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Knutby nanny seeks release

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16:44 CET+01:00
In 2004 Sara Svenssson, 'the nanny' in the Knutby courtroom drama, was convicted of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to institutional care.

Soon however she may be ushered back into the community, and staff at Vadstena clinic in central Sweden have already moved her one step closer to the outside world.

"We call it a half-way house because the inhabitant is close to freedom. It is a test flight," Mats Dernevik, a psychiatrist at Vadstena clinic, told Svenska Dagbladet.

This Thursday the county administrative court will decide whether or not to grant Svensson leave. Should the verdict go in her favour she will be permitted to to spend eight hours with relatives away from the clinic. Staff from the institution will drive her there and back.

The court will base its decision on expert recommendations from Vadstena clinic's risk assessment group, the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports.

"We follow a checklist where we look at a patient's life story, previous acts of violence, and what age at time of first offence. We also look for any psychological anomalies, as well as how the patient manages with work and different social contexts," said Dernevik.

The checklist is designed to calculate the risk of recidivism.

"A patient will normally spend six to twelve months at the half-way house. If there is no indication that the risk has increased, the patient will be left in the hands of the local psychiatric division in their home town," said Dernevik.

On January 10th 2004 Alexandra Fossmo was shot dead while she slept in the village of Knutby, not far from Uppsala. She was the wife of Pastor Helge Fossmo, one of the leaders of the extreme Pentecostal sect that dominated village life, and sister of the woman many claimed was the cult's real leader, Åsa Waldau - otherwise known as the Bride of Christ.

A short while later, the killer knocked on the door of a neighbour - whose wife was having an affair with the pastor - and shot him as he opened the door. He survived.

The Fossmos' nanny, Sara Svensson, admitted to the shootings from the start, but claimed that she was being controlled by the manipulative pastor.

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