Sligo – The Story of Peter Bergmann

The Case

The Peter Bergmann case pertains to the mysterious death of an unidentified man in Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland, on or around 16 June 2009. The man, using the alias “Peter Bergmann”, had checked into the Sligo City Hotel on June 12, where he stayed during the majority of his visit to Sligo. The man’s movements were captured on CCTV throughout the town; however, the details of his actions and intentions remain unknown. His interactions with other people were limited, and little is known of his origins or the reason for his visit.

On the morning of 16 June, the body of the unidentified man was discovered at Rosses Point beach, a popular recreation destination and fishing area near Sligo. Despite conducting a five-month investigation into his death, the Gardaí have never been able to identify the man or develop any leads in the case.

Arrival in Sligo

On Friday, 12 June, the man was first spotted at the Ulster Bus Depot in Derry. He boarded a bus headed to Sligo, County Sligo, carrying a black shoulder bag and a standard carry-on luggage bag. He arrived at Sligo bus station and took a taxi to the Sligo City Hotel, where he paid per night in cash. While checking in, he gave the false name of “Peter Bergmann” and an address that was later reported as “Ainstettersn 15, 4472, Vienna, Austria.” According to staff and tenants at the Sligo City Hotel, the man was of Germanic descent and spoke English with a thick German accent. He was neatly groomed; his face was shaven and his hair was clean and combed. From the man’s appearance it was assumed he was a professional worker. He was a frequent smoker and several surveillance videos show him smoking outside often.

During his stay at the hotel, the man was seen on CCTV footage leaving the building with a purple plastic bag full of items or personal effects. However, when he returned from his long walk he was no longer carrying the bag. It is presumed that he had disposed of his belongings throughout Sligo and then folded the bag and put it in his pocket. Authorities were unable to identify what he threw away in the public rubbish bins, as the man used the blind spots of the surveillance cameras to his advantage. His movements were very meticulous and methodical, as if he knew where to hide his personal belongings that could have identified him.

On Saturday, 13 June, the man was seen walking to Sligo post office and purchased eight 82-cent stamps and airmail stickers. The following day, the man left the hotel and asked a taxi driver recommendations for a nice quiet beach where he could swim. The taxi driver stated that Rosses Point would be the best place and proceeded to drive the unidentified man to the beach. The man returned with the same taxi and was dropped off at the bus station in Sligo.

Discovering the Body

On Monday, 15 June, the man checked out of the hotel and handed in his room key. He walked to the bus station via Quay Street and Wine Street, then stopped at Quayside Shopping Centre and awkwardly waited in the doorway for a number of minutes. He left the shopping centre and walked along Wine Street in the direction of the bus station, still carrying all three bags. He ordered a cappuccino and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich at the bus station. While eating his food, he looked at pieces of paper that he kept in his pocket. After reading the pieces of paper, he tore the paper in half and threw it away in a nearby rubbish bin. He then mounted a bus that departed for Rosses Point. It was reported that he was seen by sixteen people while walking on the beach, casually greeting the passersby.

The following morning, Tuesday 16 June, Arthur Kinsella and his son Brian, who was training for a triathlon, found the man’s body lying on the beach in the morning. He was wearing purple striped Speedo-type swimming trunks, with his underpants over the top and a navy T-shirt tucked into them. Arthur and Brian said the Lord’s Prayer for the man, and then called the Gardaí. Dr Valerie McGowan officially pronounced the man dead. Following the discovery of the man’s body, a five-month investigation into his identity was conducted by Gardaí.