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Pair arrested over 1988 murder of German backpacker

UK News | Published:

The body of Inga Maria Hauser was found in Ballypatrick Forest, Co Antrim, two weeks after she was last seen on a ferry from Scotland.

Two men have been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of a German backpacker in Northern Ireland 30 years ago.

The body of Munich teenager Inga Maria Hauser was found dumped in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest, outside Ballycastle, Co Antrim, 14 days after she was last seen alive on a ferry from Scotland.

The 18-year-old’s death in April 1988 remains one of the region’s most high-profile unsolved murders.

The two suspects, aged 58 and 61, were held in the Loughguile area of Co Antrim early on Monday morning.

The arrests come weeks after a much-publicised series of appeals to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder.

In April, detectives said they believed a number of people may have been involved either directly in the murder or in the subsequent cover-up, and said they only need fractional pieces of evidence to bring the chief suspects to justice.

Inga Maria Hauser murder
The body of German backpacker Inga Maria Hauser was found in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest 14 days after she was last seen alive on a ferry from Scotland (PSNI/PA)

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A number of years ago, in one of the largest DNA screenings ever undertaken in the UK, 2,000 samples failed to produce a definitive match.

Prior to her death, Ms Hauser had travelled through England and Scotland and, according to diary entries, intended to travel south to Dublin when she docked at Larne, Co Antrim.

But for reasons as yet unexplained, she ended up going in the opposite direction and was found dead in remote woodland two weeks later.

It is understood the IRA carried out its own investigation into the killing 30 years ago.

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It is believed republican paramilitaries had considered passing information about the alleged murderer to the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) at the height of the Troubles, but did not follow through.

Inga Maria Hauser murder
PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray at the Cairnryan Ferry Terminal in Dumfries and Galloway on the 30th anniversary of Inga Maria Hauser’s murder (Jane Barlow/PA)

“If there are any witnesses still out there with any further information which might help police then I would ask them to come forward now and speak to detectives,” he said.

“Even if there are people who know what happened but have stayed silent out of friendship or family loyalty, it is still not too late to come forward and tell us what you know.

“Failure to do so can be a criminal offence in itself and surely it would be better to come to police and discuss what happened rather than take the risk we will come to you.”

The two men are being questioned by detectives.

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