Police file sent to prosecutors on man held over German backpacker’s 1988 murder

A man arrested on suspicion of the murder of a German backpacker in Northern Ireland 30 years ago has been released pending a report to prosecutors.

Detectives investigating the killing of Inga Maria Hauser will pass an evidence file on the 59-year-old suspect to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

The PPS will decide whether there are grounds to prosecute the man. He was originally arrested in connection with the murder last May and later released on bail pending further inquiries.

On Tuesday police were granted another 14 hours to ask him further questions. He was released on Wednesday.

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.

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

Inga Maria Hauser
Inga Maria Hauser

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 undertaken in the UK, 2,000 samples failed to produce a definitive match.

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.

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 Royal Ulster Constabulary at the height of the Troubles, but did not follow through.