Police given more time to question man over 1988 murder of German backpacker

Detectives investigating the murder of a German backpacker in Northern Ireland have been granted additional time to question a suspect.

The 59-year-old was originally arrested in connection with Inga Maria Hauser’s death last May and later released on bail pending further inquiries.

Police have now been granted another 14 hours to ask him further questions.

The body of the Munich teenager 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 scene at Ballypatrick Forest
The scene at Ballypatrick Forest

Another man was arrested last May for questioning about the murder. He was also later released on bail pending further enquiries. Detectives changed the terms of his release to “unconditional” in December.

Last year, on the 30th anniversary of the crime, 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.

Police have a male genetic profile found at the murder scene.

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 after her ferry 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.

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.