment about how I’m looking for a way to charge my phone, which is at least a way to sidestep his question about the drink. This however doesn’t deter him. His next question throws me another curveball. “Would you like a game of pool?” he seemed to be saying. Pool? What sort of a follow-up question is that? “Would I like a game of pool?”, I reply rhetorically, and in doing so I buy myself some time to figure out what I’m going to do. I realise I’m asking myself as much as repeating his question back at him. Would I like a game of pool? I’m not sure. I again go through the whole “Is this some sort of ruse?” analysis in my head. Then I think, “Fuck it, you wanted an adventure, let’s see where it leads”. So I nod, pick up my rucksack and follow him through to the back of the pub where there is a pool table. To my surprise there’s a second guy there, who is clearly known to the guy who asked me if I wanted a drink and a game of pool, and there‘s also a girl here who appears to know them both. Hello. What’s going on here? And all the time unbeknownst to them, in my head the only sound I can hear is “Inga, Inga, Inga, Inga…”

I try to stop being paranoid and get ready for this game of pool. I plug my phone into the wall socket, put my rucksack on a tabletop where I can keep an eye on it, and take off my coat, hat and gloves. The guy who asked me to play pool introduces himself at this point. He says his name is Dean, and it turns out he’s not from Ayr but from Bradford, a city I have holidayed in several times so it’s hard to fathom why I initially found his accent so hard to understand. We begin the game of pool and he soon races into a commanding lead. I’m playing so badly it’s as if I have invented a whole new sport with the exact opposite objective of the game he is playing.

Soon after we began the game, he opens up and begins telling me his life story. His is a classic cautionary tale, but ultimately one that has led to redemption and salvation. He had been a heroin addict for most of his life, had become involved in crime in order to feed his addiction, ended up burgling what sounds like half the houses in Bradford and ended up in prison where he continued to abuse hard drugs. It took him until he met his second wife who he credits with having turned his life around before the self-destructive and reckless path he had been on for many years came to an end. We end up talking for a good while, and during this time it becomes apparent to me that rather than him being someone to be wary of, as I had first been when he approached me and asked if I would like a drink, I realise he is only someone to admire – his honesty, his willingness to recognise his flaws and acknowledge the damage he had done to himself and many others around him, and furthermore his intelligence. He’s an ordinary working-class guy from Bradford, a former long-term heroin addict with a string of criminal convictions, and yet he is as wise as anyone I have met. And what’s more, a genuinely lovely guy. By some miracle, the very same pool game in which he’s played like a pro for much of it, while for much of it I’ve played like a demented octopus, I end up finding form late on and somehow emerge the victor. He is magnanimous in defeat, I end up accepting his second offer of a drink, he’s totally sincere in expecting nothing in return and after a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating time spent in his company playing the good game of pool and talking, we hug goodbye and I put my coat on, lift my rucksack onto my shoulders once more and prepare to return to Ayr station to catch the last train to Stranraer.

The streets of Ayr are still empty, the weather still dank and dreary. But something has changed. Nothing has changed on the surface, but I have just witnessed the enormous impact change can have on a human being, a person who managed to turn his life around and away from the hellish harems of hard drug addiction and criminality. I take several things away from this encounter, a rare minor sporting triumph for one thing, a soulful connection with a fellow human being for another, and one more example that not everything is as it first appears on the surface. It was ultimately a far better use of my ninety minutes in Ayr than if I’d spent the whole time in the train station. I had taken a chance in exploring this remote town late at night and I’d been fine. I had taken another chance in embracing the uncertainty of spending time in the company of a guy I didn’t know from Adam, and again it had all worked out even better than I had hoped. But with each thing that was going right for me, it caused me to cast my mind back to Inga once more, and the way her backpacking trip and even more so her entire life had suddenly and through no fault of her own unravelled disastrously and tragically.

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Ayr of December: The view from the station carpark. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I make my way back to the train station and after exploring the station area I head for the platform. Huddling in my coat beneath the tangerine tones of the station lights the winter cold of an Ayrshire night unfurls its freezing flag. Looking up, through a haze of Scottish fog I see the electric information board display the following statement:

 

Departures
23:31 Stranraer
On time Platform 4
23:23:56

 

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In the Midnight Hour: The last train to Stranraer appears on the departures board.
Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Only eight minutes left to wait now. I stand on the platform with my rucksack and visualise her standing here the same way three decades before. She was here, on this same platform, in this same station, albeit for a mere two minutes as she hopped off one train and onto another. But the second of those trains would unwittingly deliver her into danger, into a sequence of events that would reverberate far into the future and continue doing so right up to the present day. And beyond.

And it was beyond where she was bound. And in retracing her steps through the rural and urban jungles of all these cities and towns, beyond was where I too was bound.

And so, the next leg of this spiritual mission dawns. Ayr to Stranraer.

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Here It Comes: The last train of the night arrives at Ayr. Note the absence of passengers waiting to board. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Suddenly, the distant glimmer of lights appear on the horizon and gradually become larger as the locomotive draws closer. I grasp for a semblance of security by putting my hand in my coat pocket and fumbling around for my Interrail pass which I hadn’t seen since Glasgow two and a half hours ago.

It was still there. I was still here. She is gone. Soon I would be too.

Bound for whatever lies beyond.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 27

Inside Out written by Newton/Linehan. Published by Warner Bros. Music Ltd. ©1988

The Whole of the Moon written by Mike Scott. Published by Warner/Chappell Music ©1985

The Keeley Chronicles PART 26

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 still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 26 - CONTENTS
Chapter 71: Glasgow Queen Street
Chapter 72: Glasgow Central Revisited
Acknowledgements for Part 26

 

Chapter 71: Glasgow Queen Street

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Station to Station: Stirling, one of the stops between Inverness and Glasgow. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

She never thought about the future, she just did what she would
Oh, but she really cared about her music
And on the road
Where all but a few fall by the wayside on the grassier verge
She battled through
Against the others in her world, and the sleep, and the odds

Genesis – ‘Duchess’

 

Climbing aboard the packed ScotRail train just in time, I sink my limbs into the only seat not taken as we start to move and Inverness begins to recede into the distance. Scanning the windows from left to right, the lush Scottish countryside drips with mildew on either side as the high tides of the Highlands slither through the rivers. A stunning evening sun begins to blaze through gaping gaps in the clouds above. I’m wondering all the time, is this what she saw? Did it look like this when she sat here on that day in 1988? Even now all around there are fields, so she must have been watching the same scenery, the same scenes.

One by one the train passes through a succession of sleepy Scottish stations, first Aviemore then Perth and then Stirling before arriving at the last stop, Glasgow Queen Street, some three and a half hours after leaving Inverness. That sounds like a long time but somehow it feels like time has both flown and stood still simultaneously. I watch for the sign to appear, to be able to see the words of this latest place name that had like all the other ones long since burned its way into the background of my brain. Glasgow Queen Street. Inga arrived at this very station on the afternoon of the last day of her life, and while I had previously visited Glasgow Central station I had never been to Glasgow Queen Street before, where a fresh blitz of emotions would hit me in the heart upon arrival. Following the other passengers I clamber off the train and take my first steps along the platform, taking time to soak up the surroundings, seeking to be at one with the flow of the moment. All around me other passengers are rushing to be somewhere else, but I had come here only to be here.

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‘Queen’ of the New Year: Glasgow Queen Street station, evening time. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

And now here it was. Glasgow Queen Street. It was so much bigger and blanker than I had anticipated. I had seen a photo taken in April 1988 of the outside part of the platform and so I had been expecting it to look a bit, well, quaint. But quaint it is not. Instead it looked like the interior of a giant aircraft hangar. It was very spacious, dark and dank. The transitory ambience it possessed was unlike any of the other train stations I had been in in Scotland. It looked like the sort of place people are herded through only en route to somewhere else, anywhere else. But as one of the places where Inga had actually been, and what’s more as one of the places where she had been on the last day of her life, leaving it off the itinerary was simply not an option. Nondescript or not, it was every bit as valid to visit as Inverness, Ayr, Stranraer or Larne.

By this point I had been on so many trains over the previous days that it was becoming a clockwork-like ritual. And yet there was not one moment at any stage when I felt bored, or tired, not even after having only scavenged on scant scraps of sleep over several nights when sleep just couldn’t be sourced. On the contrary it felt a strange mixture of exciting, humbling and haunting. I knew why I was here. Her. She couldn’t be here; she hadn’t been here since then. She would never be here, there or anywhere else again. And yet, in another way it felt like she was everywhere. Every corner I turned, on every street that felt my feet I thought I could sense the faintest echo of her presence. But that could have been just wishful thinking.

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Everyone Everywhere: Rush hour at Glasgow Queen Street. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Here was no different though. Loitering in the airy, echoey concourse of Glasgow Queen Street station surrounded by the massed blur of the other commuters’ rushing and jostling in every direction, their frantic action a jarring contrast to my stillness in the same building. But which of us is travelling faster? Perhaps they are, or perhaps not. In this moment I feel like I’m travelling without moving, transfixed by images of an ancient age, a custodian of Inga’s flickering flame stumbling blindly towards the dim light of dawn.

Stood in this hulk of nothingness, a sedentary oddity at odds with the busy bodies that swarm around me, I try to picture her here all those years before. This was another transitional point on her journey towards what should have been the first of two or three nights on the island of Ireland, instead of what would turn out to be her last night anywhere.

 

Chapter 72: Glasgow Central Revisited

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Railway Jam: The listed building that is Glasgow Central Station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Past and present
They converge on every side
The wires all get tangled
When now and then collide

Bittersweet taste of a time and another place before
Sleepwalking, see you talking
Feel the city inside you
Feel this city define you
Leave this city behind you

The Sundays – ‘Leave This City’

 

Eventually I begin to make a move towards the doors. Leaving the din within, swapping one hotbed of humanity for another it’s time to go back on the ‘Waterfront Beat’. Glasgow. The sounds, the sins, the streets. A city’s heartbeat. She had walked the same way all those years ago, from Queen Street Station to Central Station. On foot it’s a journey that takes ten minutes. 861 metres. That’s all Inga ever saw of Glasgow, and all Glasgow ever saw of her.

It’s raining. Again. I have no umbrella. No matter. I’ll be there in a few minutes.

And then suddenly there it is, its ancient architecture an arresting presence amidst all the modern gloss.

Glasgow Central

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Ground Level: Glasgow Central entrance, evening time. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

A huge, cavernous building replete with a large archway through which traffic passes, Glasgow Central is the principal mainline rail terminus in the city and is protected as a category ‘A’ listed building. For a while I stand around outside. Raindrops trickle their rivulets through to the ends of my hair. I’m soaking up the moment. I’m soaking.

Moving inside the building, I try to get my bearings. I’m at ground level. There’s the ticket office. The ticket machines. The escalators. Everything seems to be where it should be. But is it really? Where is Inga? In a grave. Where is justice? Still tantalisingly just beyond reach. For all the developments elsewhere in the wider world in the intervening years, suddenly 2018 didn’t seem all that far removed from 1988. Also, standing here in this station from the appearance of several things it could’ve still been 1988. The same orange colour scheme on the ground floor tiles for one thing. I close my eyes and hear the same sounds – of movement, of people and trains, of whirring escalators, of scurrying footsteps – that no doubt entered Inga’s ears during the minutes she was here.

I walk towards the escalators on the other side of the ticket office. Unlike the ones on the far side, these ones will take me to the upper level. I place my feet onto the escalator and think of her standing in this very same spot three decades earlier. She had definitely stood here, as the only way to enter the station from ground level is by coming in the same way I had and the only way to get to the train she needed to catch was to go to the main concourse on the upper level, and to do that she would have had to take this same escalator.

Arriving on the next level I stand in the vast main concourse and picture Inga in the same place, her blue rucksack, her sleeping bag on top in the green cover with ‘USAF’ emblazoned on it and with the canvas bag on her right shoulder, walking amongst the other passengers, who may have snatched a brief glimpse of this brave young explorer and one or two of who may have spared her a thought at the time, perhaps wondering where she had come from and to where she might be heading. All the while never knowing the thousand miles that had passed beneath her feet in the seven days since she had had left Haidhausen for this inaugural trip abroad on her own. Like Inga herself, at this time her fellow passengers couldn’t have known just how little time she had left on Earth. By the time she entered Glasgow Central that day, she had only hours to live.

