POLICE have been urged to catch the killer or killers of a young German woman who was sexually assaulted and murdered while backpacking in Northern Ireland almost 24 years ago.
Eighteen-year-old student Inga Maria Hauser’s body was discovered at Ballypatrick Forest near Ballycastle on April 20 1988.
It is believed at least two people were involved in the murder and as yet no-one has been brought to justice.
Miss Hauser had travelled to Larne from Scotland on April 6 1988. Her body was discovered 14 days later. Her neck had been broken in the vicious attack which sent shockwaves throughout Northern Ireland.
SDLP assemblyman John Dallat has followed the case closely throughout the years and says he hopes the perpetrator or perpatrators are caught in order to bring a degree of closure for Miss Hauser’s family.
“Every year thousands of young people from Ireland travel to different parts of the world and their parents entrust the people of other nations to look after them, protect them and allow them to return safely,” he said.
“That is what the parents of Inga Maria did and they were badly let down by one or more individuals who shamefully murdered their daughter and buried her in a shallow grave in a lonely wood.
“I am grateful to the police for keeping this case open and I welcome developments in DNA but I am concerned that nature will eventually take its course and those involved will go to their graves without having to answer for the crime they committed.
“As we approach the anniversary of Inga Maria Hauser’s murder I know it is the wish of many people and particularly the parents of young people who travel abroad to bring to justice the individual or individuals who let the nation down by what they did to the Hauser family and their daughter.”
Last year police said they were closing the net on the killer or killers.
In March of last year the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray, said police believed they were closer than ever to identifying those responsible and that gaps in the investigative jigsaw could be filled by individuals with information, possibly living in the rural area east of Ballymoney.
“We are tantalisingly close to making significant progress,” he said.
“We just need those remaining pieces of the jigsaw.”
The murder sparked one of the largest DNA screening processes ever conducted in the UK.
More than 2,000 samples of various types of DNA have been prioritised and checked.
“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,” added Mr Murray.