In 2009, a man who called himself Peter Bergmann stopped in the quiet coastal Irish town of Sligo. Four days later, his body was found on a local beach. Who the deceased was, what he was doing, why he came to Sligo – all this is unknown. The name turned out to be fake, the address also, there were no documents with him.
Bergmann managed to recreate the last days with the help of CCTV camera systems, but this business only became even stranger. It seemed that he did everything to disappear, miscalculating only with the very last stage. , based on VICE and The Irish Times, explains why even ten years later, the Bergmann case is still worrying the police and social media users.
Four days of Peter Bergmann
On June 12, 2009, a thin, gray-haired man of about 60 boarded a bus to Sligo. He was dressed in a black leather jacket and carried two bags with him: a sports bag and a shoulder bag. Boarding was recorded by surveillance cameras in the city of Derry (Northern Ireland).
After 2 hours 28 minutes, the same man got out of the transport in Sligo – it again came into the view of the CCTV system. He took a taxi to the city center. Years later, this will be proof that the stranger was in the city for the first time: you can walk from the bus station to the center in 10 minutes.
The first motel in which the man tried to stay was crowded – everything happened on the Friday evening of the tourist season. But there were places in the next hotel: he paid for three nights at the Sligo City Hotel. In the registration book, the stranger indicated the address (15 Einshtettern St., 4472, Vienna, Austria) and the name Peter Bergmann. He was not asked to verify his identity with documents.
The next day, Bergmann passed without incident: he went to the post office, where he bought several stamps and stickers, returned to the hotel to eat, smoked a cigarette. Peter behaved politely with everyone, a noticeable German accent betrayed a foreigner in him. All this was again fixed by CCTV cameras.
In the evening of June 14, Bergmann left the hotel and asked the taxi driver to take him to a quiet beach, where he could swim. He drove him to Rosses Point Beach. Upon arrival, the man got out of the car, looked around, but did not swim, and went back to the hotel, where he spent time alone.
On June 15, Bergmann handed over the room key and checked out, picking up one of his bags and a purple bag. At the same time, there was no sports bag with him. In a roundabout way, he went to the bus stop, on the way he went into the shopping center for a short while.
At the bus stop, he took some pieces of paper from his pocket, read it, tore it up, and threw it into the trash. After that, he took the bus to Rosses Point – at least 16 people saw him on the beach that evening.
In the early foggy morning of June 16th, Arthur Kinsella arrived with his son Brian for a morning run at Rosses Point. Brian was preparing for a triathlon competition and was already preparing to dive into the ocean, but at that moment his father noticed an unusual object on the shore.
Going closer, the Kinsells realized that this was a human body of about 65 years old. Based on the lack of footprints in the sand, Arthur concluded that he had been washed ashore after low tide: “We went around the body to make sure that he died. I even put my hand on his ankle – it was as cold as marble. ” It was Peter Bergmann.
Mysterious Purple Pack
Bergmann was found naked – clothes were scattered along the shore. The pockets were empty: no money, no wallet, or any documents. Further body procedures revealed progressive prostate cancer and a bone tumor, and the man clearly suffered several heart attacks and did not have one kidney. A toxicological examination showed that he was not taking any medications, although he probably had severe pain.
Pretty quickly it became clear that there was something strange in Peter Bergmann. Not only that, with him there were no documents and things – even the tags on the clothes were roughly cut with scissors. The police could not find Peter Bergmann in the lists of people who arrived in the UK legally. The authorities checked the address Bergmann left at registration – Vienna, Einstetern street, 15. It turned out that there was a wasteland at this address.
The difficulties in identifying the deceased in themselves raised questions. But then the case began to turn into something that the local police had not met before.
The last days of Bergmann were partially restored thanks to the extensive network of CCTV cameras in Sligo. And video surveillance showed that for several days in the city a man left the hotel at least 13 times with a purple packet. And every time he came back without him.
By accident or intentionally, Bergmann was able to arrange everything so that the cameras never recorded the moment when he got rid of the package or its contents.
“Obviously, he had some kind of training, either a former policeman or a military man. He clearly did not want to get into the camera’s lens at some point, ”said Sergeant Terry MacMahon, who was involved in the case. They also considered the version that Bergmann knew from somewhere about the location of the cameras in order to use “blind spots” and get rid of the contents of the package. The police even checked the landfills, but found nothing.
Inspector Ray Mulderrig, also involved in the business in 2009, and ten years later, is convinced that the mysterious man did not come to Sligo for a reason. “It seemed that everything had a definite goal – starting with the destruction of tags on clothes. Why is Sligo? If you want to die in a picturesque place, then on the coast of Ireland there is a huge selection. Something brought him here, although we still did not understand what it was, ”he added.
Another mystery is going to the post office. Bergmann bought eight stamps and envelopes, allegedly to send eight letters. But did he do it? Does this mean that he still had loved ones who were waiting for him? What did he write to them?
According to Mulderrig, in five months the police did everything in their power, but did not advance much in the matter. As of 2019, the inspector compared the case with the computer in “sleep mode”: “When something new appears or a reliable source is announced, we will move the mouse and continue the investigation.” In the meantime, a strange thing has moved to the Internet and media.
Mark on history
Despite little fame outside of Ireland, Peter Bergmann’s mysterious story has several threads on Reddit. Among the versions in the comments is the assumption that the man was either an intelligence officer or a gangster, and in Sligo he was hiding from powerful enemies.
In 2013, Irish director Ciaran Cassidy shot the documentary, The Last Days of Peter Bergmann. Following were online investigations, podcasts, and even a play. All of them tried to answer the main question: who was Peter Bergmann?
When a person goes missing, his relatives, friends or colleagues are usually announced. But Peter Bergmann, despite the resonance that the case caused in the west of Ireland, no one was looking. More importantly, he himself did not want to be searched. This was very different from what the local police used to face.
Perhaps Bergmann’s story is an attempt to regain control of his life. He was seriously ill and wanted to die, but do it on his own terms. He chose everything from a pseudonym and wasteland in Austria as an address to a beach where you can drown. Most likely, he did not want to find the body, but he was thrown ashore by the waves.
The first known information about the life of Peter Bergmann is the moment when he got on the bus to Sligo. Last – a moment a few hours before death: a man walked thoughtfully along the ocean, alone with the same purple package. Everything else is a mystery. Probably, no matter who Peter Bergmann was, he did not want to know about it.