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Time’s Up: Preparing to board the train to Ayr. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It was at one of these platforms where she caught the train to Ayr on the afternoon of April 6th 1988. She walked right through here on her way not just towards Ayr, Stranraer and Larne but on to the strangest and cruellest of fates. Perhaps it’s a matter of my being so wrapped up in her case, but as I cast one last look around the main concourse of Glasgow Central, I sense a lingering sadness, a silence without solace, pain where there should be peace.

I learn that there’s a train to Ayr in 20 minutes’ time. I will have to go there to catch the connecting train to Stranraer, just as Inga did. However, where she only got to spend a mere two minutes in Ayr between train connections, thirty years on and at a different time of day the schedule is slightly different so I will have to wait 90 minutes there.

Just before boarding the train to Ayr for a journey that will take an hour, I walk around the concourse and see several trains on their respective platforms. Poised to depart any minute, adhering to an orderly schedule. The trains are on time. But justice for one of their former passengers is running late.

Thirty-one years late.

And counting.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser  Inga 1

May 28th 1969-April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 26

Duchess written by Banks/Collins/Rutherford. Published by Hit & Run Music Ltd. ©1980

Leave This City written by Gavurin/Wheeler. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1997

The Keeley Chronicles PART 25

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 still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 25 - CONTENTS
Chapter 68: Morning Has Broken in Scotland
Chapter 69: Breakfast in Inverness
Chapter 70: All Those Days You’re Not Around
Acknowledgements for Part 25

 

Chapter 68: Morning Has Broken in Scotland

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An Hour Before the Light: Still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction detailing Inga’s last movements that shows the girl portraying Inga in the reconstruction sleeping upright in the moments before her arrival in Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Morning has broken in Scotland

Inga-Maria Hauser, postcard, April 6th 1988

 

Suddenly after around fifteen minutes the ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ stops sleeping and begins to pull out from Preston station. I had climbed back on board just in time and had not long shut the door behind me when it began moving again. During the fifteen minutes that the train was silently sitting stationary, no one had gotten on or off. The entire time there was absolutely no one on the platform save for my brief excursion. The dense fog, the eerie silence, the fact that it is the middle of the night and most of all the knowledge Inga had stood here and boarded the same sleeper train all those years before on the way to her terrible fate contributed to a weird atmosphere I had never experienced before and that I did not expect to experience again. I was not to know it then, but the next two nights would prove that assumption to be very much mistaken.

I return to the carriage and to my still-sleeping fellow passengers, amazed that not one of them has stirred since leaving Euston, not even during the stopover in Preston, all the more so considering there are no berths in the carriage and nowhere comfortable to rest.  I can’t sleep – but they apparently can’t wake up. The train soon picks up speed and before long passes through Carlisle. Not long after the light of a new dawn arrives in the sky appropriately heralding the train’s arrival north of the border.

“Morning has broken in Scotland” were the opening words of a postcard Inga wrote to three of her schoolfriends in Munich on the morning she arrived in Inverness. Morning was again breaking in Scotland and now here I was on the same train route, heading towards the same remote outpost in the Scottish Highlands and searching for something difficult to define. I didn’t know if I would find it. If I found it would I recognise it for what it was? I wasn’t sure. But merely searching for it felt like enough. It made me feel closer. Closer to my goal. Closer to the spirit of her soul.

After Carlisle the train gradually edges higher into the highlands, proceeding through the very same stations she had passed through on the morning of April 6th 1988…Edinburgh, Stirling, Dunblane, Gleneagles, Perth, Dunkeld & Birnam, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge. Unlike on the train Inga had travelled on, no breakfast car is added in Perth to the train I was on, due to that increasingly familiar refrain “staff shortages”. Surely, they could find someone to rustle up a bowl of corn flakes or a croissant? Alas not. So, the breakfast that I had anticipated munching on while savouring those “dawn views of the Grampians during the slow pull over Drumochter Pass” that had been mentioned in the Interrail guide would not be possible. So be it. It looked like it was going to be another miserably wet day, but I didn’t mind. Watching from the window my heart is lifted by the sight of the Highlands. I had only been to Scotland for the first time three weeks previously and had never been to the Highlands before. I would learn they’re not called the Highlands for nothing by the time another three hours passes. I silently sit in my seat and watch as a sky’s worth of rain gushes from above. I had finally managed to charge my phone at Waverley station during a short stop in Edinburgh so for now I can at least tell what time it is. Suddenly an overhead screen at the top of the train communicates the news that the next stop will be the last one: Inverness.

 

Chapter 69: Breakfast in Inverness

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Come a Long Way: Inverness station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Breakfast in Inverness. Nice town.

Inga-Maria Hauser, postcard, April 6th 1988

 

Inverness is the largest city and cultural capital of the Highlands of Scotland, a truly remote part of the British Isles. I knew in advance that it was going to take twelve hours on a train to reach there from London. And I knew that in order to fulfil what was a crucial stage of this spiritual mission, and to follow Inga’s footsteps to the letter, I would only get to spend little more than a couple of hours there before having to board a train to Glasgow in order to make it to Stranraer the same night. Suddenly the train pulls into Inverness and I step onto the platform, blinking into the light of a new-born morning. The words she wrote ringing in my ears – “I have just arrived in Inverness…”

I was aware then just how far Inga had come on the last day of her life. The other passengers who disembarked from the train at the same time as I did all immediately made their way to the exit. But I just stood there, soaking up the moment. I would have only two hours and forty-five minutes in Inverness before having to board the train to Glasgow. Inga had had even less time the morning she was here, and yet she had accomplished so much during a very short window of time. That morning in Inverness she had no idea just how little time she had left in this life.

I stand on the platform and visualised her stepping off the train here. Inverness. The highpoint of the Highlands. Leonard Cohen once wrote the words, “Came so far for beauty”. Inga came all the way here to see the beauty of rural Scotland, unaware that Scotland briefly saw her own beauty that day, for what would be the first and only time.

Leaving the platform, I make my way through the barriers and towards the exit. The same mixed feelings descend once again. I feel excited to be here. But at the same time, I sense a heavy shadow. Walking out into the sleet-spattered streets of Inverness, suddenly I see it before me – the bank where Inga cashed £20 worth of Traveller’s Cheques. I cross the road and step inside. It’s a bank, much like any other. Then again, it’s not. I can tell by looking at the faces of those working here and those in the queue waiting to be served that none of them are thinking about Inga-Maria Hauser. I stand in the bank visualising her on that morning in 1988 in the queue with her rucksack and bag, visualising her approaching the counter and asking the bank clerk to cash her Traveller’s Cheques. The £20 she received that day in Scottish Sterling would be the last money she would ever handle, and an undisclosed amount of the money that remained from that £20 note would be found scattered among the trees in Ballypatrick Forest near to her body when her remains were discovered fourteen days later.

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Bank of the Dead: Clydesdale Bank in the centre of Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 70: All Those Days You’re Not Around

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Shadows and Tall Trees: The author at Victorian Market, Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Raintown, rain down
On all those days you’re not around

Deacon Blue – ‘Raintown’

 

I leave the bank and wander down Academy Street, looking to take shelter from the rain. Soon I find myself at the entrance to some kind of market arcade. Victorian Market, it is called. I need to buy postcards and this looks like the kind of place where I’ll find some. Entering the first shop I see inside the building I speak with a Scottish lady behind the counter, telling her I’m Irish and have just arrived in Inverness for the first time. After buying several postcards I take a wander around the Victorian Market. This age-old place has a timeless quality and is I learn one of the stand-out places for tourists visiting Inverness. In the light of that, just like at The Roman Baths in Bath, it is very likely Inga was here. The number of quaint curios throughout and the artisan atmosphere in the air would have stirred her senses I’m sure. I know that she bought postcards in Inverness, and I wonder if perhaps she bought them at the Victorian Market. Walking around the market I feel that familiar feeling rise. An inescapable sense of sorrow and wasted potential on behalf of this person I never knew, never met but who I feel a closer bond with than anyone I’ve ever known.

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Once Upon a Long Ago: Victorian Market, Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I look for a café to have breakfast in but find nothing suitable in the Victorian Market. Then I’m told about an award-winning café nearby, so I head off in search of that. On my way I take a detour to the post office to buy stamps. The rain is falling heavier now. Then I remember Loch Ness. If you’re going to come all the way to Inverness you might as well try to catch a glimpse of the fabled Loch Ness Monster, however unlikely it is that the infamous sea creature would actually be visible. As I’m crossing the street, I spot a taxi driver who has stopped at traffic lights and ask him how much he would charge to take me to Loch Ness. “Forty-five pounds”, he replies in a distinctly Scotch burr. It’s a lot of money to spend to go see an almost certainly non-existent sea monster. In another of the strange parallels with Inga’s predicament that will become even more apparent over the next couple of days, while in Inverness I first become aware that I’m running low on funds. Strangely while in the very same place on the morning of April 6th 1988 Inga wrote in her diary, “Unfortunately my money is slowly running out”. Now here I was in the same obscure place only to find the same thing happening to me. As a result, I won’t be able to afford the taxi trip to see – or more than likely not see – the Loch Ness monster. Nae bother.

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Raintown: Academy Street, Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I resume walking to the café where once inside it’s a relief to be out of the rain. Finding the last unoccupied table, I sit down and upon the arrival of the friendly Scottish waitress I order breakfast. Again, Inga’s written words are ringing in my head. Breakfast in Inverness. Nice town.

And indeed, it’s a nice breakfast. Simultaneously while having breakfast I hurriedly write my postcards, conscious as I am of how quickly time is passing. Suddenly I realise I somehow only have fifteen minutes left before I have to catch my train to Glasgow. I write my last postcard and stick stamps on all of them, then approach the counter to pay the bill that has come to £9.50. They don’t accept laser card payments though and I have almost no cash on me. I realise I have no option but to run to the bank to withdraw £10 from what little money there is left in my account. I throw my rucksack over my shoulders and dash off back out into the rain. At this stage I have only a few minutes to get to the bank, withdraw money, run back to the café, pay my bill there then get to the post office to post my postcards and get back to the train station in time to catch what is the last train out of here in time to make the last transport connection to Stranraer by tonight. I’m already cutting it very fine as it is without taking into account the detour to the post office but I’m determined to continue to honour the spirit of Inga’s day here and post my cards from Inverness rather than waiting until I’m in Glasgow to do so. I was going to do it right, or not at all. That said, I’m seriously under pressure now. The train is set to depart any minute now and if I get stranded here, well that’s it. Not only do I have nowhere to stay in Inverness and I don’t know anybody here but the whole point of my coming here in the first place was to try honour the spirit of her journey by following her movements to the letter. I need to establish (and experience) exactly how possible it was for her to get from Preston to Inverness to Glasgow to Ayr to Stranraer in the same day. So staying in Inverness for a night is not an option, doing that would screw everything up. Besides I couldn’t afford it.

I arrive breathlessly at the bank and launch myself at the ATM machine like a praying mantis. Attempting to withdraw £10, suddenly a message appears on the screen that warns:

£20 NOTES ONLY – NO OTHER DENOMINATIONS AVAILABLE

£20 – the same amount Inga received from the same bank in the same city. What is going on here? I push the button, grab the money out of the dispenser and run back to the café as fast as my legs will carry me where I pay my bill before making my stubborn/crazy detour to the post office where I post my six postcards and then scurry off again this time in the direction of the train station. I make it onto the platform with literally seconds to spare. At this point the rain stops for the first time all day, the grey gloom lifts and suddenly from out of nowhere there appears a beautiful sun-split skyline as the train begins to pull out from Inverness station.

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Your Skies are Mine: The skyline upon leaving Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The timing is as perfect as it is poignant. For just as I’m about to leave Inverness and continue the spiritual mission of retracing the footsteps of someone who on the last day of her life, on what would be the only day she would ever get to spend in Scotland, would write in her diary, “Scotland is beautiful”, here, just in the nick of time was confirmation of those words she had written some thirty years earlier.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten. 

 _____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 25

Raintown written by Ricky Ross. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group ©1987

The Keeley Chronicles PART 24

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 still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 24 - CONTENTS
Chapter 65: Bristol
Chapter 66: There’s a Train that Leaves Tonight
Chapter 67: Preston
Acknowledgements for Part 24

 

Author’s note

Today, May 28th 2019, is Inga’s birthday. She would have been 50 years of age.

 

Chapter 65: Bristol

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Platform 3, Bristol Temple Meads railway station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Girl in the distance, moves are very hazy

To wander lonely as a puzzled anagram

Massive Attack – ‘Blue Lines’

 

Bristol Temple Meads is the oldest and largest railway station in Bristol, England. Inga arrived here off a train from Bath on April 5th 1988. Later that day she boarded a train that took her to Liverpool Lime Street station, where she had written in her diary, “Took a short walk through Liverpool station region”. However, in what was one of surprisingly few changes to rail network routes since 1988 that I discovered while retracing her steps thirty years later, nowadays trains no longer go from Bristol to Liverpool en route to Preston. Instead they now go via Birmingham. I had no interest in going to Birmingham as it was a long way off anywhere on Inga’s original 1988 itinerary which I was intent on replicating as faithfully and accurately as possible. So, I decided to go to Leeds instead and would try to reach Preston from there. At this point the notoriously erratic British rail network was about to throw a series of spanners in the works in time-honoured fashion. Firstly, the train I was travelling on from Bath to Bristol broke down and as a result was 20 minutes late in arriving at Bristol Temple Meads. The train driver himself described it as a “farce” over the intercom, much to the bemusement of the passengers. Then I discovered that the train that I was on my way to Bristol to connect with was set to leave on time, rather than waiting for the passengers on the delayed arrival from Bath, with the result that upon my arrival at Bristol Temple Meads I would have only seconds to get from one train to another. Even while carrying a rucksack I have very quick acceleration on my feet so given that and my natural optimism I still fancied my chances. But I did not reckon on just how large Bristol Temple Meads would turn out to be. It’s huge – the Ballypatrick Forest of train stations. And in another example of the inventive ways the British rail network finds to make life as difficult as possible for passengers who are perversely required to pay some of the highest ticket prices in the world to travel on these trains, the platform designated for the Leeds train was switched at the last minute to almost the furthest possible platform away from where the Bath train was arriving, resulting in yet more inconvenience, chaos and confusion for the bewildered passengers, of which I was one. By the time I had learned of these changes and had run the length of the underground maze that is the subway at Bristol Temple Meads all the way from Platform 13 to Platform 3, in the words of a German phrase that serves as a metaphor for missed opportunities in life, “The train has gone”. Literally, in this case.

Out of breath, I sat down in what was only one of thirteen separate platforms at Bristol Temple Meads, and tried to figure out my next move. It was now well after dark, I had nowhere to stay, I knew nobody in this part of the country, I had nothing in my possession but my wits and my rucksack…The parallels with the predicament Inga found herself in at points during the same journey were becoming increasingly eerie. My intention of making it to Preston on this night to catch the same sleeper train to Inverness that Inga had boarded all those years ago – and what’s more have somewhere, anywhere to spend the night that was relatively sheltered, appeared to lie in tatters.

But as I always say, there’s always a way – and if there’s no way, invent a way. My instinct told me to go to the ticket office and led me towards one kiosk in particular. There I spoke with a member of rail staff named Ryan, a man with a kind face and a Manchester accent. In contrast with the doom-laden Bath Spa rail staff worker Marek featured in Part 23 who had been so negative and discouraging in my hour of need, Ryan turned out to be immensely helpful. All was not lost. Although he confirmed that it would no longer be possible for me to go from Bristol to Preston via Leeds that night, after consulting the rail network computer system he found a route that would enable me to reach both Preston and Inverness. And what’s more, it could be done tonight, meaning I could board the very train that good old Marek at Bath Spa had claimed would be “impossible” for me to catch. Bizarrely however, it would entail my having to return to London. I had spent the whole day travelling halfway across the south of England travelling in the opposite direction from London – and now here I was suddenly being confronted with the news that I needed to go all the way back to the capital.

Best of all, it turned out that contrary to what I had been told in Bath Spa there were seats still available on the sleeper train after all. I was able to reserve a seat and have a detailed itinerary of the variety of rail connections printed out. The remarkable thing about this was that it’s a little-known fact that back in April 1988 Inga had to return to London after leaving there. She had gone from Harwich to London, and then after spending a couple of days sightseeing in London she moved on to Cambridge but had to return to London in order to catch a train to Oxford as there was no direct train route from Cambridge to Oxford, something that remains the case to this day. I was now faced with the strange prospect of succeeding in retracing a part of her journey that I hadn’t even intended to.

I stepped outside the station briefly to catch a glimpse of Bristol at night and also so I could catch a breath of fresh air. I wondered if Inga had done the same while she was here. If she had it seems it went unrecorded in her diary and was thus lost in the mists of time, another casualty of history. I walked back inside the station and set off to find the platform where the train to London was set to depart from. Soon I was on this train and heading to the capital – the very last place I expected to find myself travelling in the direction of when I left Oxford that morning and Bath that evening. But as John Lennon once sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

 

Chapter 66: There’s a Train that Leaves Tonight

Euston (reduced size)

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight: Euston Square tube station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Like a jazz refrain the midnight train is calling
Hey you’d best go soon, the late-night moon is falling
Let the nightbirds whisper to themselves
This train pulls out at twelve

Mary Black – ‘There’s a Train That Leaves Tonight’

 

I arrive off the train in London Paddington almost two hours later, at a little after 10pm. Stepping onto the platform I make my way through the vast station building. At this point I have to re-enter the sprawling London Underground network in order to travel from Paddington tube to Euston Square via King’s Cross. But I get off at the wrong station by travelling on to King’s Cross St. Pancras tube station instead, which necessitated waiting for a train to take me one stop back in the opposite direction. Travelling in the opposite direction once again… Upon arriving at Euston Square, I head for the exit and as I approach the doors, my eye is caught by a London Underground sign that a member of rail staff has written a quotation on in blue marker. It reads:

Oh yes, the past can hurt

But you can either run from it, or learn from it

The relevance of this quote to this backpacking trip retracing Inga’s steps, and to many aspects of Inga’s unsolved case, wasn’t lost on me.

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Run from the Past: The sign I came across in Euston Square tube station on my way to catch the train to Inverness. The quote reads, “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it”. Photo by Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I exit the tube network at Euston Square and take a walk through the nocturnal metropolis. A short time later I reach the entrance to London Euston where the train to Inverness via Preston – the Caledonian Sleeper – is set to depart a few minutes before midnight. As the other passengers and I are boarding the train we’re informed that the buffet car will not be joining the train due to “staff shortages”. This was the same ludicrous excuse I had heard announced over the tannoy several times over the previous two days in various train stations as the reason for entire scheduled trains, not just the buffet car, being cancelled. In all my years as a rail commuter in Ireland I have yet to see a train cancelled. The British really are getting the rawest of raw deals with their rail system.

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London Fields: Walking through the borough of Camden on the way from the London Underground to the mainline rail network. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The journey from London to Inverness by train takes twelve hours – approximately six times as long as a flight from Ireland to Spain. But I wasn’t fazed. Nor was I bothered that there were no berths remaining, which meant I’d have to try sleeping in my seat (or as it turns out, under the seat and on the floor of the train). Inga never had the luxury of sleeping in a berth; she had to make do with sleeping sitting up in her seat. If it was good enough for her, it would be good enough for me.

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“Train heave on to Euston…” London Euston pictured at close to midnight. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I clamber aboard the Caledonian Sleeper and settle into a seat as it starts to pull out from London Euston, amazed to have made it onto the train at all given the way things had unfolded earlier in Bath and Bristol where I appeared to have been left stranded both times. The interior of the train is extremely shabby. I learn that the carriages were built and fitted-out in the early 1980’s, which explains the very 80s appearance of the tattered, mustard-coloured seat covers, the very cramped seats and stained carpet. Rather than viewing this in a negative light however, I’m actually delighted – as this is presumably how it looked when Inga travelled on the same route in 1988. Within a short period of time this sleeper train will be the subject of a radical upgrade, so it’s fortuitous that I just happened to book my trip when I did. Coincidentally or otherwise, the sleeper train Inga travelled on was replaced in May 1988 by the locomotive carrying me and this one is likewise set to be replaced within weeks of my own journey.

I glance around at my fellow passengers in the carriage – to my great surprise every single one of them is already asleep. We only left London a couple of minutes ago. How the hell had all these people managed to simultaneously fall asleep in such a short time? Was that a weird thing to happen? I couldn’t be sure. I suspected it was but when strangeness becomes so commonplace, there comes a point in your life where it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between what is strange and what is normal. Because when everything is strange, strangeness becomes the new normal. Anyway, I was literally the only person awake in the entire carriage. Being a night-owl and feeling excited to travel on a ‘sleeper train’ for the first time, and simultaneously feeling wracked by the intensity of retracing Inga’s steps, it would be several hours yet before I would attempt to get to sleep. It would be a largely fruitless attempt, however. I struggle to sleep upright anyway, and the cramped and uncomfortable seats on the Caledonian Sleeper would not make that aim any easier to accomplish. But sleeping was pretty much far from my mind. I wanted to be conscious of as much of this experience as possible. I stared out the window at the fast-moving blur of regional railway stations, feeling grateful to be alive, grateful to be on this train at all.

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Blood on the Tracks: The author preparing to board the London-Inverness overnight train. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

A couple of hours into the journey my phone dies due to a lack of battery power not helped by the complete absence of plug sockets or USB inputs on board the train. This was the first of many trains I had travelled on over the previous couple of days that did not have any power sockets. And yet this train journey was going to last twelve hours. Surely it would have occurred to the powers that be that a plug socket or three wouldn’t go astray? Then again, given how everyone on the train apart from myself seemed to have been knocked out by some sort of sleeping gas perhaps the rail authorities were not exactly being inundated with requests from passengers for power sockets on the Caledonian Sleeper. A power supply for my mind was however not required. I was wide-awake, transfixed by the sights whirring past the window. Totally entranced. By thoughts and sights. Cityscapes and skylines. Tower blocks and street signs. Sleepy hamlets and suburban towns passing by in the blink of an eye. All those people living in them. All those lives. Entangled and divided yet sleeping beneath the same sky.

However due to my phone being out of battery power, and no one in the carriage being awake for me to be able to ask, I have no idea where I am. I know I’m on the Caledonian Sleeper obviously but as for roughly what part of the country we were in, I haven’t the foggiest idea as the train is moving so fast in the darkness I can’t make out the placenames on the signs at the stations the train is speeding through. I sit there transfixed, my mind running riot with possibilities, the heart heavy and haunted by her story.

 

Chapter 67: Preston

Preston station at night, Feb 3rd 1988

British Rail freight train pictured in Preston station on the night of February 3rd 1988, just two months before Inga boarded the sleeper train from the same platform. Photo: rroadmick ©1988

 

Some things will never wash away

Radiohead – ‘Fog’

 

Suddenly the train slowed, and I could make out a station sign. Stafford, it read. Stafford. Where is Stafford? Somewhere in England presumably. I couldn’t consult Google Maps because my phone was still dead. I decided it would be best to try get some sleep now. I tried nodding off in my seat but soon gave up on that. Next, I tried to fit my frame into the space between my seat and the empty seat next to me. But there was an armrest stationed between the seats that made this impossible. It was time to resort to desperate measures. I clambered down onto the floor and after manoeuvring my body underneath the seats in front of me, managed to create a makeshift sleeping quarters. Lying on the floor of the train with my right ear pressed against the carpet as I tried to rest my head I could hear and literally feel the wheels and gears of the train grinding away beneath my body as the train sped through the night along the miles of rail track. I had slept in some unusual places over the years as a musician who toured occasionally and often gigged around Ireland, but the sheer oddness of that sensation will be hard to top. Somehow, I managed to fall into a fitful slumber. There was however a reason I was determined not to sleep for long – Preston. I had to make sure I woke up when the train reached Preston. In the meantime, I tried to grab forty winks (four winks more like). After a while I came to when my body or subconscious mind sensed the train slowing to a stop. Could this be? It had to be.

