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Knutby pastor could lose guardianship of children

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13:08 CET+01:00
Despite having been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his second wife in Knutby in January 2004, Pastor Helge Fossmo is still the legal guardian of his three children.

Now, Uppsala social services is considering transferring the guardianship of the children to Fossmo's sister, with whom they currently live.

After the local social services came under fire for allowing Fossmo to remain the children's legal guardian - which means, among other things, that he must be consulted about where they live - the county administrative board launched an investigation into the matter.

It concluded that Uppsala social services did nothing wrong in allowing Fossmo to have legal responsibility for his children. Nor was it wrong for them to live with Fossmo's sister.

But, speaking to Wednesday's Dagens Nyheter, the head of family care in Uppsala said that since the Supreme Court has declined to hear Fossmo's case, his status with regard to his children could be changed.

"Now that we have the final result to hand, there is a reason to reconsider," said Mary Nilsson.

However, she rejected the criticism that Fossmo had prevented the parents of the children's mother - who died in mysterious circumstances in 1999 - from seeing them.

"If that had been the case we would have dealt with it," she said. "We understand the decision was made on the condition that we would support contact with relatives."

DN pointed out that since he will be in prison for a considerable length of time, Fossmo is hardly in a position to "take an active part in their development" and

"provide for their best interests".

But according to Swedish Radio, Fossmo himself has not yet given up hope of having his guilty verdict, delivered by the appeal court in December, overturned.

He has written to the Office of the Chancellor of Justice to lodge a petition for a new hearing. Fossmo is arguing that it is "to say the least, a judicial catastrophe" that the judgement against him was based on the witness statement of one person - the nanny, Sara Svensson, who shot his wife and was found by the court to be seriously psychologically disturbed.

Fossmo is also critical of the way in which the police and prosecutors handled the case.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, SR, Upsala Nya Tidning

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