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Helge Arnold FOSSMO





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Pentecostal pastor - Persuading his lover, the family nanny, to murder his wife
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: December 18, 1999 / January 10, 2004
Date of birth: July 27, 1971
Victims profile: HelÚne Johansson (his first wife) / Alexandra Fossmo (his second wife)
Method of murder: Drowning / Shooting
Location: Knutby, Uppsala County, Sweden
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on July 30, 2004

photo gallery


The SMS murder mystery, by Robert Burnett


Helge Arnold Fossmo (1971- ), a pentecostal pastor sentenced to life imprisonment for solicitation of the Knutby murder in Sweden in 2004.

Life before Knutby

Helge Fossmo originated from the village of Bj÷rneborg, close to Kristinehamn in Sweden. His parents were Norwegian. The family was not particularly religious, but when he was about ten years old Helge joined the scouting organization of the Mission Covenant Church in Bj÷rneborg. Not long before he turned twelve he was born again.

He went to highschool in Kristinehamn. He volunteered in a christian youth cafÚ. At age 17 he met HelÚne Johansson, his future wife.

In 1989 he joined the Pentecostal church of Kristinehamn, where also HelÚne was a member. After graduation, he studied in Karlstad to become a science teacher, but he dropped out. For a while he worked as a teacher in his old school in Bj÷rneborg.

In the spring of 1993 Helge Fossmo was involved with Jaspis. In Kristinehamn this was a small group inspired by Ulf Ekman's Livets Ord, part of the Word of Faith movement. After a few months, however, he left Jaspis and rejoined the pentecostal church. He was then employed as a youth pastor. In May 1995, he organized a march for Jesus. The christian newspaper Dagen published Fossmo's experience of xenoglossy.

Fossmo met ┼sa Waldau for the first time in August 1993. The main pastor Claes Frankner had invited her to Kristinehamn from Knutby. His son Samuel was already an adherent of Waldau's and moved to Knutby in 1994. The Fossmos moved there in August 1997 with their two children (a third child was born in Knutby).

Work in Knutby

In Knutby, Fossmo and Waldau started in 1997 a month-long training school, which has been held three times a year since then. It attracted young Christans from all over Sweden, some of which would move to Knutby permanently. Fossmo also started the missionary foundation Aid for Nations. At first it tried to be active in Estonia. Later this foundation organized bible schools in Coimbatore (India) and in Hongkong.

Fossmo's web page with Christian links is dominated by Word of Faith (Livets Ord, Morris Cerullo, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, John Avanzini, Kenneth Copeland), but also includes Pentecostalism (IBRA Radio, Kensington Temple, Oral Roberts) and others (Willow Creek Community Church, Ray Stedman). The web page also shows strong support for the State of Israel. Later, Fossmo was photographed with the Israeli ambassador, Zvi Mazel.

The Fossmos moved to a house next to ┼sa Waldau, and Helge was spending most of his time with her. Reading the Bible, they found that the metaphorical interpretatation of Bride of Christ as the Church is not explicit in the New Testament texts. Fossmo told Waldau that if the Bride were a person, it would have to be her. Waldau then bought a gold ring with seven diamonds.

On March 29, 1999 he was the only other person present at the ceremony where ┼sa Waldau was betrothed to Jesus. She became the Bride of Christ, and also assumed a new name: Tirsa. Fossmo said in court that he had to mediate Jesus to her, by satisfying her sexually with his hands, which Waldau denied.

Murders, marriages and trials

On December 18, 1999 Helge found his wife HelÚne dead in the bathtub. Although there was a hole in her skull and although there was a toxic concentration of dextropropoxyphene in her blood, her death was ruled an accident.

Within a few months Helge Fossmo had a new wife, Alexandra, Tirsa's youngest sister. In June 2001, Fossmo fell ill in an undiagnosed disease. He was nursed by Sara Svensson, who moved into his bedroom. She divorced her husband a year later, but ┼sa Waldau did not approve of Fossmos liaison with her. She was put under church discipline and shunned - in Fossmo's bedroom, where she said she was a sex slave. Pastor Fossmo then coveted his neighbour's wife, Anette Linde. They started an affair in the autumn of 2003.

Soon thereafter, Sara Svensson started getting anonymous text messages, which she regarded as prophetic. Together with Fossmo's verbal instructions, these messages convinced her to try to kill Alexandra Fossmo.

In the early morning of November 8, 2003, she attacked Alexandra with a hammer. Alexandra woke up and resisted the attack. She called her husband who was out in his car (with his lover, Mss. Linde), as well as some church elders. Sara Svensson was sent away from the community.

The assault was not reported to the police, and the Fossmos took a plane to a Bible school in Hongkong. Secretly, Fossmo and Svensson kept in touch. The anonymous text messages also resumed. Svensson was instructed to buy a handgun (not an easy task in Sweden). She was told to shoot Daniel Linde too.

The shootings took place in the early morning of January 10, 2004. Alexandra was shot dead in the head in her bed. Daniel Linde was shot in the chest and in his mouth, but he managed to call emergency services and he survived.

The district court sentenced Fossmo to life imprisonment for solicitiation of murder of Alexandra and attempted murder of Daniel Linde, but acquitted him of the murder of HelÚne.

Fossmo appealed the convictions and the prosecutor appealed the acquittal, but the verdict was upheld. Fossmo's appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. He wrote without success to the Chancellor of Justice. He then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, but on February 13, 2007 the judges decided not to hear his case.

Admission of guilt

At the end of August 2006, Fossmo admitted guilt in an interview with TV4 and said that he would put his cards on the table for the police. Fossmo also had a new lawyer, