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August 12, 2022

Arrest and extradition over 2005 murder of Simone Strobel in Lismore

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Simone Strobel: a reward is still on offer for information that leads to a conviction in her unsolved murder.

On 17 February 2005 the naked body of Simone Strobel, a German backpacker, was found covered by ‘palm fronds on a sports ground about 90 metres from’ the Tourist Caravan Park in Lismore where she had been staying with her boyfriend Tobias Moran (previously Suckfuell, he changed his mane when he married). Yesterday (Wednesday, 27 July, 2022) a man was extradited from Western Australia and charged with murder following an investigation into the homicide of Simone’s suspected murder. 

Tobias Suckfuell and Simone Strobel. (supplied)

‘Simone, aged 25, was last seen at the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park on Friday 11 February 2005, after a night out with her then-boyfriend and friends,’ said the NSW Police in a media release. 

‘Her body was found six days later (Thursday 17 February 2005), concealed under palm fronds at a sports ground less than 100m from the caravan park.’

Her boyfriend had reported her missing after several days but became a key suspect in the murder investigation. ‘Police have long believed Tobias was responsible for Simone’s death and that he, possibly with the help of his sister Katrin, concealed her body.’

Simone Strobel in the clothes she was last seen in. Photo NSW Police.

‘At a coronial inquest in 2007, then-State Coroner, Paul McMahon, ruled there was insufficient evidence to lay charges over Simone’s death,’ saud the NSW Police.

‘Detectives from Richmond Police District established Strike Force Howea in February 2005 to investigate Simone’s murder – with assistance from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, and their counterparts at the Wuerzburg Criminal Police and the Prosecutor´s Office in Wuerzburg.’

Rewards offered

A reward of 10,000 euros ($15,165) was offered ‘for information that leads to a conviction for the cold-case killing’ in February 2014 by the Bavarian Office of Criminal Investigation. This was followed by a NSW government reward offered in October 2020 of $1 million ‘ for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Simone’s homicide’.

The book

In 2014 author Virginia Peters wrote a book about the unsolved murder. She, and her publisher Schwartz Publishing, were taken to court by Ms Strobel’s then-boyfriend Tobias Moran, however, he dropped the case in 2017 saying he ‘he was discontinuing the action as he had run out of money’.

Simone Strobel (right) with a friend. Photo NSW Police.

Arrest and extradition

‘Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives travelled to Western Australia, where – with assistance from Western Australian Police Force – a 42-year-old man was arrested at a home in Perth,’ stated the NSW Police yesterday. 

‘He was taken to the Magistrates Court of Western Australia where detectives applied for, and were granted, his extradition to NSW. Strike force investigators escorted the man on a flight, which landed at Sydney Domestic Airport about 5.10pm on Wednesday, 27 July, 2022.

Simone Strobel. Photo NSW Police.

‘He was taken to Mascot Police Station and charged with murder and do act with intent to pervert the course of justice. He was refused bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court tomorrow (Thursday, 28 July, 2022).

‘Strike Force Howea investigators are continuing to work with their international counterparts, with investigations continuing.’

Simone Strobel. Photo NSW Police.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Howea detectives is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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  1. Very good job done by the authorities in this case. Could not have been easy trawling through the flotsam and jetsam that is the Lismore citizenry.


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