Preston

“Went on to Preston”, Inga had written in her diary. She had gone there to connect with the sleeper train to Inverness and to the best of my knowledge never left the station that night. So, although she had indeed gone “on to Preston”, just as in Bristol, Liverpool and Ayr she sadly saw nothing of the place beyond the train station. And now here I was, thirty years on. I had no idea of the time, but the sky was still pitch dark, so I knew it wasn’t dawn yet, the black had yet to yield to any hue of blue. I got up and looked around the carriage – all the other passengers remained fast asleep, unlike me not one of them had stirred upon the train slowing and then stopping here in Preston. I walked along the aisle before leaving the carriage altogether, and ventured into the space between carriages, where the door is. It was then that I realised just how old-fashioned this train was (although the lack of power sockets should have been a clue). The train door was one of those ancient ones with the window in it that you have to push up and down. I pushed the window down and what I saw left me truly transfixed. Totally entranced. I saw a thick cloak of fog. The orange glow of the station’s sodium lights shimmered through it. And through the fog-flecked air of a Northern night I could make out a sign. It read:

Preston

I stood there for several minutes just staring out the window, my senses soaking up the surroundings. The North of England. In the middle of winter. In the middle of the night. The silence. The stillness.

I had to get off the train. I knew this was foolhardy. My rucksack with my passport and all my belongings in it was still on board. So was my coat. I had no idea how long the train was going to remain stopped here. Since arriving here no one had gotten on the train, nor gotten off it for that matter. Why had the train stopped here? It was the middle of the night. We’d been stopped here for at least five minutes already, for no good reason as far as I could see. As far as the eye could see. And the eyes couldn’t see far – the fog, you see. I could hardly see. But I could feel. And I felt I knew what I needed to do. I had to get off this train. I was going to do it right or not at all. I might not get back here again. I had never been here before. I had come this far. I needed to go further. Not just to Inverness, and beyond. I had to go further here. I had to stand on this platform. I had to get off this train. It must have been some time around 4am. The train could start pulling out from the station any second. If I was wandering along the platform, I’d be a goner. Or rather, the train would be a goner. And as much of an eternal optimist as I am, even I was conscious that if you’re in Preston at around 4am and the only train to Inverness goes, you are truly stranded. And if you know nobody in the entire shire and your phone is dead, and the train that has just left contains your coat and rucksack with all your belongings, being stranded would be the least of your worries. So, I knew it would be stupid to get off the train in these circumstances. Especially after the lengths I’d gone to be able to catch this train in the first place, and the way I had been very lucky not to have ended up sleeping rough in a Bristol doorway tonight. So no, forget about getting off the train Keeley. There’s no way you’re going to do that…

I opened the old-fashioned door of the train by clanking the handle and stumbled in a sleepless state onto the platform of Preston station and into the quilted mist that sat like a beautiful blanket upon the frozen stone. Suddenly there she was. In my mind’s eye.

Thirty years before she had stood here, in this very station, on this very platform, about to board this very train. Lifting her heavy rucksack onto the tired teenage shoulders that had withstood the same weight for six days. With the pair of white runners dangling from laces tied at the back all the way from Munich and still flanked by her khaki knapsack, she stood up to board this train in this station. Largely unknown and mostly unnoticed. But this meant something. Her backpacking trip meant everything to her in that moment. It was more than a trip – it was a voyage, a mission, a crusade. And the memory of it could have been lost forever. It was understandably overshadowed for decades by the horror story of what happened on the night she arrived in Northern Ireland. And the true meaning of her backpacking trip would become warped and distorted from that point on. For what had started out as her “greatest dream”, to quote Inga’s mum Almut, had become mired in murder and its ghastly aftermath. A girl all her friends knew and loved as a charismatic character, a vibrant livewire, a creative powerhouse, had been reduced to a mere totem of tragedy. Her killers leeched her life and stole her smile. And cruelly redefined all she represented while she was alive. She had gone from skilfully sketching pictures on paper to becoming a face on the paper of RUC murder posters and the subject of occasionally lurid headlines in tasteless tabloid pages.

Three decades earlier it was a different story however, on the night she stood in Preston station in the small hours of a spring morning with the rest of her life beckoning her forward and towards it. Tragically the rest of her life at that point would consist of roughly twenty-four hours. For from the time she boarded the sleeper train in Preston in the small hours of April 6th 1988 until her primary killer drove her away from Larne on the night of the same day that is sadly all she would have left.

TO BE CONTINUED

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten. 

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 24

Blue Lines written by Thaws/Del Naja/Vowles/Marshall/Guerin/Carlton/Bennett/Scott.
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1991

There’s a Train That Leaves Tonight written by Henderson/Sinnott.
Published by Dara Records ©1985

Fog written by Yorke/J. Greenwood/C. Greenwood/O’Brien/Selway.
Published by EMI Music Publishing ©2001

The Keeley Chronicles PART 23

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 still unsolved after 31 years

123. Mar 21st (cropped)

By Keeley Moss

PART 23 - CONTENTS
Chapter 62: A Strange Glow in the Sky
Chapter 63: The Light that Burned So Brightly
Chapter 64: Reaching into the Night
Acknowledgements for Part 23

 

Chapter 62: A Strange Glow in the Sky

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Slow Train Coming: Bath Spa station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Floating out on the tide
Following the river of death downstream
Oh, is it a dream?
There’s a fog along the horizon
A strange glow in the sky
And nobody seems to know where you go
And what does it mean

Art Garfunkel – ‘Bright Eyes’

 

“See you soon! Happy Easter!” were the last words Inga wrote to her parents, in a postcard she sent from London on Saturday April 2nd 1988, four days before she was murdered in Northern Ireland. Although she would speak with them by telephone when she rang them on each of the last four days of her life, those were the very last words she would commit to paper addressed to the two people who brought her into the world and raised her. It is just one of the many tragic facts of Inga’s case that she would not see them soon as she had written. Instead she would never see them or anyone else she knew ever again.

After visiting Cambridge on the following day, April 3rd, Inga returned to London where she caught a connecting train to Oxford. It was there I discovered she made her way by bus to Headington to stay at the youth hostel, steps that I retraced and covered in Parts 21 and 22. The next morning Inga made her way on foot to New Marston where she caught a bus to return to Oxford city centre. On her arrival she made her way back to Oxford train station where she boarded her next train. This time, she was bound for the largest city in the county of Somerset: Bath.

Thirty years on I would continue to retrace the same route when I boarded the train at Oxford and watched from a window as ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’ drifted into the distance. My next stop would turn out to be a nondescript-looking place but one with a great-sounding name – Didcot Parkway. There I had to change trains and wait for the one to Bath Spa. I sat out the short wait in a shelter where myself and the other passengers silently watched as raindrops rattled the plastic shutters. While there I remembered I’d stored in my backpack a banana and yoghurt that I’d taken from the breakfast buffet at the Oxford youth hostel. This would fill the breach for lunch. Not long after, the familiar sound of a shuddering engine and the clattering of tracks could be heard – the train for Bath had arrived.

Due to having had no access to shampoo or conditioner at the youth hostel I couldn’t wash my hair and so had to resort to using the dry shampoo I’d bought in Oxford. That and the fact the rain that didn’t relent all day resulted in my hair being at its absolute worst (which is really saying something). During the train journey I pulled the can of dry shampoo out of my backpack and due to being lost in thought due to the nature of the trip I was on, it didn’t occur to me that spraying a can of dry shampoo on a train in close proximity to other passengers might cause a problem. After several short blasts from the canister I received a short blast myself from the seat behind me as a man who was subjected to several sudden gusts of dry shampoo gasped for breath and swiftly requested I halt my impromptu hair salvage operation. Turning around I apologised profusely before sheepishly sinking back into my seat. Another life lesson learned, I resolved to try being an unobtrusive presence for the remainder of the journey – avoiding gassing anyone else with my dry shampoo would be a start.

Clutching my backpack to my chest I watched as the golden country kingdom of Somerset eased into view. Any minute now I would be in Bath. ‘Another Town, Another Train’ in the words of the song by ABBA. Except Bath isn’t just another town. It’s a unique place rich in Roman history. Suddenly there was an announcement over the intercom, “We will shortly be arriving at Bath Spa. Next station, Bath Spa”.

Stepping off the train and onto the platform with the other passengers I watched as they quickly left me for dust. I hung back, transfixed by the images flashing through my mind of Inga’s arrival in the same station some three decades previously. Having studied a photo of the platform and station as it was in April 1988 I was amazed to see how little had changed. It was as if the frenetic pace of change that had wrought such developments and differences on the rest of the world in the interim had forgotten to include Bath in the supposed pursuit of progress. It was eerie to see how little had changed. It would soon become more eerie still.

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Jumping Someone Else’s Train: Bath Spa station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I made my way along the platform until suddenly I noticed a small tourist centre to my left. Spontaneously entering this quaint-looking kiosk I asked the lady on duty for advice on where to visit in Bath. The only documented evidence Inga had been in Bath was her diary entry, “Decided to go to Bath”. What she actually did while she was there has been sadly lost in the mists of time. But she had gone to Bath, and that was why I was here.

When Inga visited Bath she was on a sightseeing trip as a tourist. So I thought I should ask the lady in the tourist centre at Bath Spa station what was the number-one tourist attraction in Bath, as I guessed that to be the most likely place Inga would have gone to after leaving the station. She replied, “The Roman Baths. It’s the single most must-see place in Bath”. So it was to there I headed next.

 

Chapter 63: The Light That Burned So Brightly

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A little-known photo taken by Inga in Bath, Somerset. Photo: Inga-Maria Hauser ©1988

 

Bright eyes, burning like fire
Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?

Art Garfunkel – ‘Bright Eyes’

 

It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach The Roman Baths on foot. Along the way I came across a sight that instantly struck me as being very familiar. It was a park that had a circular path, trees and wooden huts with buildings encircling it. Having never been to Bath before in my life, and having never even looked at any photos of Bath apart from a photo of the train station which I had included in one of the early parts of The Keeley Chronicles, for a moment I could not understand why this particular scene looked so familiar. But I couldn’t stop looking at it, it just seemed so familiar.

Then suddenly it dawned on me.

Inga.

She had taken a photo capturing this very scene. It had been imprinted on my subconscious mind from the moment I saw it and now the memory of it was being triggered by my unwittingly arriving at the same place. I took several photos of the view from this vantage point and upon later comparing the photos I took with the one Inga took in 1988 it was remarkable to me that, just as I had found at Bath Spa train station, how little had changed after 30 years. But more significant was that I now knew she had been at this exact spot, and given that it was directly along the route to The Roman Baths and roughly five minutes’ from there on foot I felt it even more likely now that she had visited The Roman Baths after all, the place where I had taken a blind gamble on her having been. I listened to Belinda Carlisle’s song ‘Circle in the Sand’ as I walked. The words of this song, a hit single in the UK and Ireland in May 1988, the month after Inga died, provided a fittingly symbolic soundtrack… “Anywhere you go, we are bound together. I begin where you end, some things are forever”.

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The park I stumbled upon where Inga took a photo in on the day she was in Bath.
Photo by Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I would have liked to explore the park but darkness was descending and The Roman Baths wouldn’t remain open for much longer. Plus, I was still going to have to find out how to get all the way from Bath in Somerset to Preston in Lancashire which was halfway up the country, in order to catch the connecting train to Inverness. I had banked on being able to sleep on the train to Scotland as Inga had, otherwise I would have to sleep on a train station bench which would ruin the chronology that I was determined to follow to the letter or at least as much as possible. So I resumed walking and soon reached Bath Abbey. I made my way in and sat on a pew roughly halfway inside the vast stained glass-clad church. It was very grand, very cold and very empty – characteristics that nowadays all churches seem to share.

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Empty Chairs: Bath Abbey. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After a couple of minutes in the abbey I lost interest in it, and so I stepped outside. There was a market in full flow and hordes of people were coming and going, noisily circulating a succession of stalls. But my mind kept returning to the source of the cause… She almost certainly had been in this same place. I was struck by the sight of people walking around seemingly without a care in the world. They were walking around here where Inga had almost certainly once been and life was carrying on as normal – except she had spent the past thirty years in a grave and her killers had spent the interim living, working, procreating. And getting. Getting a home. Getting their hole. Getting away on holiday. Getting away with murder. Where is the justice in that? That cannot be right. And this cannot go on.

