Knutby goes public

At 11am on Wednesday the prosecution's case against the pastor of Knutby and his children's nanny was delivered to the court in Uppsala in advance of the trial which begins next week. Minutes later, the feeding frenzy began. Names, photographs and statements were released as the full details of the case became public.

Expressen’s front page was filled with two photographs, one of the nanny, Sara Svensson, in her graduation cap, and the other of the pastor, Helge Fossmo.

Inside, the paper dedicated a double spread to Svensson’s witness statement, in which she described in precise detail how she murdered Alexandra Fossmo, the pastor’s wife – starting with how she sat in her father’s car outside Knutby, preparing for the murder.

“I put my shoes on and loaded the revolver. And then I decided that I had to go to Knutby.”

She parked and then pulled on a mask and her snowshoes. She walked across a field, through snow 20cm deep, to the pastor’s house. Standing at the door she checked to see if she had a new text message.

“I looked, hoping that there would be an SMS saying I didn’t need to do it. But there wasn’t one and then I understood that I had to.”

She went into the house and up the stairs and checked that the door to the children’s room – where Fossmo claims he was sleeping – was closed.

“I opened the door to Alexandra’s and Helge’s bedroom. I was terrified that she would wake up… I went to the middle of the bed, the footboard, and from there I shot at the body… After a few seconds I fired my next shot… I still wasn’t convinced I had hit her so I fired the third shot.”

Then she described how she left the house and then called Fossmo to let him know that “number one is done”. She went to the next house and banged on the door. Daniel Linde, whose wife was having an affair with the pastor, opened the door.

“He seemed very, very surprised and looked me in the eyes and then I shot at his body. He still stood there and after a second I aimed at his head and fired a shot. Then he screamed and fell back and I thought he was dead.”

The papers gave the pastor’s evidence a similarly thorough going-over. But as Wednesday’s DN pointed out, while he is clearly guilty of adultery, erotic adventures and obsessive use of text messages, “that hardly adds up to proof that he’s guilty of murder.”

The prosecution will attempt to prove that by brainwashing and manipulating Sara Svensson, the pastor is culpable for the murder of his wife and attempted murder of Daniel Linde. Ironically, the prosecution may find it easier to prove that he killed his first wife in 1999 – despite the fact that her death was registered as an accident at the time.

The trial begins next Tuesday.

Talking points

  • TV4+ will be covering the trial with a daily hour-long summary presented by Malou von Sivers and Bo Holmström – who also fronted the coverage of the trial of Mijail Mijailovic for the murder of Anna Lindh.
  • Thursday’s Svenska Dagbladet reported that the police investigators want to make sure that the pastor and the nanny are kept apart in court: “His power over her is still strong so he may be forced to leave the room when the woman is interrogated.”
  • Police are now looking for the man who sold the Smith & Wesson revolver used by the Sara Svensson to kill the pastor’s wife. According to Thursday’s DN, the man is a 52-year old Moroccan who may have let Svensson stay at his house days before the murder.
  • Göteborgs Posten wondered on Wednesday how many articles have been devoted to the Knutby drama this year. Apparently Expressen leads the way with 239, Aftonbladet comes in second with 174 and Dagens Nyheter has only managed 134. Expect those figures to rise dramatically over the next couple of weeks.
  • SVT was forced to apologise on Thursday after “accidentally” showing a photograph of the Alexandra Fossmo’s dead body, taken by a police pathologist in her bedroom shortly after her murder.