Inga Maria Hauser murder: Backpacker's nephew hopes for justice

By Conor Spackman
BBC Spotlight

Image source, PSNI/PA
Image caption,
Inga Maria Hauser went missing after she arrived in Larne on 6 April 1988

The nephew of murdered German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser has spoken of his hope that his aunt's killer will be caught.

The 18-year-old was murdered 30 years ago, shortly after she arrived in Northern Ireland.

No one has been convicted of the crime.

Viktor Liebl, and Inga Maria's friend Walter Schreiner, told the BBC's Spotlight programme that they are still hopeful of a breakthrough in the investigation.

Inga Maria came from a family of four made up of her father Josef, mother Almut and elder sister Frederika, who knew her simply as Inga.

Image caption,
Inga Maria and her sister Frederika had a close relationship

Frederika's son, Viktor Liebl, was born after his aunt's murder but grew up in a family which treasured her memory.

He said his grandparents were distraught at losing their youngest child.

"The marriage of my grandparents suffered. They never divorced but they were never the same."

Josef died in 2006 while Almut has dementia and lives in a care home in Austria.

Viktor added: "It's a two-sided sword actually - it's a horrifying disease she has but then she has none of the pain and the memory of her lost child which might be a good thing."

Viktor said his mother, Frederika, was particularly badly affected.

"Siblings always have a little tension around them. But they were really close, even though they were quite different. There is a German saying - ein Herz und eine Seele - one heart, one soul."

Inga was 18 and still at school when she took a solo trip to the UK and Ireland during the Easter break.

She first travelled through England and Scotland.

Image caption,
Inga Maria was backpacking in the UK and Ireland when she was killed

One of Inga's postcards home from England said: "The people here are so helpful and lovely that I can't imagine anything bad could happen to me".

A note in her diary said: "The day after tomorrow I am going on to Ireland. I'm looking forward to that the best."

She arrived in Larne by ferry from Stranraer on 6 April 1988. Two weeks later, her body was found by a sheep farmer in remote Ballypatrick Forest near Ballycastle.

She had been viciously assaulted. Police believe that she died shortly after arriving in Larne.

'Always smiling'

Walter Schreiner first met Inga in their local youth club in the mid-1980s.

He said: "Every person who knew her loved her. She was always smiling, she was always shining and was very intelligent."

Both Viktor and Walter still hope for justice.

Walter said: "We have to find the perpetrators. We have to find them. Thirty years is a very long time, too long."

Viktor said: "It would be especially important for my mother. I hope if the murderer gets caught, my mother can finally leave this behind and we can be free of this curse."

You can watch the full interviews on Spotlight on Tuesday at 22:40 BST on BBC One Northern Ireland.