 

Chapter 64: Reaching Into the Night

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Feel Flows: In the underground caves at The Roman Baths. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Is it a kind of a shadow?
Reaching into the night
Wandering over the hills unseen
Or is it a dream?
There’s a high wind in the trees
A cold sound in the air
And nobody ever knows when you go
And where do you start
Oh, into the dark

Art Garfunkel – ‘Bright Eyes’

 

I stood for a few moments in the courtyard of Bath Abbey. It was getting dark. Next I headed for the entrance to The Roman Baths. I paid for a ticket and went inside. It was full of historical exhibits of ancient archaeology and led into a large underground area of tunnels and dark spaces. I wandered through the museum and the baths trying to ‘get into it’ and experience it like any other tourist visiting here for the first time but all I could think of was her. The thought of her being here and her every step unwittingly leading her ever closer to disaster across the water just a couple of days later. I then entered some sort of steam room that had archaeological significance. My having arrived so close to closing time meant there was no one else around. Suddenly out of nowhere I started crying. The emotional intensity involved in retracing her footsteps was now really beginning to bite.

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The Same Deep Water As You: The Roman Baths. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I walked through another underground tunnel and there in a dark corner lay a number of carved stone exhibits. Just past these was a large computer screen that gave a presentation about something called the Bath Curse Tablets. Curse tablets I would learn are small metal sheets inscribed with curses against specific people and were used in popular magic throughout the Roman world. These tablets dated from the second to fourth centuries A.D. However the inscriptions on the tablets were not published in full until – of all years – 1988, by the historian Roger Tomlin. One particular inscription immediately stood out to me. It read:

Do not allow sleep or health to him who has done me wrong…

The words struck me as being eerily-appropriate.

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The Writing’s On the Wall: Bath Curse Tablet. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The words “Do not allow sleep or health to him who has done me wrong” had echoes of something else in relation to Inga. In her rendition of the ancient English folk song ‘Greensleeves’ Inga sang the words, “You do me wrong, to cast me off discourteously”. As I stood in The Roman Baths where she had likely visited two days before she was murdered I thought of what she might think if she was aware of all that had happened – and more to the point, all that hadn’t happened – since the night she was murdered. I think it’s reasonable to assume that in the event of there being such a thing as heaven, and if Inga is ‘up there looking down’ as some say, she would have to be horrified at how things have turned out. That her murder would remain unsolved 31 years on at the time of writing. That those responsible for her attack and murder would all these years later still not have yet seen the inside of a courtroom let alone a prison cell. That her dad would die without seeing justice and without ever getting to be aware of any of the developments in his daughter’s case that have occurred in recent years. That her mother would succumb to a very serious illness, denying her the chance to be able to comprehend the significant developments in her daughter’s case and that would entail her being unable to ever comprehend justice being done, if and when justice is done. That Inga’s reputation would at one point be dragged through the mud with a sordid slew of scurrilous allegations being concocted to form the basis of tabloid articles. In the light of all that, if her spirit was somehow aware of all that has happened – and that hasn’t happened – since 1988 how could she be anything other than horrified? How could anyone ‘Rest in peace’ in those circumstances?

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History: Archaeological stone exhibit at The Roman Baths. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After leaving The Roman Baths I made my way back to the train station. It had been a long day, and it was set to be an even longer night. Since waking in Oxford at 7am in the morning, I had already been to Oxford city centre, New Marston, Headington, Didcot Parkway, Bath Spa and The Roman Baths. My next destination was Bristol, where Inga had had a very short stopover in the process of making a train connection on her way to the North of England. However in Bath Spa station upon my making enquiries at the ticket office regarding the various options I had of reaching Preston and travelling towards Inverness that night, I encountered an unpleasant member of rail staff named Marek who berated me when he learned I was basically making up my travel plans as I went along. This same member of rail staff informed me that it would be “impossible” to make the sleeper train to Inverness with my only leaving Bath at 7pm in the evening. He also said my Interrail pass would not be enough for me to travel on the sleeper train anyway. It turned out that all seats on the sleeper train need to be specifically reserved, which was something I was not aware of beforehand. Furthermore he claimed that all of the seats on the sleeper train appeared to be fully booked-up so reserving me a seat would not be possible. “And why do you want to go to Preston anyway? And what the hell are you doing going all the way to Inverness?!” he unhelpfully whined. In the spirit of Inga I decided to gamble and set off for Bristol anyway…

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&© 2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 23

This instalment is dedicated to Lyra McKee, whose cowardly murder by dissident republicans during a riot in Derry occurred as I was completing this part of the blog. Lyra was a friend, author, fearless journalist and beacon for LGBT people everywhere. I met her through my work on Inga’s case and will always remember her as the most happily-in-love person I ever had the pleasure to meet. I have her to thank for putting me in touch with George Caskey and for her kind offer to pass on the manuscript of my book to one of her publishers. RIP Lyra xxxx

Photography by Inga-Maria Hauser ©1988 & Keeley Moss ©2018

Bright Eyes written by Mike Batt. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC ©1979

The Keeley Chronicles PART 22

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 22 - CONTENTS
Chapter 59: The City of Dreaming Spires
Chapter 60: Heading on to Headington
Chapter 61: Late in the Day
Acknowledgements for Part 22

 

Chapter 59: The City of Dreaming Spires

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Moonlight Medicine: A rainy night in Oxford. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

And she will always carry on
Something is lost
Something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change
Some stay the same

Keep beckoning to me
From behind that closed door

The Pretenders – ‘Hymn to Her’

 

After arriving in London in the early morning I made my way from Gatwick Airport onto the rail network and from there across the city to King’s Cross where I switched onto the London Underground. After exiting the byzantine maze of the underground network and spending a few hours exploring the Baron’s Court and Charing Cross areas it began raining more and more heavily until it became a full-on torrential rainstorm. By this point it was now dark, and I realised it was time to leave the capital and head for where I hoped to stay for the night: Oxford, where I had booked to stay in the youth hostel. Just as Inga had on the night she was here, April 4th 1988.

But London is so big, and its rail network so sprawling, that to get to Oxford from the part of London I was in would require going from Baron’s Court tube station to Earls Court on the Piccadilly Line before having to cross over onto the District and Circle Line and then take a tube to Paddington tube station before exiting the underground again and leaving behind the quizzical looks from the staff at my Interrail pass and following a short walk through Westminster, entering the mainline rail network at London Paddington from where I would catch the evening train to Oxford, passing through the Berkshire towns of Slough and Reading en route.

It had been a whistle-stop day, and all on precisely zero sleep the night before, but I had never felt more alive, nor flooded with more energy and purpose. However at the same time a sad-eyed sense of melancholia was never far from my heart. I knew why I was here. Retracing her steps, thirty years on. So far the trip had been a case of grappling with very conflicting emotions. On the one hand, excitement at being in new and unfamiliar places. And doing so alone only heightened the sense of adventure, of having to live on my wits and rely on no one else as I attempted to navigate the complex maze of rail links and transport connections unique to London that is so unlike my native Dublin with its mere two railway lines by comparison. On the other hand, everywhere I went in London the air seemed to hang heavy with poignancy. But was it something I tuned into because Inga’s case and untold story is something I’ve been living day and night for the past few years? Or was I mistaken due to being so wrapped up in this and am I possibly now incapable of perceiving anything through an Inga-less prism? I wasn’t sure. Thirty years had passed since 1988, the world has changed in so many ways during that time, and yet… As the saying goes, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’. Justice in this case remains a frustratingly-elusive pursuit, for a number of years now it’s been in the PSNI’s words “Tantalisingly close” – and indeed a resolution is currently closer than ever before but still at the time of writing it remains one step beyond.

As I stood in the vast expanse of Paddington station where Inga had herself stood on a bright spring day in 1988 blissfully-oblivious to the horror that hovered ever closer, I felt a combination of sorrow and hope flow through my bones. I don’t consider myself a particularly spiritual person, and perhaps my sleepless state was making me a tad more delirious than usual, but I’d had a feeling all day that was simply indescribable. I couldn’t be sure what it meant, if anything. I’ve followed my heart with this ever since I first came across Inga’s case and was drawn to it like the fabled moth to a flame, and the subsequent bewildering odyssey has been as much of a journey of discovery for me as it has been for the readers of this blog. Where it’s going to end up, I don’t know. I hope, with justice for Inga, like we all do. But as I wrote at the close of Part 21, if the last week of Inga’s life was all about journeys, and her incredibly-complex and remarkably-enduring unsolved case has been a journey in every sense, then this is a journey that needs a final destination.

My own destination as I left London that evening in the process of retracing Inga’s steps was the place Victorian poet Matthew Arnold had termed “The city of dreaming spires” after the architecture of its university buildings. Oxford, with its famous postcode as namechecked in the song ‘OX4’ by the group Ride. Oxford, home town of the mighty Radiohead, Supergrass and the aforementioned Ride. Suddenly after ninety minutes or so the train began to slow to a stop. The doors opened and I stepped onto the platform of the same station Inga had arrived at on April 4th 1988. For a few moments I stood there blinking under the harsh sparkle of the sodium lights while trying to picture her arrival at this same station all those years ago. When she stepped off the train here, she was at her most ebullient, having just spent a joyously lighthearted few days sightseeing and exploring London and Cambridge. For a free spirit such as Inga the first flush of real independence that her backpacking trip involved provided precisely the sort of adventure she had yearned for back in Haidhausen.

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This is Oxford: The train station pictured on arrival. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

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She’s Like the Wind: Of all the things to be advertised on the Oxford station platform when I was there – a theatrical production of 1988’s biggest movie. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I left the platform and made my way through Oxford station. With every motion, in every moment she was there at the back of my mind, hovering in my thoughts. Every step I took was accompanied by the awareness that she had strode the same steps. Except where she had done so unconsciously, purely concerned with getting from A to B, I was doing so with the incessant presence of her memory casting its inescapable shadow. I walked through the exit of the train station and made my way towards the youth hostel which was situated approximately five minutes away on foot.

YHA Oxford. Here it was. Here I was. I went inside and checked in. I was led to a dormitory that I was to share with three other women, all of whom it turned out were older than me. Having been the last of them to make my booking there, there was only the top bunk bed remaining but I didn’t mind. This was a spiritual mission during which any comfort would be a luxury. I would have slept anywhere. I was anticipating literally sleeping anywhere the next night, if at all, when I would have to take the sleeper train to Inverness. So I was not fazed by the prospect of sleeping in a bunk bed in a dormitory with three strangers. I was intent on doing whatever it took to research my book to the fullest extent and in the process honour the spirit of Inga’s 1988 backpacking trip.

I made my introductions and soon fell into conversation with the other women in the dorm. The oldest of them in particular had an interesting backstory. She was in the process of taking her ex-husband to court to try to win a large proportion of the assets that had been accrued during the time they were married and while she was waiting for the case to reach court she was living in the youth hostel. This woman had seemingly spent much of her life living in hostels and knew a great deal about the history of Oxford youth hostels in particular. When I explained to her why I was staying there, that I was retracing the steps of a special person who had been murdered thirty years before and who I had spent the previous three years writing about and campaigning on behalf of her unsolved case, she informed me that while the YHA was the original youth hostel that had been in existence since the 1930s the actual location had changed a number of times over the years. When I enquired specifically as to where it had been located in 1988, she was able to tell me not only where it was located, but that she herself had stayed there that very year. She had no recollection of Inga however, who like myself had only stayed for one night at Oxford YHA. But this woman directed me to the staff on duty at the hostel, two women named Belen and Noemi who were so helpful in providing me with key information that revealed the history of the YHA replete with photographs of the building as it looked in the 1980s and the name of the hostel manager who presided over it at the time Inga stayed there.

The next morning I rose soon after dawn in order to catch breakfast in time which as is typical for hostels and hotels was set to finish very early in the morning. I chose a number of items from the buffet and sat down beside a large group of students from whose accents I could tell just happened to be from Germany of all countries. I soon struck up a conversation with several of them. I couldn’t resist asking if they were from Munich (they weren’t) and mentioning the reason I was there. But none of them had ever heard of Inga. Mindful as I was that I would be on the road, and rails, all day and due to having to embark on a succession of rail journeys that would take me from the Thames Valley to the Scottish Highlands I might not get a chance to eat for many hours, I resolved to avail of as much food as I could from the breakfast buffet. To be honest I went back and forth to the buffet several times and by the time the canteen had emptied I had stuffed myself. It was just then that I remembered the words Inga had written in her diary in the same youth hostel in the same city thirty years earlier: “Went to Oxford. Stayed at the youth hostel. Ate too much!” And here I was in the very same place doing exactly the same thing without even realising it. What was going on here?

