'I didn't do it', says Tobias
By CHARLES MIRANDA
TOBIAS SUCKFUELL has% declared 'I'm innocent', but vowed never to return to Australia to have his claim tested.
The German national has been tracked to the remote village of Wilderness in the Cape Province of South Africa, where he has been living as a surf instructor and part-time bartender at a backpackers' lodge.
Last week, Suckfuell was named in the NSW Coroner's Court as the suspected murderer of his girlfriend Simone Strobel, whose naked body was found near the caravan park she had been staying at in Lismore in February, 2005.
The 25-year-old was on holiday with Suckfuell and it is suspected she may have been suffocated with a pillow or plastic bag.
When approached on Monday, Suckfuell was surprised to hear the inquest was still going on.
He turned angry when told he was still being treated as a prime suspect.
"Is it going to change anything if I talk to you?" the tanned long-haired German said.
"I had f . . .-all to do with this thing, I had nothing to do with it.
"The whole thing has been a mess from the start. I haven't spoken to anybody about this in two years and is it really going to change anything if I talk now? Everybody should leave me alone."
Suckfuell declared it 'too nice a day' to even think about his girlfriend's death, before saying that Australia was a long way away.
He refused to say why he lied to police about the night his girlfriend disappeared, or why he had since refused to be interviewed by police or face an inquest back in Australia.
It has also been revealed:
ON the day Suckfuell was being named in a Sydney court as a suspect in the killing, he was being arrested by police in South Africa on allegations he was smoking marijuana in a public bar;
HE maintains a visa for South Africa with citizenship in the nearby diamond-rich nation of Lesotho;
HE is being visited regularly by a host of German friends and is being supported financially by his sister Katrin, who is also named as a suspect; and
HE has bizarrely dedicated a shrine to his murdered girlfriend deep in the Knysno Forest, just outside his Wilderness home.
Suckfuell runs two surf schools in Wilderness and Jeffreys Bay and lives rent-free in a cottage at the rear of the Beachhouse Backpackers, where he gets paid $400 a month to perform general bar and other duties. He charges $25 for two hours of surf lessons.
He has only returned to his home country once since 2005, and fears he would be arrested if he ever returned so, instead, his friends visit him.
His photo album shows he extensively toured the African coastline, visiting beaches and elephant parks, but has had to hire a car whenever he makes the trip to his adopted nation Lesotho when crossing the border to renew his visa.
Wilderness locals say he could barely pick up a surf board when he first arrived in their town in June, 2005, but on Monday he was telling surf students he learned the art by tackling some of the toughest breaks as a grommit in Australia.
"I'm from all over," Suckfuell said. "I was born in Munich in Germany, but I left and lived a great deal in Australia before moving to South Africa three or four years ago. The waves in Australia and the coastline are very similar (to South Africa) because they are on the same longitude."