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Scientific advances offer breakthrough in Simone case: book

SCIENTIFIC advances in molecular biology might provide police with the breakthrough they need in solving the 2005 murder in Lismore of German backpacker Simone Strobel, a former Northern Rivers resident claims in a new book.

Virginia Peters, who these days lives in Sydney, attended the inquest into Simone's death and has travelled to Barvaria to speak to Simone's family and even interviewed the main suspect in her death, Tobias Suckfuell.

She has now published a book about the murder, called Have you seen Simone?

The book details the disappearance, death and eventual discovery of the 25-year-old's body in Lismore in 2005.

Although no one has been charged with her murder, both Australian and German police have labelled Tobias Suckfuell, Ms Strobel's boyfriend at the time, a prime suspect.

In a five-hour long exclusive interview with Mr Suckfuell, author Virginia Peters uncovered several "inconsistencies" between Mr Suckfuell's version of events and those given by his friend Jens (who was there the night of Ms Strobel's disappearance) and other witnesses at the coronial inquest into Ms Strobel's death in 2007.

"I found that he had complete lapses of memory in quite significant areas but then his overall recall wasn't too bad," Ms Peters said.

One "weird anomaly" was Mr Suckfuell's recollection that he berated police over not getting a sniffer dog earlier because they had found her top, which meant she would have been "walking around Byron Bay or Nimbin topless in a skirt".

"Tobias could not have harangued the police about Simone walking around topless on the Monday," Ms Peters wrote in her book. "He couldn't have done so on the Tuesday or the Wednesday either… since Simone's top had been found after the body was discovered."

Another shocking piece of evidence uncovered in the book, was the relatively recent discovery of mitochondrial DNA on the palm branches covering Ms Strobel's body that matched one the Suckfuells' siblings' DNA.

Advances in molecular biology meant scientists could test for mitochondrial DNA, proving that Mr Suckfuell or his sister Katrin, or both, had been at the scene of the murder.

"What these results indicated was that there were no inexplicable strands of mtDNA present at the scene that could hint at an unknown offender, unless that perpetrator was prepared and gloved," Ms Peters wrote.

"I believe in the right to silence… but I also believe in the victim's freedom to have their story told," she said.

Topics:  simone strobel



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