After breakfast I decided to spend some time in the library that was situated near the canteen. There was no one else in there so I had the place to myself. When I approached the book shelves to browse the titles available, I was struck by the sight of several books and travel guides written in German. It seemed that everywhere I turned there was some reminder of Inga. Always absent, and yet somehow present.

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Read it in Books: German-language tomes in the youth hostel’s library. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Soon I was back in the dorm, packing my backpack and bidding the staff farewell before stepping out into the drizzle that fell from the slate-grey skies above. That morning in Oxford I felt such an odd combination of feelings, something that would persist and gradually intensify over the course of the four days I spent retracing Inga’s steps. Excited. Haunted. Determined. Melancholy. Accompanied by a lingering longing. It all made for a heady brew of emotional elixirs.

Next I visited a mall in the city centre where I bought various toiletries such as dry shampoo in an ill-fated attempt to control my ever-troublesome hair which the wind and rain would play havoc with over much of my ensuing time in the UK. Then I paid a trip to the city library, all the while wondering if Inga had done likewise during her stay in the same city. As much as I know about her movements there are some things she didn’t elaborate on very much in either her diary or the postcards she sent to friends and her parents where her journeys were concerned. “Went to Oxford. Stayed at the youth hostel. Ate too much!” That was it. Those eleven words were the sum total of all I had to go on where trying to trace her movements in “The city of dreaming spires” was concerned. But those eleven words would have to do. And indeed they would do. After all, they had taken me this far – and the remaining words she had written while she was in the UK would take me a lot further.

 

Chapter 60: Heading on to Headington

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Going Blank Again: The author en route to Inga’s original youth hostel on the outskirts of Oxford. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Where did you go?

Well she’s gone to meet her maker
Back to where she came from

She took her life within her hands
She took her life within her own two hands

And I believe in you
I believe in you

Eurythmics – ‘Angel’

 

From Oxford I travelled to Headington, a large residential area several kilometres to the east of the city. With my backpack on my shoulders I ran to catch the number 8 bus in the centre of Oxford bound for New Marston, hopping on board seconds before it took off. During the journey I gazed out the window at the streets and suburbs, the fields and the foliage, as droplets of rain trickled down the window pane, all the while conscious of where I was going and why. I’d asked the bus driver to let me know when we reached New Marston as I didn’t have a clue where I was going and thankfully she remembered to holler just in time for me to heed her call. And so it was that I stepped onto the rain-soaked soil of New Marston on this grey and rainy afternoon in Oxfordshire. From there I walked a short distance before arriving in Headington, and from there it was only another short walk until I found myself at the bottom of Jack Straw’s Lane. The relevance of this location to Inga has never been disclosed before. But it is here, at the very top of this long street where 32 Jack Straw’s Lane is situated. And it was here where Inga had slept in a bed for the very last time, on the night of Monday April 4th 1988. From 1936 until 2001 this was the location of the Oxford YHA (youth hostel). Nowadays the building is divided into two sections, one section of which is a day nursery run by the University of Oxford. When I reached the building, I spoke with staff in both sections of the building, none of whom were aware of Inga’s case let alone that the building in which they were now working had a poignant connection to a special person who had been murdered only a couple of nights after she’d stayed there thirty years ago.

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Endless Road: The author at Jack Straw’s Lane, Headington, Oxfordshire. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Standing outside the building I had a clear view of the rooms on the second floor that had in 1988 been dormitories, one of which Inga had stayed in. It was a very emotional moment. I was struck by the thought that when she stayed here, and slept here, and possibly dreamed here, she was in the midst of the happiest time of her life. But that that would come shuddering to a grinding halt a mere two nights later when what her mother Almut had described as “Her greatest dream” would give way to what is any woman’s worst nightmare. And now here I was thirty years on, in possession of all of the hindsight but hamstrung by the inability to go back in time. It was intensely frustrating to stand there, in the same spot she had once stood, armed with the knowledge that could have altered the course of her life and the lives of many others but it being an impossible task to act on that knowledge due to the fact it concerned events that had occurred so long ago. I stood looking up at those windows for some time.

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Red Brick Dream: The author in front of the original YHA building in Headington, Oxfordshire. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The rain was falling more heavily now so after one last look I turned to leave. As sad and ultimately frustrating as it had felt to be there, I was glad I had come. I was going to do it right, or not at all. Walking back down Jack Straw’s Lane towards New Marston was an eerie and intense experience. You see, I knew she had taken these same steps thirty years ago. It’s a one-way lane so there was no other way to reach the bus stop that would take her back into Oxford and towards the train station. At the outset of this trip I had resolved to “retrace her footsteps” but even at that point I did not envisage myself literally retracing her exact steps. At that moment I was again struck by a feeling that was simply indescribable. It was beginning to dawn on me that this day and the subsequent days and journeys were probably going to be on a whole different emotional level than even the three previous tumultuous years I had spent working on Inga’s case and my gradually discovering and communicating her untold story to the wider world.

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Down That Road: Jack Straw’s Lane, Headington, Oxfordshire. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 61: Late in the Day

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Another Time: A still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s movements that depicts the girl who portrayed Inga about to alight the train from London at Oxford station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2019

 

This night these memories lost and found
Are taking over me
I could see your picture and hear the sound
Of the song you sung to me

You gotta feel and take every chance
You did the right thing
A road a thousand miles away
Out of trace and in another time
You did the wrong thing
Why’s life so unkind?

For always and ever it’s getting better
I feel your steps with mine
I’m moving on like it said in the letter
Another place, another time

Ride – ‘1000 Miles’

 

Arriving back in Oxford city centre, I headed straight for the train station. Drifting through the station building as the hordes swarmed around, I saw a sea of people wading through the day on their way to wherever it was they’d be found. Once again with my brain beset by visions of her walking through this same place in 1988, a blur of blonde hair and blue jeans with a head full of dreams.

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People pass along the way: Oxford railway station, main concourse. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

My next destination was Bath, which would necessitate a change of trains at Didcot Parkway. To fill time while I waited for the train, I sought out a couple of rail staff and once I had established their familiarity with the working practises at Oxford station in the relevant time period of 1988, I conducted an impromptu interview there and then. From them I learned that the subway where Inga had entered from the platform in order to make her way from Oxford station to the high street had since been boarded up and had only a few months prior to my arrival been filled in with concrete. The location of the former subway entrance however was still visible and is situated directly behind the staircase of the bridge that had been erected to replace the subway Inga had walked through. After finishing the interview I thanked them both and passed through the barrier with the aid of my trusty Interrail pass. What happens now?

I stood there on the platform listening to music. My train was due to arrive in a few minutes. Then all of a sudden I started crying. It was the first time during the retracing of Inga’s steps that this had happened. Why was it happening here, and why now? It was such a nondescript scene. A railway platform in south central England on a grey, wet afternoon. But she had stood here, and she’d gotten off and on a train here. This station formed a link in the fateful and ultimately fatal sequence of events that followed.

And it was here that even after all these years I could sense a trace of sorrow and longing hanging in the Oxfordshire air.

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Leave Them All Behind: The station platform Inga arrived at and the next day left Oxford from as it appears today. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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As It Is: The location of the former subway entrance at Oxford station as it appears today. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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When It Was: A still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s movements that depicts the girl who skilfully portrayed Inga entering the subway at Oxford station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2019

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–—————————————————-

Acknowledgements for Part 22

Hymn to Her written by Meg Keene. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC ©1986

Angel written by Stewart/Lennox Published by D ‘n’ A Ltd./BMG Music Publishing Ltd. ©1989

1000 Miles written by Mark Gardener. Published by Ride Music LLP/EMI Music ©1994

Thanks to Noemi Sanchez and Belen Campos at YHA Oxford for going above and beyond the call of duty.

The Keeley Chronicles PART 21

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 21 - CONTENTS
Chapter 55: Walking In Your Footsteps
Chapter 56: Planning the Trip
Chapter 57: London
Chapter 58: Leave the Capitol
Acknowledgements for Part 21

 

Chapter 55: Walking In Your Footsteps

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Already Gone: A still from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s case. The young woman playing the part of Inga can be seen here to the right of the picture, carrying Inga’s actual backpack and other belongings as she makes her way towards the platform in the process of catching a British Rail train

 

I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled
These city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

U2 – ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’

 

I can’t remember the exact moment it first occurred to me. But at some point towards the end of 2018 the idea popped into my mind, and once it had I couldn’t shake it loose. Gradually over a period of months the initial idea congealed into a firm plan. For anyone familiar with this case, Inga was murdered on the night she arrived in Northern Ireland. But her visit to “the North” as it is most commonly referred to by people in my home city of Dublin was only supposed to be brief, she had planned to travel on to Dublin the next day, ahead of a meeting in Wales a couple of days later, and was expected back in school in Munich very soon after that. For years the extent of Inga’s unfulfilled potential has gnawed away at me. But the abrupt and brutal ending of her path through life isn’t the only journey that was so prematurely curtailed. The other, more immediate journey denied to her is the one she was in the process of completing when she was killed. Larne to Belfast. Belfast to Dublin. And beyond. A fact that had sat uncomfortably in the back of my mind for as long as I’ve been writing and campaigning on her behalf. A journey incomplete. A mission unfulfilled. On the night of April 6th 1988 when she was killed, her plans were just left hanging in the air, with no resolution, no ending. And that bothered me until I got the idea to try to complete that mission.

But I wanted to go further. And start where she had, all those years ago. It would mean retracing her steps. It would mean going to London. And travelling on to Oxford. Then to Bath. Then onto the train stations of Bristol, Liverpool and Preston before venturing to the Scottish highlands of Inverness before making train connections at two separate Glasgow stations before a further rail connection at Ayr, then going on to Stranraer and catching a ferry to Larne in Northern Ireland. And then, attempting to complete the part of the journey where Inga ran into disaster, by trying to get to Belfast, and then moving on to Dublin. I work every weekend in Dublin, and would have to try to fit this epic trek into a four-day period. So I wouldn’t be able to try go on to Cardiff or Munich. But I felt that if I could retrace the last four days of Inga’s life, and complete a couple of extra legs of the journey that she never got to, then that would be a fitting, living tribute to her inspiration. I also envisaged it providing me with a key insight into aspects of her trip, that would expand my understanding of exactly how far she had travelled and to see and hear with my own eyes and ears just what she had had to go through to get as far as she had on the night she was murdered. I felt that in turn this would benefit the book I’m writing about her life and the case. And I got that. But I got more. A lot more. Little did I know when starting out just how close to the flame I would get.

Over the next twelve months I’m planning on sharing the story of this spiritual mission here. Before I left for the trip, I anticipated covering it in the blog over one or two parts. But on returning in early December and sifting through the amount of material that I gathered on my travels I realised that I would have to devote an instalment to each leg of the journey. There ended up being 25 legs in all, so even with compressing the journey as concisely as possible it would take a minimum of a dozen parts of the blog to tell the story. Each instalment of this blog takes approximately one month to write and edit, simultaneously while working on completing my book on Inga’s life story and the complete history of her unsolved case while holding down a day job (that is unrelated to my work on Inga’s case) in the meantime. So another twelve parts of this blog will take approximately twelve months. But my passion for this person and her cause is such that it wouldn’t deter me even if it would take twelve years. Being a very passionate person, whenever I’m committed to something, I go all-out.

I did consider not posting the story of my retracing Inga’s steps. I know that doing so will potentially make me a target for a troll or two out there. But you know what? Bring it on. I have yet to let leeches limit my life, and I’m not going to start now. Not with the fire that burns like a furnace inside me. So I’m going to do this, and will approach it with the same spirit I approached the backpacking trip with. Which is I believe the same spirit Inga approached her own backpacking trip with. And come what may. Because the way I see it, if Inga can inspire me to write songs and this blog and to follow in her footsteps, if she can inspire John Dallat MLA in the way she does, if she can inspire Oliver McParland to paint her magnificent portrait (see Part 19), if she can inspire poets such as Clare McCotter and Colin Sloan (see Part 15), if she can command the compassion and respect of practically the entire community of North Antrim then ultimately she lives on. And in this regard it could be said she is more alive than her killers, who I don’t see inspiring anyone. For Inga is no longer a footnote in the dusty annals of faded newspapers, she has risen to become an increasing source of inspiration for the living.

