Strobel's parents voice doubts
THE parents of murdered German backpacker Simone Strobel have accused her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell of deceiving them ‘again and again’ about the circumstances of their daughter’s death.
After years of defending Tobias, Simone’s father, Gustl, has revealed for the first time in an interview with their local newspaper, the Würzburg-based Main Post, the doubts he and his wife, Gabi, now have about the man police believe killed their daughter.
Police at the inquest into Simone’s death revealed they believed Tobias smothered Simone with a pillow at the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park on February 12, 2005, before carefully hiding her naked body, possibly with the help of his sister, Katrin, under palm fronds at the nearby bocce club.
Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon at the 2007 inquest into Simone’s death agreed
Tobias was the most likely suspect, but found there was not enough evidence to justify charging him. Police are now awaiting advances in DNA technology before deciding on a course of action.
In a two-hour interview with reporter Manfred Schweidler, Mr Strobel said the turning point for he and his wife and their son came with Tobias’s refusal to give evidence at the inquest into Simone’s death.
“They (Simone’s parents and her brother) expected Tobi would do anything to co-operate with the investigation – and now they cannot understand why he did nothing for the solution of the case,” Mr Schweidler told The Northern Star.
The other turning point came with a secret meeting between the Strobel family and one of Simone’s travelling companions, Jens Martin, shortly before he returned to Lismore in 2007 for the inquest.
“Tobias deceived us again and again. That is something I don’t understand,” Mr Strobel said.
That also got Simone’s brother, Alexander, who travelled to Lismore in 2005 to bring Simone’s body home, questioning Tobias’s demeanour after Simone’s death.
Gustl Strobel told the Main Post their faith in Tobias was also shaken by the unearthing of Simone’s diary, revealed during the inquest, that spoke of increasing tension between the couple in the days leading up to her death.
Mr Martin also gave evidence the couple had been avoiding each other up until the night of Simone’s death, when their entire group went to Lismore’s Golan Hotel together. Learning of Tobias’s instructions to the group to lie to police about the events before Simone’s ‘disappearance’ had also badly eroded the family’s confidence in him.
Mr Strobel told the Main Post he had tried talking to Tobias, telling him to speak out if there was something he was ‘ashamed’ of, but Tobias had remained silent.
Tobias, once a regular visitor to their home, stopped visiting soon after the 2005 memorial service and it was only through the press the Strobels learned he had moved to South Africa. Mr Schweidler told The Star Tobias was now believed to be living in Austria.
Mr Strobel’s attempts at talking with Katrin Suckfuell were similarly unproductive.
Mr Strobel told the paper he and Mrs Strobel still struggled daily with Simone’s death – not only with the loss they suffered, but with the fact they do not know exactly what happened that night.
Mr Strobel said the family longed to know the truth.