Man released after questioning over backpacker murder in Co Antrim

Inga Maria Hauser was 18-years-old when she went missing shortly after arriving in Larne in 1988

Inga Maria Hauser’s body was found two weeks after going missing  in an isolated part of the Ballypatrick Forest in Antrim in 1988. Photograph: PSNI/PA

Inga Maria Hauser’s body was found two weeks after going missing in an isolated part of the Ballypatrick Forest in Antrim in 1988. Photograph: PSNI/PA

 

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

Inga Maria Hauser, originally from Munich, was 18 when she went missing shortly after arriving in Larne, Co Antrim on April 6th, 1988. She had just arrived in Northern Ireland on the ferry from Stranraer in Scotland.

The young woman’s body was found two weeks later in an isolated part of the Ballypatrick Forest in Antrim.

On May 21st, last year a 59-year-old man was arrested and question by the PSNI before being released on bail pending further inquiries.

His arrest came shortly after police reissued an appeal for information on the case on the thirtieth anniversary of Ms Hauser’s death.

At the same time the PSNI announced it had used modern DNA technology to glean more evidence in the case.

The chief suspect was rearrested on Tuesday for questioning. Detectives were granted an extra 14 hours to question him that evening.

He was released this morning without charge. The PSNI said a file will now be sent to the Public Prosecution Service, which will direct if he is to be charged.

He is the second man to be arrested in connection with the murder. Last May, a 61-year-old was detained and questioned before being released without charge.

Detectives believe the attack was sexually motivated and Ms Hauser was trying to fight off her attacker when she was killed.

Ms Hauser’s father has since died and her mother has dementia. “We would like to see her killer caught, now her father is dead, while her mother is still alive, that would be fitting,” the former lead investigator Detective Chief Supt George Caskey said last year.

At the time police were able to obtain a male DNA profile from the murder scene but were unable to find a match, despite carrying out one of the largest mass DNA screenings in Northern Irish history. More than 2,000 samples were taken.

Last year, using modern DNA technology, police conducted further testing which is believed to have led to a breakthrough in the case.