As I quoted at the beginning of Part 19, as Bob Dylan once said, “The highest purpose of art is to inspire”. Well, if that is true, and I believe it is, so it follows that the highest purpose of life is to inspire. Therefore it stands to reason that the more Inga inspires, the more of a presence she has in the modern-day world. If what happened to her had happened to me at the age of 18, and if I’d had the choice of being an inspirational icon or not, I would definitely prefer the former to the latter, regardless of the fact I wouldn’t have been around to see it. We can’t bring Inga back to life, and we may not be able to put her killers behind bars. But I can take the inspiration she fuels in me, and use it to think outside the box and try unorthodox things, like publishing the audio of Greensleeves which if my plan had worked could have seen to it that Inga would have played a crucial role in solving her own case, with her own voice that had been silenced on that Spring night in 1988. Inga was very artistic, I’m artistic as well and so I try to honour the spirit of her artistic nature by resorting to artistic means to try keep her dream alive. And what was that dream? In the words of her mum Almut, “Her greatest dream was to travel to Great Britain during the school holidays”.

So, that’s what I was going to do. I would go to the UK and try to honour the spirit of her 1988 trip in as many ways as possible. And try to complete the parts of the journey Inga was prevented from doing. It was something my soul needed to see through. And while it was still 2018 I felt it was even more imperative. Thirty years on from 1988. I would buy an Interrail ticket. I would travel alone. I would stay in the youth hostel in Oxford just as she had. I would sleep on the train to Inverness just as she had. I would try to stay in a hostel when I got to Belfast. I would go wherever, and do whatever was necessary to retrace her steps to the letter. London. Oxford. Bath. Cambridge. London again. Bristol. Liverpool. Preston. Inverness. Glasgow. Ayr. Stranraer. Larne. Belfast. Dublin. Oh, and Cairnryan (which is in Stranraer, and where the ferries to Larne depart from nowadays). In the space of four days.

To the naked eye it might appear a crazy schedule. But one advantage I had is that I knew it was possible. Because Inga had done it, or most of it anyway, and she would have completed it had she been able to. At the outset the thing I was most concerned about was what I felt was a very strong possibility that I would miss at least one of the vital train connections along the way, and that this would screw up my plans, and would see me arrive late back in Dublin, where I had to be back to start a work shift in the suburbs of the city on the Saturday afternoon. My biggest flaw is unpunctuality, something that I have to work at constantly to be better at. Part of the reason for it is my incurable positivity, and thinking I can overcome ludicrous odds to get anywhere at any time. And because I’ve been proved right about that on so many occasions, against all odds, I tend to pack too much into a day, and leave myself with too much to do before I have to be somewhere else. Anyway, I’m working on it but I suspect it’s going to be a lifelong grapple. But in the context of this backpacking trip that was going to involve a huge amount of train journeys, not to mention a ferry crossing, in a relatively short timeframe, I felt I was possibly biting off more than I could chew. I thought there was a good chance I would get stranded in Scotland, or Northern Ireland, and be a no-show at work and possibly get the sack. But I’ve never allowed reality to get in the way of a dream, so I basically decided to sod the consequences and hit the open road.

In doing so I would gain the necessary insight to be able to describe Inga’s movements in the detail I want to be able to in the course of writing the first book about her life and the case. Because I couldn’t rely on received wisdom. Well, I could but I didn’t want to. I thought I’d be short-changing people if I wrote the book and said, “Maybe…” such-and-such, or “Perhaps it was like…” such-and-such. Whilst I obviously wouldn’t be able to return to 1988, and would have to do it in the present day, I would discover that in actual fact, not much had changed since 1988 in many of the places Inga had been in, certainly less than I was expecting. Basically, to quote a half-malapropism of Brian Clough during his infamously ill-fated spell in charge of Leeds United, “I wanted to see with my own eyes and ears”.

Speaking of Bob Dylan, he wrote a song once called ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’. In Dylan’s case it referred to his born-again Christianity. But in my case the cause I want to serve is Inga’s. John Dallat MLA has the exact same motivation, and he’s every bit as dogged and passionate as I am. And I now know that a great many people out there to one extent or another share that interest, many of whom are regular readers of this blog. It’s what I’ve decided to do with my life. Where it’s all going to end up, I don’t know. But to me that’s what life is all about. The journey. And it’s what the last week of Inga’s life was all about. Journeys. From the Hook of Holland to Harwich. From Stranraer to Larne. From Larne to Ballypatrick Forest. From a brave young life to an horrific death. And it could be said that that’s what her unsolved case is about. Journeys. From the past to the present. From invisibility to inspiration. From creation to destruction, and ultimately back to creativity via a strange kind of alchemy.

I should point out that this has nothing whatsoever to do with publicity. Before I left Dublin I only told a few relatives and a handful of close friends about my backpacking trip and the plans I had to retrace Inga’s footsteps, and nobody else. I posted nothing about it in advance on social media, and even when I did start posting about it on my Instagram and Facebook accounts at no point did I explain what I was actually doing, I just shared photos as I went along and left it up to my friends on Facebook to guess what I was doing and why. I was glad I did in the end, as the messages and supportive comments I got from friends (many of whom had by now twigged what I was in the process of trying to achieve) provided some solace over the four days and nights I spent travelling alone all over England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

However it never occurred to me to notify any press in advance. Perhaps I should have, it may have gained Inga’s case another bit of press coverage. But it never occurred to me until several days after I arrived home, and by then I thought it would be too late. Contrary to what a couple of idiots out there think, I have never been motivated by seeking press coverage. On the two occasions that I’ve been asked to appear on a BBC show in connection with Inga’s case, I’ve had hassle afterwards. This hasn’t happened with any of the regional press or print media that my work has been featured in, rather this has only happened after appearing on mainstream shows such as The Nolan Show or Spotlight. Sadly it goes with the territory of mainstream media exposure. I have never sought mainstream media coverage, being as I am an indie/underground girl at heart, but I’ve been approached to participate in these sorts of shows on occasion and if I think it’s something that can help Inga’s case then I’m willing to do it.

Press coverage is not my motivation for anything but apparently some people who have never had press coverage themselves perceive it as some sort of life-changing prize. On the contrary I’ve had press coverage in my native Republic of Ireland (completely unrelated to Inga) on and off for the past twenty years, and it has never made the blindest bit of difference to my life. It’s purely an illusion that it does, and too many people watching too many TV shows are I believe mistaken in regarding it as some sort of glamorous trophy. The reality is a horse of a different colour. Ironically I don’t even own a TV let alone watch any. Anyway, anyone who knows me knows that I had zero expectations when I started this blog. I’d never met anyone in the South who had even heard of Inga’s case, so at that time it never occurred to me that anyone would share my passion and fascination for her case and her cause. It’s heartening that I’ve since been proved wrong in that respect, in the way people of all ages and backgrounds in all sorts of places around the world have responded.

Speaking of all sorts of places, so far over the course of The Keeley Chronicles I have taken the readers to Larne. To Belfast. To Ballypatrick Forest. To Stormont. And most recently, to Glasgow. But this…this backpacking trip, this Interrailing odyssey would mean delving deeper. And arguably darker. It would mean going to places – and I don’t just mean geographically – that would provide some of my stiffest challenges yet. There were certain places that in advance I expected I’d be very emotional at, but that turned out to not be the case. And then there were other places that I didn’t expect to be emotional at, where in fact I was, very much so in one particular place. And there were things I experienced during the course of my backpacking trip retracing Inga’s steps that I wouldn’t have expected in a million years. All that will be covered in later instalments.

 

Chapter 56: Planning the Trip

Keeley Interrail ticket

Ticket to Ride: The author’s Interrail pass. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Every chance
Every chance that I take
I take it on the road

David Bowie – ‘Always Crashing in the Same Car’

 

Once I’d decided I had to do this, I set about making plans. As fate would have it, on the very week that I got the idea for retracing Inga’s steps, the bookstore where I work received a consignment of schoolbags from our warehouse. As soon as I clasped eyes on one it occurred to me that it would make an ideal backpack. In a further odd synchronicity, it was blue, and what’s more a very similar colour blue as the backpack Inga carried through the UK in 1988. So I bought that, and then bought a nice new diary to jot down all the details of the train connections I planned to make. In the diary I also planned to write an account of the trip, just for myself, to keep a record of things as they happened and as something I could store away and perhaps read through some years from now. Next I visited several travel websites, assessing routes to take and basically getting some sort of grasp of the UK rail network which, what with my being Irish and never having lived in the UK, I had little knowledge of.

Then I went to buy my Interrail ticket. Like Inga, I’d never been on a backpacking trip before this one. And had never travelled by Interrail either. So it was all new, and equal parts exciting and haunting. Those mixed feelings – excitement at seeing so many new and unfamiliar places, and haunted by the particular footsteps I was planning to retrace – was something which would intensify over the course of the trip, and would eventually threaten to engulf the trip altogether. This was something I sensed in advance and caused me to feel a certain amount of trepidation about. I knew the whole experience was going to be, for want of a better word, heavy. But I thought I would be pretty well prepared for that. I have lived the details of this case every day of the past three years. How much harder would it be to actually be in all of these places in the same sequence Inga was in them? I didn’t know the answer to that, but one particular leg of the trip gave me the creeps. And not the obvious ones at all. No, I wasn’t in the slightest bit concerned about Larne, or the ferry crossing. I wasn’t actually concerned about my safety anywhere. However on a purely emotional level there was one particular leg of the journey that struck me as being potentially overwhelming: the overnight train trip to Inverness. The thought of (what turned out to be) a twelve-hour train trip through the most remote outposts in the British Isles, chugging upwards over mountainous terrain into the highlands of Scotland in the small hours of the morning, on my own, reliving one of the last journeys made by Inga thirty years ago…Something about the thought of that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Next I purchased a flight to London and a ferry ticket to Larne from P&O, as Sealink the shipping operator that Inga sailed with in 1988 was some years ago taken over by Stena and Stena no longer run a passenger service to Larne. Then I booked in advance to stay a night in the youth hostel in Oxford. I’d be staying in a dormitory, which for a private person like I am wouldn’t be what I would normally choose, but I was determined to honour the spirit of Inga’s trip and follow it to the letter, as much as it was possible to do so. The way I see it, if I’m going to go all the way to Oxford in the course of retracing Inga’s footsteps in order to pay tribute to her, and as research for my book, then it would be a cop-out to book a room in a hotel or a B&B. I would stay in the same place she did, end-of. This was a spiritual mission, a personal pilgrimage, a special thing. I was going to do it right, or not at all.

It only occurred to me a couple of days before I went that I had nowhere in Belfast to stay, so I went online and found a hostel with a bed available. Again it would mean having to share a dorm with a bunch of strangers but that’s exactly what Inga was looking to do had she made it to Belfast.

Typically I left packing to the last minute, having spent the days before I left for the trip too busy to get around to it, and as a result by the time I finished packing it was 4.30am and there was no time to get any sleep, just enough time for a quick breakfast before leaving my flat at 4.45am to go catch the Aircoach to the airport.

And so I was on my way. To begin this mission. Unbeknownst to the handful of people on the Aircoach that morning, one of their fellow passengers was at the outset of an unprecedented travelling odyssey. That morning, as I set off into the drizzle of a Dublin dawn, I wasn’t sure if this crazy trip was going to be possible to navigate in the space of four days. But I needed to try, for the reasons outlined above.

 

Chapter 57: London

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Through the Past, Darkly: A still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction of Inga’s case. The young woman who did a superb job depicting Inga in the documentary (and who bore a striking resemblance to her) is among the throngs of commuters featured here

 

And as the tide flows, the London snows will come
With her cemetery eyes that say
“Oh, how my dark star will rise”
Oh how the dark star will rise

And she will rise

Suede – ‘My Dark Star’

 

After arriving at Dublin airport and tackling the yawning formality of security checks, I boarded the plane and sat in my seat as the minutes ticked down towards departure. But the plane wasn’t going anywhere – due to weather conditions the flights remained grounded on the runway for 90 minutes. Eventually it took off and roughly an hour after that I landed in London, eager to commence my Interrail trip. Needless to say I couldn’t stop thinking of Inga. Imagining her excitement when she arrived in the UK for the first time. Seeing so many things in my mind’s eye.

