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1989 double murder suspect facing trial

For the full background to this story, see DNA nails killer.

One of Sweden’s most shocking murder cases in recent years appeared to enter its final stage on Monday as a man was formally charged with the murders of 10 year old Helén Nilsson and 26 year old Jannica Ekblad fifteen years ago.

In March 1989 Helén disappeared from near her home in Hörby, Skåne. Six days later her naked body was found in a plastic bag in a forest 25km from her home. In August of the same year Jannica Ekblad was found dead in a similar type of bag.

Forensic investigators took semen from Helén’s body but it wasn’t until last year that a new method of analysis was applied to the sample.

52 year old Ulf Olsson had been on the fringes of the investigation for years and was among a group of men whose DNA was compared to the sample earlier in the year. In July police announced that his DNA matched the sample and arrested him at his home in Småland.

Expressen reprinted the full charges against Olsson. The prosecutor stated that after abducting Helén, Olsson kept her between the 10th and 16th of March 1989 “without access to food or drink”. He is alleged to have raped her on at least one occasion and “at the end of the time period put a noose around her neck and strangled her, at the same time as giving her around twenty powerful blows to the head with some kind of tool”.

According to the prosecutor, Jannica Ekblad suffered a similar fate. Olsson “hit her with some kind of weapon over her whole body as well as strangling her with his hands or a noose”.

As Dagens Nyheter pointed out, there is “strong evidence against the suspected double murderer”.

The laboratory which analysed the semen taken from Helén’s body said that the probability that it is not Olsson’s is one in fifteen million. Once Olsson was identified, police investigated a cottage he owned in 1989 where they found traces of Jannica Ekblad’s blood.

The prosecutor’s case will, according to DN, also be backed up by several witnesses. Among them is an acquaintance she met the night before she was murdered. She is said to have told him, “If anything happens the guy is tall and thin and has a Volvo estate.” Olsson had such a car at the time.

But according to Expressen the prosecutor’s “trump card” was revealed on Monday: a pubic hair from Olsson. The DNA from the hair matches that from the semen.

“We have found a pubic hair from him on a bit of tape which sealed the sack Helén lay in,” said the chief prosecutor Pär Andersson. “This means that we can tie him even more strongly to the murder.”

The evidence presented on Monday also included anonymous letters and telephone calls which revealed that Olsson could have tried to admit to the murders on up to ten occasions since 1989.

Aftonbladet reported that Pär Andersson is convinced that the source of the contact was Olsson himself and carried a photograph of a letter crudely prepared with letters cut out from a newspaper. Police received this first letter in 1989 and it referred to “the bloody loneliness” and “bullying at work by the women”.

The tabloid said that police have linked Olsson to the first phone call they received in 1991, but “then it was silent for many years”. Another call in 2002 also appears to have been from Olsson.

“The strongest evidence is a new call and admission in the spring,” said Aftonbladet. “Retired police inspector Per-Åke Åkesson took the call and heard a man admitting to both the murders. That call came from Ulf Olsson’s mobile phone.”

The trial begins in Lund on Friday.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet, Expressen