Alexander, Brother of murdered girl Simone Strobel. Simone was killed in Lismore in 2005. Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star
Alexander, Brother of murdered girl Simone Strobel. Simone was killed in Lismore in 2005. Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star Jacklyn Wagner

12 years on: Simone's parents still looking for her killer

WEDNESDAY 11.30am: THE family of Simone Strobel, murdered in Lismore in 2005, are still waiting for answers about their daughter's death.

Gustl and Gabi Strobel are angry about the unresolved case of their daughter's death after a decade plus of "agonising uncertainty".

The Strobels are planning to speak out on February 11, the date of their daughter's death.

Manfred Schweidler, a journalist with Main Post, a German newspaper from Ms Strobel's hometown, said their publication were planning to run a tribute piece on the anniversary with comment from her family. 

 

HISTORIC German backpacker Simone Strobel was found murdered in Lismore in 2005. Supplied
HISTORIC German backpacker Simone Strobel was found murdered in Lismore in 2005. Supplied

TUESDAY 2.55pm: HE'S the blond haired surfer boy with a luxury lifestyle, but suspicion has followed him since the naked body of his girlfriend was found covered in palm fronds near their campsite.

Tobias Suckfuell, or Toby Moran as he is now known, lives the high life jetsetting to beaches in Bali and Mexico.

 

Toby Moran, on City Beach with dog Mango, jetsets around the world to surf in Bali and Mexico, but is suing a publisher over a book about his former girlfriends death. d
Toby Moran, on City Beach with dog Mango, jetsets around the world to surf in Bali and Mexico, but is suing a publisher over a book about his former girlfriends death. d Contributed Facebook

He lives with his Australian wife in a million-dollar beach shack owned by his parents-in-law who live in a waterfront mansion in the same exclusive Perth suburb.

Mr Moran has never been charged over the murder of German backpacker Simone Strobel.

But a Supreme Court judge has ruled in a civil case there are "reasonable suspicions" that Mr Moran killed his then girlfriend at a Lismore caravan park in 2005.

 

File photo Simone Strobel with Tobias Suckfuell.
Photo Contributed
File photo Simone Strobel with Tobias Suckfuell. Photo Contributed Contributed

The decomposed body of Ms Strobel, 25, was found covered in palm fronds and pushed through the fence of a bocce court 90m from caravan park where she and Mr Moran had been camping with his sister Kathrin and friend Jens Martin.

Ms Strobel's body was found six days after she vanished following a drinking session between the four German tourists in a local Lismore hotel.

 

GOLLAN DEPARTURE: Missing German tourist Simone Strobel (second from right) pictured leaving the Gollan Hotel in Lismore on the Friday night that she disappeared with her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell and their two fellow travellers, Jens Martin and Tobias' sister Katrin Suckfuell. Please credit supply to THE NORTHERN STAR
Photo Contributed
GOLLAN DEPARTURE: Missing German tourist Simone Strobel (second from right) pictured leaving the Gollan Hotel in Lismore on the Friday night that she disappeared with her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell and their two fellow travellers, Jens Martin and Tobias' sister Katrin Suckfuell. Please credit supply to THE NORTHERN STAR Photo Contributed THE NORTHERN STAR

Both Tobias and Kathrin Suckfuell declined to attend a subsequent inquest.

But Jens Martin testified at the inquest that all three had lied to police at Mr Moran's behest about their actions before Ms Strobel disappeared.

Now Ms Strobel's grieving parents in Bavaria, Germany are asking questions as they prepare to mark the 12th anniversary of their daughter's death.

News.com.au can reveal that Mr Moran has been living in Perth's moneyed City Beach suburb with his wife, former ski instructor Samantha Moran and their pet dog, Mango.

The couple live in a house owned by a family company of her father, wealthy Perth dentist John Moran.

Both Samantha and John Moran are mentioned in a lawsuit filed by Tobias Friedrich Moran in the Western Australian Supreme Court claiming privilege over documents he says may incriminate him in Ms Strobel's murder.

Toby Moran has always maintained his innocence over Ms Strobel's death.

The documents included notes written by Mr Moran and his now wife when the pair lived in South Africa six years ago which allegedly discuss the circumstances of Ms Strobel's death.

 

Sam and Toby Moran married in his home in Bavaria, Germany in 2012.
Sam and Toby Moran married in his home in Bavaria, Germany in 2012. Contributed Facebook

Tobias Moran and Ms Moran were married in 2012 at his family's farmhouse in Altbessingen, Germany, 30km from the Wurzburg home of Ms Strobel's parents.

Mr Moran made headlines when Bavarian police arrested him ahead of his nuptials allegedly buying hashish in a Bavarian train station.

The Wurzburg Post reported that police were tipped off he had asked one of the guests to provide hash for his wedding reception, and allegedly caught him and another man with 300g of the drug.

He appeared in court before being released to attend his wedding. It is understood the charge was later withdrawn.

Mr Moran and Ms Moran returned to live in Perth some years ago.

According to Mr Moran's social media posts, he has since travelled to surf in Bali and Mexico.

 

Toby Moran (above) now lives in a Perth beachside suburb and surfs at exotic beachside location.
Toby Moran (above) now lives in a Perth beachside suburb and surfs at exotic beachside location. Contributed Facebook

His sister, Kathrin Suckfuell, works as a medical assistant in Hammelberg, Germany, and is an enthusiastic traveller.

In 2011, she returned to Australia on holiday as part of a world tour to Mexico, the US, Japan and New Zealand.

Although Ms Suckfuell toured Australia's east coast, it is uncertain whether she visited her brother and future sister-in-law in Western Australia.

Tobias and Samantha Moran were reported initially to have been living in her parents' five bedroom mansion.