Arriving in London in the early morning I made my way from Gatwick Airport onto the rail network and from there across the city to King’s Cross where I switched onto the London Underground. Having never used an Interrail ticket before, and having paid €233 including insurance for it, which to my mind is a lot of money but apparently not in comparison with what I’ve since found out is the ludicrous cost of rail travel throughout the UK I assumed that having an Interrail pass allowed me to travel on every train throughout the UK. I didn’t realise that the entire London Underground system was exempt from this! As a result I managed to unwittingly fluke my way onto the tube without a valid ticket in station after station! I had no idea. I got some strange looks from rail staff along the way, some of whom looked at my Interrail pass like it was the most bizarre thing they had ever seen in their life. After arriving at Blackfriars tube station, I went for a walk, thrilled to be in London. Much like Inga, I find it so exciting being abroad in new places, with the thrill of the new and the scent of adventure stirring the senses. The weather wasn’t great – it was windy and would later rain very heavily but just being on this mission felt intensely emotional in a way that is sort of indescribable. I wandered around London, watched a street musician play guitar (he’s there every day and he’s a very gifted guitarist so give him your coins if you pass him by!) and then went for lunch in some random place I walked past and had decided on the spur of the moment to visit. It was a very freewheeling day, my favourite kind. And from all I’ve learned about Inga as a person, her favourite kind as well.

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The Guitar Man: Watching a street musician play in Blackfriars, London. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Then unfortunately my phone died so I couldn’t take as many photos as I would have liked (which will be a recurring theme over the course of the blog posts covering this trip. My days in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were characterised by a near-constant running battle to try to find plug sockets in order to recharge my constantly-dying phone so I could take photos for this blog).

When I returned to Blackfriars station and again attempted to pass through the gate with my Interrail pass, the Thameslink staff member asked to examine my ticket. I confidently handed it over, but after he’d studied it from his mystified expression I thought “Here we go again…” At that point he said he’d have to show it to the station manager. He asked me to remain at the barrier, and off he went. Evidently the manager was unable to solve the mystery either, and so when he returned he told me his manager had never seen such a pass before and that I’d have to take the pass to have it stamped at some kiosk somewhere in the station. After I found the kiosk, it was shut. Great. When it finally opened, the passenger ahead of me in the queue took longer than the Second World War (or so it felt like). When at last I got to present my Interrail pass to the Thameslink rail staff member in the kiosk and told him that I’d been asked to have it stamped by him he looked even more confused than the other station staff. So rather than say that he didn’t know what to do with it he amusingly fudged the issue by humming and hawing and then stamping it with what I later discovered was a totally meaningless stamp! At the time I couldn’t understand why none of the railway staff seemed to recognise what I assumed was a standard Interrail pass, as I would’ve thought that they would see at least a few of these passes every day. “Maybe it’s because I bought it in Dublin, and it’s an Irish version?” I wondered. “Or perhaps Interrail passes have fallen out of fashion since 1988?” I thought, increasingly grasping at straws. What I didn’t know, and only learned later that evening, was that the reason none of the staff recognised it was because clearly no one else with an Interrail pass had ever mistakenly assumed it could be used on the Underground network!

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Passing the afternoon train: Blackfriars tube station, London. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 58: Leave the Capitol

Escalator (Insta Remix)

Going Underground. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Leave the capitol
Exit this Roman shell
Then you know you must leave the capitol

The Fall – ‘Leave The Capitol’

 

After exiting the byzantine netherworld of the underground network and spending some time exploring the Charing Cross area it began raining more and more heavily until it became a full-on torrential rainstorm. By this point it was now dark, and I realised it was time to leave the capital and head for where I hoped to stay for the night: Oxford. Where I had booked to stay in the youth hostel. Just as Inga had on the night she was there, April 4th 1988.

But London is so big, and its rail network so sprawling, that to get to Oxford from the part of London I was in would require going from Baron’s Court tube station to Earls Court on the Piccadilly Line before having to cross over onto the District and Circle Line and then take a tube to Paddington tube station before exiting the underground and leaving behind the quizzical looks from the staff at my Interrail ticket and following a short walk through Westminster, entering the mainline rail network at London Paddington from where I would catch the evening train to Oxford, passing through Slough and Reading en route.

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Station to Station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It had been a whistle-stop blizzard of a day, and all on precisely zero sleep the night before, but I had never felt more alive, nor flooded with more energy, and purpose. But at the same time, a sad-eyed sense of melancholia was never far from my heart. I knew why I was here. Retracing her steps, thirty years on. The whole day was a case of grappling with very conflicting emotions. On the one hand, excitement at being in new and unfamiliar or unusual places. And doing so alone only heightened the sense of adventure, of having to live on my wits and relying on no one else as I attempted to navigate the complex maze of rail links and transport connections unique to London that is so unlike my native Dublin with its mere two railway lines by comparison (one of which goes towards Howth or Malahide, the other of which goes towards Bray or Greystones. That’s it!) But on the other hand, everywhere I went in London the air seemed to hang heavy with poignancy. All the more so because I was only here retracing Inga’s steps because she is unable to do so herself. Thirty years have passed since 1988, the world has changed in so many ways during that time, and yet… As the saying goes, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’. Justice in this case remains a frustratingly-elusive pursuit, for a number of years now it’s been in the PSNI’s words tantalisingly-close and it’s currently closer than ever before but still at the time of writing it remains one step beyond.

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Destination Anywhere: Paddington Station, London. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

But as I stood in the vast expanse of Paddington station, where Inga had herself stood on a bright Spring day in 1988, blissfully-oblivious to the horror that hovered ever closer, I felt a combination of sorrow and hope flow through my bones. I’m not usually a particularly spiritual person, and perhaps my sleepless state was making me a tad more delirious than usual, but I had felt a feeling all day that as I mentioned earlier I found indescribable. I didn’t know what it meant, if anything. I’m still not sure, to be honest. I’ve followed my heart with this from day one all the way back when I first came across Inga’s case and was drawn to it like the fabled moth to a flame, and the subsequent odyssey has been as much of a journey of discovery for me as it has been for the readers of this blog. Where it’s going to end up, I don’t know. I hope, with justice for Inga, like we all do. But as I said earlier, if the last week of Inga’s life was all about journeys, and her incredibly-complex and remarkably-enduring unsolved case has been a journey in every sense, then this is a journey that needs a final destination.

But until then, let there be no doubt

There is a light that never goes out.

 

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Inga-Maria Hauser Inga classic pic better quality

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

 

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Acknowledgements for Part 21

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For written by Hewson/Evans/Clayton/Mullen Jr. Published by Island Music Publishing © 1987

Always Crashing in the Same Car written by David Bowie. Published by Bewlay Bros. S.A.R.L. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tintoretto Music © 1977

My Dark Star written by Anderson/Butler. Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management © 1994

Leave The Capitol written by Smith/Hanley/Riley/Scanlon. Published by Fall Music Publishers Ltd., Cavalcade Music Ltd., BMG Rights Management © 1981

 

The Keeley Chronicles PART 20

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 20 - CONTENTS
Chapter 53: Time Machine
Postscript: Glasgow Central 1988 (A film by Barry Coward)
Acknowledgments for Part 20

 

Chapter 53: Time Machine

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Passing Through Air: Glasgow Central, ground floor. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I’m landing back in this year
Did I ever move?
Did I disappear?

If I could move through time
I’d go back and put it right

Ride – ‘Time Machine’

 

Glasgow is one of the places Inga passed through on what turned out to be the last day of her life, April 6th 1988. Due to her hectic schedule that day, which involved near-constant travel, she had barely seen any of Glasgow, having only gotten to spend approximately ten minutes walking through the city as she made her way from Queen Street station (where she had disembarked from a train) to Central Station where she had to catch her next train connection, one that would take her to Ayr to connect with the boat train to Stranraer, a link in the chain of catastrophe that led to her boarding the Galloway Princess and which would later that night culminate in her murder virtually upon arrival in Northern Ireland.

Once I’d arrived in Glasgow city centre, I resolved to ramble around without the use of a map and just see where I ended up. After roughly an hour of wandering around I suddenly caught sight of Central Station. A huge, imposing-looking building replete with a large archway through which traffic passes, Glasgow Central is the principal mainline rail terminus in the city and is protected as a category ‘A’ listed building. I made my approach to it slowly, conscious of wanting to take it all in. All around me people were going about their daily business, focusing on getting to or from the station, about to embark on the next stage of their respective journeys, their minds solely concerned with the here and the now. But to me, for now, the here and the now was irrelevant – for this was the location that on the early afternoon of April 6th 1988 saw the arrival of a German explorer bristling with artistic potential and transfixed with excitement at the prospect of the culmination of her greatest dream, her imminent arrival on the island of Ireland.

Walking into the ground floor level of the station, my mind consumed by visions I could only imagine, I tried to picture Inga taking these same steps, bearing the weight of her backpack on her tired teenage shoulders as she strode into the building on one of the last legs of her journey – and on the last day of her life. With no idea of what lay before her, and no concept of the horror that would follow. I felt the same feeling that I had at Larne ferry terminal and at Ballypatrick Forest. A feeling that try as I might I just can’t quite describe, a feeling that only music makes sense of in my mind.

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Glasgow Central, ticket office. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I made my way to the ticket office on the ground floor and joined the queue. I wasn’t planning on catching a train. But I wasn’t quite ready to move to the upper level of the station yet. I needed to be here, to feel here. To stand here and soak up the moment. It felt heavy. It always does. But that’s no reason to run from it, no reason to run from the past. The past informs the present. And the present is dependent on learning enough from the past in order to form a better future – or any future at all.

I walked towards the escalators on the other side of the ticket office. Unlike the ones on the far side, these ones would take me to the upper level. I placed my feet onto the escalator and thought of Inga standing in this very same spot. She had definitely stood here, as she entered the station the same way I had, walking in from the street having made her way from Queen Street station. The only way to get to the train she needed to catch was to go to the main concourse on the upper level, and to do that she would have had to take this very same escalator.

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Up the Down Escalator: Going towards the main concourse. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After going up the escalator suddenly I was standing in the main concourse, a far bigger and far brighter section of the building than the level I had just come from, one with natural light rather than the artificial lights down below. I stood there for a moment and looked at the huge expanse before me. She was in my mind’s eye the whole time. 1988. 2018. A feeling of frustration. Taunted by the uselessness of hindsight. The impossibility of turning back the clock, of rewriting history. All we have is now. The future is unwritten. Which makes justice in this case all the more vital. For while we can’t rewrite the past, what we can do is close an open wound, right an ancient wrong, write a better present and form a brighter future in the process.

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Glasgow Central Station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

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Preparing to leave Glasgow Central. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It was from one of these platforms where Inga caught the train to Ayr on the afternoon of April 6th 1988. She was here, she walked right through here on her way not just to Stranraer, not just on to Larne, but to the strangest and cruellest fate, to the darkest and longest tunnel of torment. Perhaps it’s just because I’m so wrapped up in her case, but as I cast one last look around the main concourse of the station, I sensed a strong and lingering sadness, a silence without solace, pain where there should be peace. Inga’s trying to make her way to her next destination, but unlike that fresh Spring day in 1988, she isn’t trying to get to a train station or a ferry terminal. She isn’t looking to get to a hostel to put her head down for the night. Her spirit is surely seeking an end to the longest road of all. She was travelling and exploring then, and in a very different way she is still travelling, still searching, still seeking now. Except unlike in April 1988 she isn’t on her own anymore. I’m by her side. So is John Dallat MLA. So too are thousands of people across County Antrim, and many other people in the 107 countries around the world who I can tell from the analytics section read this blog. And this ‘long march’ will go on for however long it takes.

There is a light that never goes out.

 

Postscript: Glasgow Central 1988 (A film by Barry Coward)

This remarkable nine-minute clip was filmed in 1988 but remained unseen for 25 years until it was posted online in 2013. Belonging to a world that’s gone, it poignantly captures the ambience of Glasgow Central at roughly the same time Inga was there.

 

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

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

 

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Acknowledgements for Part 20

‘Time Machine’ lyrics written by Bell/Colbert/Gardener/Queralt. Published by EMI Music Publishing ©1992

Glasgow Central 1988 © Barry Coward 2013