Key figures talk about Knutby’s bloodshed in the HBO documentary series.
The what happened in the village of Knutby in Sweden has been compared to Twin Peaks, and not swampy.
Knutby is a village of a few hundred inhabitants near Uppsala. The small village is known for its Pentecostal church, which has become a cult, and for some deaths that have remained unclear.
On January 10, 2004, after half five early morning, 30-year-old Daniel Lindeä shot at home. Linde got help and survived. His neighbor, 23 years old Alexandra Fossmo was found dead in his bed.
Alexandra Fossmo was a pastor Helge Fossmon wife and her neighbor Daniel Linde the husband of the same pastor’s mistress.
Soon a former babysitter for the Fossmon family, 26 years old Sara Svensson acknowledged both acts of violence. He told police he had acted on instructions from the text messages he received. He believed the messages came from God.
Svensson was convicted of murder and attempted murder and ordered to psychiatric treatment. Pastor Fossmo was sentenced to life imprisonment for inciting both acts.
It turned out that Fossmo and Svensson had had a relationship and were in very close contact before the killings, even though the rest of the congregation had previously excluded Svensson from the community. Svensson relied on Fossmo’s spiritual guidance.
Many questions remained open. One of them is what really happened to Fossmon’s first wife Helénelle.
Heléne was found dead in her bathtub in December 1999. The death was then interpreted as an accident, even though considerable amounts of drugs were found in Helénne’s blood.
Knutbyn the congregation was disbanded in 2018. After that, some of those involved dared to talk about the events and admit that it was indeed a sect.
That’s when the reporters investigated Anton Berg and Martin Johnson decided to go through all the material the police collected about the case.
– We knew that not all the results of the technical investigation were in line with what had been said, Berg says in an interview with IS.
Berg and Johnson already knew the case closely, after all, Knutby’s murders are world-famous in Sweden, they joke.
A six-part documentary series was created from the study Pray, Obey, Kill, which will soon be seen on HBO. The series is directed by Henrik Georgsson, which is best known for the Bridge series.
The captivating series sees new interviews with both the police officers who investigated the case and many of its central figures. Both Helge Fossmo, who is still serving his prison sentence, and Sara Svensson, whose psychiatric treatment ended in 2011, will be in front of the camera.
In addition to these, we see how Fossmo and Svensson reported on the events in videotaped police interrogations in 2004. The series also sees material that was not even shown in court.
Knutbyn the events are a story of power and its abuse.
The church lived for God, and the pastors said they heard his voice better than others. Others were taught to suppress their own feelings and trust what the pastors told them. Difficult issues were dealt with within the community.
A warning had already been received. Two months before the killing work, Svensson had hit sleeping Alexandra with a hammer on the head. The injuries were mild and the police were not told. The situation was resolved by sending Svensson out of Knutby.
– Normal people would have called the police, and the story would have ended there. They did not do so because they thought they had their own law or the law of God, which is more important than the law of Sweden. That’s why all of this kind of happened, Berg says.
The story of the church eventually ended with the revelation of sexual abuse.
Sex was one of the ways in which power in the sect was exercised. Eventually, one of the preachers went too far and the other decided to share his information with the police.
One of the pastors was convicted of sexual abuse after having sex with a 17-year-old girl. At the same time, the court also dealt with other violence in the church and its leader, known as the “Bride of Christ” Åsa Waldau was convicted of eight assaults. The pastor who brought the events to the attention of the police also received a conviction for the assault himself.
Helge Fossmo later said the text messages Svensson received were originally from Waldau.
– We have told a story about the abuse of power within the church, but there is also another level, Johnsson says.
When Berg and Johnson started their work, they had in mind as well Thomas Quickin case. That’s why they wanted to see all the material possible.
Thomas Quickin aka his current name Sture Bergwallin the case has been described as the worst scandal in Swedish legal history.
Quick confessed to dozens of unsolved murders and between 1994 and 2000 he was convicted of eight of them. The confessions were based on the news he read about his cases. He later withdrew his confession and it turned out that the preliminary investigation asked him introductory questions. The sentences were set aside.
Although, according to Berg, the police also did a really great job at Knutby, the Knutby investigation made exactly the same mistakes as in the Quick case.
– There will always be people who do bad things. That’s why it’s extremely important that those in power don’t pull corners straight, Johnson says.
Source site www.is.fi