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Helén murder suspect “claimed to have killed”

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

The trial of Ulf Olsson, who is accused of killing 10 year old Helén Nilsson and 26 year old Jannica Ekblad fifteen years ago, continued this week in Lund district court.

On Wednesday, people who knew Olsson in the late 80s painted a disturbing picture of his character and on Thursday the court considered whether it was the defendant who confessed to the murders in a phone call earlier this year.

At the end of the 1980s Ulf Olsson was working as a toolmaker. Although a witness described him as “very, very clever” he disturbed his colleagues with his “constant coarse, perverted comments about women” and was often drunk on the job.

Dagens Nyhter reported that a year after Helén Nilsson was murdered in March 1989, Olsson moved to Vimmerby, where he had frequent contact with the local social services. Two of the officers testified on Wednesday, and Expressen said that they described “a man seeking help, who felt ill”.

“Ulf talked about things he had done,” said one. “About his divorce, about his spy work, about the codes you have to write as a spy. I became convinced that he had killed two people.”

DN went back to the witness statements the welfare officers gave in the preliminary investigation to give readers an idea of their views of Olsson:

“Sometimes he said sick things that I just pushed away. He talked about causing children harm so that someone would know how bad he felt, how tough he had had it. He said that he had killed two people in North Africa and that he was afraid the police would catch up with him.”

One of the witnesses said in court that Olsson was “emotionless and hated women”, calling them “bitches and whores”. Another described how he had heard Olsson speak of “beating children and denying someone food and drink”.

According to the prosecutor’s charges against Olsson, he kept Helén Nilsson 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”.

When Olsson was invited to respond to the welfare officers’ testimonies, he said, “No comment.”

On Thursday the court focused on what appears to be a key factor in the case. Since the murders, police have received up to ten anonymous letters and telephone calls from someone claiming responsibility.

In May 2004 a retired policeman, Per-Åke Åkesson – also, as Svenska Dagbladet pointed out – the name of the current chief investigator – received an anonymous phone call. The voice said that the call was to do with Helén and Jannica.

“I took them both,” said the man.

The policeman tried to get the caller to say more but the man said: “Do you think I’m stupid?”

Police are convinced that the call came from Ulf Olsson’s mobile phone, having found the phone card in his jacket during a raid on his house in Vimmerby. The call was made in Kalmar and a young woman has told police that she met Olsson in Kalmar around the time of the call.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen