Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

Timeline of the death of Simone Strobel in Lismore, 2005

Cathy Adams
Updated July 27 2022 - 6:24pm, first published July 26 2022 - 6:52pm

For 17 years the question has remained unanswered - What happened to Simone Strobel?

Simone Strobel on holiday in Australia. Picture: Supplied
Simone Strobel on holiday in Australia. Picture: Supplied

Today, the news of an arrest in relation to the case brings the hope an answer may be close for her family.

The 25-year-old German backpacker died in Lismore on February 2005, her body found under palm fronds at the bocce courts on Uralba St, just 100m from where she had been staying with her boyfriend and friends.


Simone arrived in Australia late in 2004, on holiday with her boyfriend from her hometown of Rieden, near Wurzburg in Bavaria, Germany.

Her family - father Gustl, mother Gabi, and siblings Alexander and Christina - were quiet, respected people, her parents farming pigs on their small farm.

They described the kindergarten teacher as "conscientious, reliable, and sensitive".

The German backpacker had visited the Northern Rivers before, staying in Nimbin for a time, and the group had come to Lismore to do some banking before moving on.

Simone, along with her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell (now Moran), his sister Katrin Suckfuell, and friend Jens Martin arrived in Lismore on Friday, February 11 and set up camp in a van and a small tent before heading to the Gollan Hotel.

CCTV captured the group outside the hotel on the corner of Woodlark and Keen streets, one of the last times Simone was seen alive.

Simone was reported missing to police the next day, and a search commenced, involving police and the SES.

Rumours swirled about the disappearance from the heart of Lismore - had she gone to Byron Bay, Nimbin, Sydney?

Those rumours were squashed six days later when Simone's body was found 100m from her campsite, hidden under palm fronds at Lismore's Continental Club bocce courts.

The people of Lismore were shocked and heartbroken by the discovery.

An investigation involving local, State and German police was established and continued for the past 17 years.

Simone was buried in her hometown of Rieden on March 5, 2005, and a small bench was placed near the scene of her death in Lismore, bearing one of her favourite quotes: "... defenceless I will be and vulnerable, I know, on the open sea and only protected by love, your love".

A Coronial Inquest in 2007 found Simone most likely died on February 12 of asphyxiation caused by a pillow pressed to her face.

Key moments:

Who was slain backpacker Simone Strobel?
Who was slain backpacker Simone Strobel?
Cathy Adams

Cathy Adams