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Friday, September 01, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor confesses to murder

SWEDEN — In an interview with TV4's news programme Nyheterna, Knutby pastor Helge Fossmo has admitted involvement in the murder of his wife in their home in 2004. Fossmo also said that several others were involved in the crime.

"I feel that I have recovered. I lived a lie and I don't want to do that any longer," he said as an explanation for his confession.

On January 10, 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.

The pastor denied all accusations but was found guilty of instigating murder and attempted murder. Svensson was found guilty of murder and attempted murder in November 2004 and sentenced to secure psychiatric care.

The trial caused a sensation in Sweden and hogged the country's headlines for months, as defendants and witnesses described the cocktail of sex, violence and religion that defined the cult. But it seems that the full story has still not been told.

"I'm going to discuss what I've previously kept quiet regarding the events in Knutby," Fossmo told TV4.

"I'm going to put my cards on the table and talk about my role in what happened and other facts which I know."

The pastor says that he can admit and accept that he is responsible for what happened.

When TV4 asked if he meant both the murder of his wife and the attempted murder of the neighbour, Fossmo said yes.

"Since I left Knutby I have gone through a long process. Feelings, thoughts, behaviour - my whole self - were impregnated by a poisonous sect culture,"

He said that he has slowly recovered and that todat he sees both his own role and that of others differently.

However, Fossmo still declined to reveal specific details about what happened. He said that he did not want to give any information "that the media can wallow in". He said he was refraining out of respect for other people who were involved. He will instead hand over his information to the police.

"Then they can handle it," said Fossmo.

Anne Sjöblom was one of two prosecutors who dealt with the Knutby case.

"There isn't really much more to say since he's already been sentenced for it and we knew that he was guilty," she said to TT.

"Perhaps I'm a little surprised that he has admitted it."

Sjöblom added that no other people were suspected of involvement.