To that list we can now add sordid erotica. For this week, as the trial continued in Stockholm’s Svea Appeals Court, the defendants revealed intimate details of their sex lives which had only been touched upon in the initial trial. And the media didn’t hold back in its reporting. You have been warned.
Most of Wednesday’s hearing was taken up by Sara Svensson who followed last week’s blow-by-blow account of the murder with a not dissimilar description of her sex life with Pastor Helge Fossmo.
Svensson lived for over six months in the bedroom of Helge and Alexandra Fossmo. Alexandra, Fossmo’s wife who was shot by Svensson in January, was forced to move out “so that Sara could be by Helge’s side permanently, during his so-called spiritual struggle”.
She told the court how in 2001 they “entered a into a union” which was “crowned with intercourse”.
“I never would have had a sexual relationship with Helge or moved in to their bedroom if I hadn’t thought it was right,” she said. “But when he caressed me sexually and said it was right I believed him.”
Thursday’s Expressen explained that Helge Fossmo’s lawyer, Ola Nordström, was keen to demonstrate to the court Sara Svensson’s strong feelings for the pastor. This would back up his contention that the reason she shot Fossmo’s wife was not because she was brainwashed by him but because she was jealous of their relationship.
“Helge said to me that only through sex can I be healthy, strong and clear,” said Svensson. “The power of our love was meant to make Helge a conqueror.”
When Fossmo himself was questioned for the last hour on Wednesday and throughout Thursday, he attempted to portray himself not as the conqueror but as the conquered.
Speaking more openly than in the first trial – apparently because he “no longer has any interest in trying to protect members of the congregation” – Fossmo described his numerous extra-marital relationships as “not in any way uncommon in Knutby”.
He said that Sara Svensson was “skilled and full of initiative” where sex was concerned, despite her self-professed inexperience. When he asked her how she managed it, she allegedly told him that Jesus had shown her what she should do.
“And I liked the result of what Jesus taught her,” said the pastor.
But, just like last time around, he reserved his main attack for Åsa Waldau, the leader of the Knutby congregation and so-called Bride of Christ. He claimed that he was Waldau’s “sex slave”, echoing the words of Sara Svensson last week, who said that she was the pastor’s sex slave.
“I had to caress her, to satisfy her sexually with my hands,” he said. “It was one-way love. I existed for her.”
He said that their relationship began as colleagues, but then “she began to talk of heavenly love”. Fossmo’s first wife became dissatisfied with the long days he spent working with Waldau. He said that it was Waldau who first spoke of his first wife’s death.
Fossmo accused Waldau of saying that if his wife didn’t change her attitude “God would call her home”.
“It was an awful thought for me,” he said. “I began to have nightmares about Heléne’s death. I saw her in a car accident, I saw her die of cancer, surrounded by wires and equipment.”
Helge Fossmo is facing charges of killing his first wife in 1999. But, fighting back tears, he told the court how he discovered her body at their home:
“She lay face down in the bathtub. I screamed, ran into the bathroom and lifted her up towards me. She was lifeless and I became hysterical.”
His actions after her death – immediately taking her things to a second hand shop, falsifying her death documents and getting engaged again soon after – were the subject of much scrutiny in the first trial. But Fossmo claimed that at this time he was under the influence of Åsa Waldau.
Days after the death of his first wife, he said, he was told who his next wife would be.
“Åsa said that she had been out and had spoken with God. God had said to her that her sister would be my new wife.”