In the absence of much real news this week, the tabloid editors found Knutby appealing.
Literally, in fact: Pastor Helge Fossmo decided that he would appeal against his life sentence as soon as the judgement was announced a couple of weeks ago, and on Tuesday the prosecutor also filed an appeal against part of the court’s decision.
Convicted of murdering his second wife Alexandra, Fossmo was absolved of responsibility for the death of his first wife Heléne in 1999. She was found dead in the bath, with a wound to her head. Despite the fact that the pastor changed elements of the post-mortem documentation, removing the details about the toxic concentration of dextropropoxifen found in her blood, the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that her death was murder.
This is what the prosecuting team wants the court to hear again, yet there could be more to come. Nanny Sara Svensson was sentenced to psychiatric care but Wednesday’s Expressen published hints that prosecutors want the court to reconsider her sentence too.
“It’s possible that we’ll appeal against other parts of the judgement but I don’t want to comment until we’ve discussed the matter,” said prosecutor Anne Sjöblom.
Fossmo’s lawyer Ola Nordström told Tuesday’s Dagens Nyheter that his client is innocent. “The pastor did not force the nanny to do anything. He had nothing to do with the murder of his second wife,” said Nordström. He claims the responsibility rests entirely with nanny Sara Svensson, whom he says is mentally ill.
Nordström says the pastor is doing fairly well in jail, but Expressen reported that he has written desperate letters to relatives saying he is terrified of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Expressen printed excerpts from the letter: “All the energy drained from me while the tears were falling, as soon as I heard the judgment,” Fossmo wrote. “How in the world could I have been prepared to get a life sentence for something I didn’t do?”
In the letter he expresses anger with the nanny. “Sara has really destroyed my whole life…yet I still feel sorry for her!”
According to Expressen, Sara Svensson herself has also said she’s “scared to death” of ending up in prison. Her lawyer says she “just wants to get healthy” through court-ordered treatment.
Swedish rules of justice call for the Appeals Court to hear cases no later than eight weeks after a judgement from a lower court. For Knutby fans, that means mark your calendars for September 24th.
Aug. 20, 2004