Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser whose body was found in Ballypatrick Forest in North Antrim 30 years have received a decision today, from the Public Prosecution Service that proceedings will not be taken against two people about whom police had submitted a file of evidence.
However, the senior detective in charge of the murder enquiry has said they will continue to investigate to try and bring the 18 year old’s murderers to justice.
Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray has made a renewed appeal to the public, in particular the local community in North Antrim, as well as people who may have seen her travelling in England, from London northwards and in Scotland, before she embarked on the Stranraer to Larne ferry on April 6 1988.
Inga Maria travelled to Northern Ireland on that date arriving in Larne on a ferry from Scotland. Her body was discovered in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest on the outskirts of Ballycastle on April 20 1988. Police believe that Inga Maria died shortly after she arrived in Northern Ireland and that she was subjected to a vicious and ruthless assault.
Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: “Our thoughts are with Inga Maria’s family today as we know the Public Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute is another difficult milestone in the search for justice for their loved one. This is difficult news for Inga Maria’s family and also for the detectives who have spent many years trying to bring those responsible before the courts. However, this decision does not signify the end of the enquiry for police.”
“We realise that the PPS gave very careful consideration to the file of evidence and we are grateful for the chance we had to present the case to the PPS and Senior Counsel. Indeed we have had a further in depth meeting with the prosecution team at which we received the benefit of their thoughts on the case and the evidence to date. This is extremely useful for me and my team going forward as we continue to investigate Inga Maria’s murder and we will now assess what is the best way to proceed.
“The police have been committed to finding Inga Maria’s killer for over 30 years and whilst not yet meeting the evidential threshold we have made significant progress.
“Unfortunately due to the current health protection regulations, we have been unable to meet with the family as we would normally do, however I was able to discuss this investigation with Inga Maria’s sister Friederike via video conference facility hosted by the PPS earlier today and can reassure her that we remain as committed as ever to bringing Inga Maria’s murderers to justice.
“This has been a huge and complex investigation and has included a long term forensic effort to identify the man whose DNA was recovered from the crime scene and understand how it fits into the case. This has included a mass screening exercise of around 1800 samples taken face to face, extensive work on two occasions with the national database to try and trace the DNA through potential family members of the crime scene material donor, and an international request for other countries to check their databases also.
“Over the years we have watched developments in science and explored them to see if they can benefit this case. We will continue to look at every reasonable opportunity to do this.
“Our commitment to bringing Inga Maria’s murderers to justice has been relentless. Over the 30 years we have spoken to hundreds of potential witnesses, used cutting edge science and made targeted media appeals in Northern Ireland and Scotland to push the enquiry forward. We have taken 2551 statements, written 662 reports, conducted 292 questionnaires, conducted over 400 house to house enquiries, conducted 29 interviews, processed 7400 documents and consulted with specialists in fields from behavourialism to DNA science.
“Inga Maria’s family need to know what happened to her. Her parents both died not knowing who killed their daughter and her sister remains heartbroken.
“I would also make a direct appeal today to the family and friends of the murderer or murderers to come forward. If you are a family member who has information, or who even assisted the killer or killers in the aftermath of the incident, think hard about the impact of all this on Inga’s family and step up and help bring an end to their plight.
“Give us the information we need to take this investigation forward. Ask yourself what you would want people to do if this was your daughter or granddaughter – subjected to a brutal and ruthless assault after arriving in a new country before being killed and left in a forest. Think of the fear and pain she felt, think of her family not having justice. Do the decent thing.”