 

The former Tobias Suckfuell has stayed with wife Samantha Moran in her parents beachside mansion (above) in Perth.
The former Tobias Suckfuell has stayed with wife Samantha Moran in her parents beachside mansion (above) in Perth. Contributed Picture: RPDataSourc

But they now live in a nearby old three-bedroom house a block from the beach on a street of mostly multi-million dollar rebuilds.

Ms Moran, a solicitor, has run a beachfront yoga business, as well as selling jewellery and clothing online.

The West Australian newspaper has previously reported Ms Moran said the couple was looking forward to commenting on the Simone Strobel case in the future, but would not speak publicly before then.

Mr Moran's defamation case against the publisher and author of the book Have You Seen Simone isdue back in the WA Supreme Court next week.

Gustl and Gabi Strobel are angry about the unresolved case of their daughter's death after a decade plus of "agonising uncertainty".

The Strobels are planning to speak out on February 11, the date of their daughter's death.

Simone Strobel and the man then known as Tobias Suckfuell arrived in Australia for a one-year working holiday in August 2004, and travelled along the east coast.

 

File photo of Simone Strobel and Tobias Suckfuell. Simone Strobel's body was found in Lismore after a week long search.
Photo Contributed
File photo of Simone Strobel and Tobias Suckfuell. Simone Strobel's body was found in Lismore after a week long search. Photo Contributed Contributed

Tobias's sister Kathrin Suckfuell and friend Jens Martin arrived on Australia Day 2005 to join the couple for a month.

On February 11, the four young Germans arrived at Lismore Tourist Caravan Park, and adjourned to the Gollan Hotel for a drinking session.

Tensions erupted between Tobias and Simone, who argued at the campsite, after which Simone disappeared, the inquest heard.

The next day, Jens and Kathrin began to look for Simone. On February 13, the three checked out of the caravan park before reporting Simone's disappearance to police.

Four days later, on February 17, 2005, a police dog handler discovered Simone's body hidden in the grounds of the Lismore Continental Club's bocce courts.

The three travellers laid flowers at a makeshift memorial in the club grounds with Ms Strobel's brother who had flown out from Germany.

Both Suckfuell siblings and Jens Martin returned to Germany, but only Mr Martin flew back to Lismore for the 2007 inquest.

Mr Martin gave evidence that he, Tobias and Kathrin had lied to police about their activities the night Simone disappeared and even about details such as the direction Simone walked in when she left the campsite.

 

Simone Strobel Tobias Suckfuell and sister Katrin lay a wreath at the site where the body of Simone Strobel was found in Lismore.
Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star
Simone Strobel Tobias Suckfuell and sister Katrin lay a wreath at the site where the body of Simone Strobel was found in Lismore. Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star Jacklyn Wagner

NSW Police told the inquest they believed Tobias had killed her by smothering her, most likely with a pillow, after they had argued.

They said at the inquest they believed Tobias, most likely with Kathrin's help, then carried Simone's body across the road where they stripped her before pushing her through a hole in the fence around the bocce club and hiding her under palm fronds.

Coroner Paul McMahon ruled there was not enough evidence to lay charges over Simone's death and issued a plea for Tobias and Kathrin to give evidence.

In 2014, Tobias Moran applied for an injunction to stop the publication of Have You Seen Simone, written by Virginia Peters and published by Schwartz Publishing.

 

Tobias Suckfuell, boyfriend of murdered girl Simone Strobel.jpg
Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star
Tobias Suckfuell, boyfriend of murdered girl Simone Strobel.jpg Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star Jacklyn Wagner

In rejecting the injunction, WA Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Martin said there were "reasonable suspicions" Tobias Suckfuell was involved in killing Simone Strobel in Lismore in February 2005.

Justice Martin said while there was no definitive proof of his alleged guilt, the facts of the case made it "inevitable" he should be a suspect.

"There is a significant underlying body of credible factual material, publicly available and widely ventilated since 2007, which clearly does, at least assessed at the prima facie level, manifest some reasonable grounds for suspicion as regards this plaintiff in the 2005 crime," he wrote.

"None of that factual material is of itself conclusive in terms of establishing the plaintiff's guilt.

"But if coupled particularly with the proximity of Simone's discovered body, within 90m of the Lismore Caravan Park, the plaintiff's lack of a solid alibi ... some arguably odd behaviour by him in terms of him not searching for Simone the next morning (he denies that), and some delay in reporting Simone's disappearance to the Australian police, this all goes towards providing a basis for a reasonable suspicion about the plaintiff."

Tobias Moran then sued both Schwartz Publishing and Ms Peters for defamation, claiming the book wrongly implied he was guilty of murder.

 

Flanked by Simone Strobels family, Tobias Suckfuell with his sister Kathrin reads a statement to the media following the discovery of her body.
Flanked by Simone Strobels family, Tobias Suckfuell with his sister Kathrin reads a statement to the media following the discovery of her body. Contributed Picture: News CorpSo

Late last year, The Australian reported, Mr Moran asserted claims of privilege over six documents filed earlier in 2016 by way of discovery in the defamation action.

"I am concerned that no person has ever been charged with the murder of Simone Strobel and in light of the defamatory imputation conveyed by the defendant's publication and the content of the book ... I am concerned that I may be charged by police in New South Wales based upon a case relying on circumstantial evidence," Mr Moran said in an affidavit.

"In that regard, I desire to preserve my rights and I claim privilege against self-incrimination."

Mr Moran also claimed privilege in relation to correspondence with his German solicitors, who acted for him following Ms Strobel's death, and notes and documents given to him by his father-in-law John Moran.

The case is due back in court for a confidential mediation conference between the parties on February 8.



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