SIMONE: GERMAN COPS ARE IN TOWN

By ZOE SATHERLEY

Police fly in to investigate German backpacker's death; Lismore coroner calls for public inquest

A TEAM of German investigators is expected to arrive in Australia today to examine evidence related to the mysterious death of Simone Strobel.

NSW police sources said two senior German officers and a State lawyer leading the investigation would conduct inquiries after arriving in Lismore on Monday.

A TEAM of German investigators is expected to arrive in Australia today to examine evidence related to the mysterious death of Simone Strobel.

NSW police sources said two senior German officers and a State lawyer leading the investigation would remain in the region after arriving here on Monday.

Only one of the visiting German team, Kriminalpolitzistin (crime police officer) Susanne Grimm, is fluent in English. She will act as translator.

Another member of the team is Kriminalhauptkommissar (chief inspector) Hans-Jurgen Kaemmer.

Erik Ohlenschlager, the State lawyer leading the investigation, is the chief prosecutor in the case.

They will then continue investigations in Sydney and as far away as South Australia, interviewing key witnesses who have since moved away from the district.

Ms Strobel, a German kindergarten teacher on a working holiday in Australia, was killed while going for a late night walk near Lismore Shopping Square in February.

Her badly decomposed body was found after several days in the grounds of the Lismore Continental Club in Uralba Street.

No cause of death has ever been released.

The 25-year-old was found across the road from the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park where she was staying with her boyfriend, Tobias Suckfuell, his sister, Katrin Suckfuell, and a mutual friend, Jens Martins.

At the time, police interviewed many caravan park residents.

Some of these have now moved interstate and German police have made arrangements to re-interview them, said the officer leading the local investigation, Detective Sergeant Shane Diehm.

German police have also sought the co-operation of British authorities to interview witnesses who were staying at the caravan park at the time of Simone's death, according to German newspapers.

Lismore police have been contacting other important witnesses, Det Sgt Diehm said, asking them to make themselves available during the visit by German police.

In June, the previous German chief public prosecutor heading the investigation, Bardo Backert, named Simone's boyfriend, Tobias, as a murder suspect, citing in- consistencies in his evidence as cause for suspicion.

However, Australian police, who work under a different legal system, cannot call the death a murder until a cause of death has been established.

"We have interviewed around 200 people so far and are still interviewing key people of interest, but no-one has ever been taken into custody over this case," Det Sgt Diehm said.

"We have about 10 police officers still actively involved in the investigation."



UPDATE: Fire conditions ease after 'huge response'

UPDATE: Fire conditions ease after 'huge response'

2000ha bushfire at Ellangowan near Casino is still being controlled

PHOTOS: Dragon boats take over Ballina

premium_icon PHOTOS: Dragon boats take over Ballina

14 teams took advantage of the fantastic weather for major event

8 men, 5 trucks, 52 bales of hay: Helping out in 'war zone'

premium_icon 8 men, 5 trucks, 52 bales of hay: Helping out in 'war zone'

Northern Rivers councils help farmers in drought areas

Local Partners