Tobias Suckfuell, boyfriend of murdered girl Simone Strobel.
Tobias Suckfuell, boyfriend of murdered girl Simone Strobel. Jacklyn Wagner

Tobias fears for girlfriend Simone, missing in Lismore

THE disappearance of German tourist Simone Strobel is tearing her boyfriend apart.

Yesterday, Tobias Suckfuell spoke for the first time about his anguish for his girlfriend of six years who went missing last Friday night in Lismore.

"I just can't bear it," he said.

"Anything could have happened. She could have been kidnapped or raped. I can't eat or sleep with worry. My stomach is going into spasms and I'm shaking all over.

"We were very close and the police got it wrong when they said we had had a lovers' tiff. We didn't argue at all.

"Disappearing like this is completely out of character for Simone.

"She is a kindergarten teacher and a very responsible, very sensible person.

"She is friendly but naturally cautious and would never get into a stranger's car or go off with anyone. I know she would contact me if she could."

Simone, 25, from the Bavarian town of Wuerzburg, went missing just before midnight on Friday and there hasn't been a confirmed sighting of her since.

She had been staying overnight at the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park, in Dawson Street, with Tobias, 24, his sister Katrin Suckfuell, 28, and friend Jens Martin, 25.

The group was travelling in a Toyota Hi-Ace campervan which the couple purchased on their arrival in Australia last August for a 12-month working holiday.

The four had arrived in Lismore earlier in the day, Tobias said. He said they had planned to stay for just one day and then head off to Nimbin on Saturday and The Channon markets on Sunday.

The girls went shopping and the boys went to an internet cafe where they unexpectedly ran into a Japanese tourist, 'Gun', whom they had met earlier in their travels.

The five tourists met at the caravan park in the early evening and walked to town, hoping to hear some live music, meet the locals and have a few beers.

Because some of the party had thongs on, they were denied entry at Mary Gilhooleys Irish Pub and Restaurant and the Hotel Metropole.

But they were allowed into the Hotel Gollan because there was no live music that night and the dress code was less strict.

The five friends enjoyed several beers over a period of about four hours and then walked home together.

Back at the caravan park they sat around and talked. Tobias and his sister Katrin had an animated conversation about family matters back in Germany.

"Simone said something like 'oh come on guys, we're on holidays, turn it off', and said she needed to take a few minutes for a walk," Tobias said.

"We had all been cooped up together because of the rain and were feeling a little bit stressed.

"It seemed natural Simone needed some time out."

He said when she had not returned after 15 minutes her friends became anxious and set out to search for her.

They combed the caravan park, neighbouring streets, and the CBD, as well as going back to the Gollan.

Following a sleepless night, they went to the police station on Saturday morning to report her missing.

Police are treating Simone's disappearance as suspicious and have launched a major investigation.

There have been extensive searches of the CBD and surrounding area involving the police and the SES, and detectives have been out in force following every possible lead, said acting crime manager Det Insp Anne Langford.

Hospitals, health clinics, backpacker establishments, women's refuges and businesses in Lis- more, Nimbin and Byron Bay have all been contacted.

"I've had to contact her family back in Bavaria. They are distraught too and are ringing me every two hours for news. I've hardly slept at all since she disappeared," Tobias said.

"If she is out there by some miracle, and feeling embarrassed about having gone off, I would just ask her to please, please, please, get in touch.

"We are all so devastated and fearing the worst. Just knowing she is still alive would be the best news we could all have.

"Please ring me Simone if you're out there".

n Police have asked anyone who thinks they may have seen Simone to contact Lismore police on 6623 1599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

They have updated information on the clothes she was wearing at the time of her disappearance.

She was wearing a close-fitting black V-necked sleeveless top and long white flared pants over which she wore a below-the-knee 'Roxy' brand red skirt that had a flower pattern cut out from the left-hand side showing the white underskirt through the flower.

She was in bare feet and had no jewellery, apart from a multicoloured badge pinned to her top.

She is tanned, has a slim build, is 170cm, and has shoulder-length wavy brown hair.

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