Life in prison for man who killed Swedish teen

UPDATE: A 35-year-old Lithuanian man has been found guilty of murdering Swedish teenager Lisa Holm, whose disappearance sparked one of Sweden's largest missing person searches.

Life in prison for man who killed Swedish teen
Swedish teenager Lisa Holm. Photo: Police handout

Skaraborg District Court handed Nerijus Bilevicius a life sentence on Tuesday morning.

Lisa Holm, 17, was killed after she went missing in June following a shift at a cafe in Blomberg near Lidköping in western Sweden.

Although an autopsy found that the teenager had not been sexually assaulted, she was partially unclothed when she was found and her mouth had been taped shut. 

Lisa Holm's disappearance sparked a huge search operation. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Bilevicius, who lived in Blomberg at the time of the murder, had denied any connection to the crime. But his blood was found on Holm’s coat and on a piece of rope. Traces of his semen were found in the barn.

His lawyer Inger Rönnbäck had told the trial that her client had masturbated in the building, where he sometimes worked. However the court went on the prosecutor's line, who had advocated a life sentence.

Despite being handed a life sentence, it is likely that his prison term will be reduced after a number of years, as is customary in Sweden, and Bilevicius was told that he would subsequently be deported from the country.

The court's chairwoman Anna-Karin Lundberg on Tuesday. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The verdict said that Holm was killed on June 7th in a barn in Blomberg, after which she was taken to the place her body was found a few kilometres from the area.

It said forensic evidence including traces of Bilevicius' DNA strongly indicated that he was guilty. It also noted that he lacked an alibi for the time of the murder.

“If there had been [DNA] traces on an item of clothing, that could have been accepted. But there are so many traces, both on the scene of the crime and where the body was found,” the court's chairwoman Anna-Karin Lundberg told the TT news agency after the verdict was pronounced.

The court added in the verdict that it had been established without a doubt that Holm was murdered. A forensic examination indicated she was killed through strangulation and hanging.

Bilevicius' defence lawyer Inger Rönnbäck told TT around midday that she had not been able to read the whole ruling, but said she had spoken briefly to her client on the phone.

“He is devastated. He is still of the firm opinion that he is innocent,” she said. “We're going to decide next if we're going to appeal [the sentence], which is likely.”