Northern Ireland

PSNI 'closer than ever' to catching backpacker's killer

Inga Maria Hauser
Image caption Inga Maria Hauser was murdered in April 1988

A detective investigating the murder of a German backpacker in Northern Ireland in 1988 has said police are closer than ever to identifying her killer.

Inga Maria Hauser's body was found in a remote part of Ballypatrick forest on 20 April 1988. Her neck was broken.

The 18-year-old had arrived in Larne in NI on 6 April on a ferry from Scotland.

Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said he could not rule out the possibility that more than one person was involved in her murder.

Police said new strands of work on a DNA profile obtained from the crime scene are being progressed.

The DNA profile belongs to a male person who has not been identified.

Through a DNA screening process, police have been trying to eliminate people from their inquiries by comparing their DNA or familial DNA with the profile.

Screening

Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: "DNA science is evolving rapidly.

"We are now looking at a type of DNA known as Y-STR which refers to the male chromosome. Overall, more than 2,000 samples of various types of DNA have been prioritised and checked.

Image caption Ms Hauser's body was found in Ballypatrick forest near Ballycastle

"Voluntary DNA screening continues and a small number of the analysed samples are inconclusive in ruling people out of our inquiries about the crime scene stain material, so more work needs to be done around these individuals."

DS Murray also said police had a report that a man in the rural area east of Ballymoney was seen soon after the murder with scratches on his face and there had been concern in the community that he was involved in the killing.

He said Ms Hauser had been subjected to a vicious and ruthless assault and is believed to have died shortly after she arrived in Northern Ireland.

Police plan to conduct a new series of house-to-house inquiries in parts of north Antrim in the coming weeks.

"I am asking for information, as opposed to statements or formal evidence," DS Murray said.

"The important thing is that we bring this investigation to a successful conclusion, primarily for Inga Maria and for her family who have suffered too much for too long, but also for the people of north Antrim who will continue to have this lengthening shadow hanging over them until the killer or killers are caught."

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