Knutby – episode 666

Having formally brought charges against a pastor and his children's nanny last week, Uppsala police - and the tabloid press - have been working overtime to get to the bottom of the Knutby murders.

It’s not looking good for the pastor. This week’s revelations, most of which come from “police sources”, have painted a picture of the pastor as the evil mastermind behind the deaths of his two wives, while the nanny – who has already admitted to shooting wife number two – is being cast in the role of the pastor’s submissive puppet.

“The nanny committed murder – to show her fear of God,” was Aftonbladet’s take on the police’s report of their preliminary investigations. “Under interrogation the nanny said that she was tested the same way that God tested Abraham in the first book of Moses.”

The paper helpfully reprinted the relevant section from the bible, in which God tested Abraham’s faith by instructing him to kill his only son. The difference is that the biblical version ends happily when an angel steps in just in time, telling Abraham that his faith has been proven and a ram would be a perfectly acceptable offering instead.

Leaping from ancient scriptures to modern technology, Aftonbladet revealed details of the thousands of text messages – leading to one bill of over 20,000 crowns – with which the pastor “dominated the nanny”. These included many from the pastor’s “secret phone” which he used to send her anonymous messages. The nanny says that she never realised these messages came from him.

The police investigations have shown just how tight the control was. Shortly after she shot the pastor’s wife, the nanny sent him an SMS saying “Can I call you?”. She received a reply immediately: “Yes.”

Moments later, she stood outside the door of Daniel Linde – with whose wife the pastor was having an affair – and called the pastor.

“Shall I bang on the door?” she asked him. “So I can do the second one?”

Despite the pastor’s insistence under questioning that his messages had been misunderstood, the police believe that the nanny had been systematically manipulated and brainwashed by him – ‘pastorized’, one might say. He is said to have told her that had dreamed of “two gravestones – his wife’s and Daniel Linde’s.”

And according to Friday’s Expressen, the pastor forced the nanny to take part in sex rituals, telling her that he was “fighting with the devil” and that “sex was the only way to drive the devil away”.

Nevertheless, the pastor’s motives appear to be rather more of this world than the nanny’s. Aftonbladet said that “police suspect his strongest motive was to avoid a divorce” which would have cost him his position as a leader in the cult, while Expressen suggested that he wanted to get his hands on 200,000 crowns that the nanny inherited from her mother’s death when she was twelve.

Meanwhile, the news from the second front of the pastor’s criminal battlefield – the death of his first wife, Helene – was just as bad. Tuesday’s papers reported that a reconstruction has shown that her death in the bath five years ago could not have been an accident, as it was said to have been at the time.

According to Aftonbladet, “She probably hit her head on a handle above the taps.” The wound she received was consistent with this, but two details pointed to murder:

“Tests showed that her face would have hit the taps if she had fallen,” whereas no such wound existed. Most tellingly, though, “she had no water in her lungs. That means she was dead before she fell into the water.”

What’s more, two days before the death of his first wife, the pastor is reported to have told the nanny to pray to God and gave her three options: “For things to work out between himself and Helene, for divorce, or that his wife should die.”

For anybody who has been following the case, Thursday’s headline in Aftonbladet will have come as no surprise.

“The pastor is a psychopath,” it read.

The trial is expected to begin on 18th May. There aren’t enough front pages in Sweden to handle the headlines that’s expected to throw up.