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Knutby: It's not over till...

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11:19 CEST+02:00
So the final course in the notorious 'Knutby drama' was served up to a public more concerned with the recapture of four dangerous fugitives from a prison south of Stockholm. Perhaps it was inevitable that a nation that gorged itself on the feast of sex, murder and religion would be unwilling to return to the table for dessert.

Last Friday Pastor Helge Fossmo was sentenced to life in prison for instigating the attempted murder and murder of his second wife Alexandra and the attempted murder of his lover's husband, neighbour Daniel Linde. Fossmo's children's nanny, Sara Svensson, was found guilty of committing the murder and attempted murder under the influence of Fossmo and sentenced to psychiatric care.

Fossmo's lawyer immediately appealed against the restrictions on the jailed pastor, which prevent him from accepting phone calls or visitors (other than supervised meetings with his children and sister) and promised to appeal against the sentences themselves, while criminologists claimed prison may be the most dangerous place for him.

Professor Leif G W Persson told Dagens Nyheter that, depending on his status among his fellow inmates, "it's possible that he could be beaten to death".

"It's not especially advantageous to let one woman shoot your own wife," he said. "If the life sentence stands, he'll be among tough prisoners who are not impressed by Pentecostal pastors who have their women killed."

Persson did admit, however, that Fossmo obviously has the power of persuasion and may manage in the clink after all.

The state prosecutor is considering an appeal as well, for though Fossmo was convicted and given maximum sentencing, he was cleared of responsibility in the death of his first wife Helene in 1999. Nevertheless, DN and Svenska Dagbladet reported that the court has left a door open in that case, remarking that circumstances do not look good for Fossmo but evidence "did not add up to a conviction beyond the shadow of a doubt".

As for Sara Svensson, her lawyer told the press that she is relieved that she will receive treatment, but "doesn't feel all that good".

And what of the supporting cast members? They've not sung their swan songs yet - but apparently they're working on it. Readers may recall that the congregation announced in June it would release an album of inspiring music. Now, Åsa Waldau, known as the sect's "Bride of Christ," has, according to Aftonbladet, nearly finished recording a calypso-inspired album with religious lyrics.

"She doesn't want to be a star," Waldau's sister told the tabloid, adding that the goal isn't to make money. "We have done this because we believe in God."

Publisher Solo has nothing against making money on its new board game inspired by the Knutby case. According to Wednesday's Aftonbladet, with a roll of the dice players could be having sex with the pastor in the guest bedroom (if the laundry room is occupied), or undergoing an exorcism after eating too many cheese balls.

But the game has sparked criticism from one of Knutby's other pastors, Peter Gembäck:

"This is a murder case we're talking about, not a game. Whoever made this up ought to be ashamed."

Dodi Axelson

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