• Sweden's news in English

Knutby - from tragedy to comedy

The Local · 24 Jun 2004, 00:00

Published: 24 Jun 2004 00:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

And who can blame them? The craziest village in Sweden, home to an extreme pentecostal sect and the scene of at least one murder, hit the front pages again this week with a number of stories that could teach Hollywood a thing or two about subplots.

Sunday's Expressen splashed with the most extraordinary story of the bunch. Åsa Waldau, the so-called 'Bride of Christ' and one of the leaders of the Knutby congregation, has been revealed as the mystery buyer of the pastor's house.

This, remember, is the house in which, last January, Åsa Waldau's sister - the pastor's second wife - was shot dead by the family's nanny while she slept. And in December 1999 the pastor's first wife was found dead in their bathtub. At the time her death was recorded as an accident but now the pastor is accused of her murder, as well as being an accomplice in the murder of his second wife.

Åsa Waldau and her husband, Patrik Waldau, were already part-owners of the property since the pastor was refused a bank loan by himself. But rather than selling up, they have paid an undisclosed sum for full ownership of the 170 square metre pad.

"The events have nothing to do with the house itself," said Patrik Waldau, who at least had the good grace to acknowledge that he and his wife were taking over the property "with mixed feelings". Apparently they haven't yet decided whether to move into the place or let it out.

"It's not going to be the easiest place to hire out," he admitted.

As Expressen pointed out, the light grey house has become a symbol of the Knutby story, with people visiting the village just to take pictures of it.

"We're thinking of painting it," Waldau confirmed.

Monday's papers brought the news that Åsa Waldau is having a breakdown and is being treated by a psychotherapist.

"She feels as though someone has stolen her life," her husband told Aftonbladet. "She can't live freely anymore, even though she hasn't done anything wrong."

Åsa Waldau has certainly been the focus of much of the media attention throughout the course of the trial. Until her appearance as a witness she was depicted as the mystical, powerful leader of the Knutby sect - not least by the pastor himself, who blamed her for the breakdown of his marriages. But when she was cross-examined she said that the 'Bride of Christ' concept was not of her doing and that her power had been greatly exaggerated.

Patrik Waldau said that she did not choose the fame that has been thrust upon her, and she doesn't feel good about it. As a way of dealing with the situation - and her media-imposed seclusion - Åsa Waldau is said to be writing down her account of everything that has happened since her younger sister Alexandra was murdered in January.

"Of course, it could be a book," said her husband. "We'll have to wait and see."

The pastor's mistress at the time of the murder of his second wife - who is married to Daniel Linde, the intended second victim of the nanny's gun - has chosen a more direct route to some ready cash. She has been awarded over 100,000 crowns in compensation for her two weeks in jail on suspicion of involvement in the killing.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, this is ten times higher than the normal payment.

"This is clearly higher than usual," said her lawyer, Roger Häggquist, "but we find it hard to understand why she got less than the 35 year old in the Anna Lindh trial."

The woman was in custody between 28th January and 11th February and the investigation into her role in the affair was closed at the end of April. She was seeking 200,000 crowns compensation for her "suffering" and justified the inflated amount on the grounds of the "extreme media attention" that the case brought upon her.

Extreme media attention is exactly what the more musical members of the Knutby congregation will be hoping for this year. They're planning to release a record of songs of praise. Yes, you read it correctly. But it's worth repeating: the Knutby congregation is planning to release a record.

Story continues below…

"We want people to be able to hear our songs," said Anna Alexandersson, one of the congregation's songwriters.

One of Knutby's other pastors, Peter Gembäck - a key trial witness who claimed that the pastor had asked him how professional killers avoid having their mobile phone calls traced - said that there had been plans to record a collection of songs for a while.

"We've had other priorities recently, what with the trial and all that, but now we want to put out a record as soon as possible," he told Aftonbladet.

"We have a guy in the congregation who has his own studio," said Gembäck. "He's going to let us use it."

Anna Alexandersson told Aftonbladet that it's still too early to say when the record will be in the shops.

"Maybe six months..." she hinted. 'Songs of Knutby' as a Christmas number one? The bets are on.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available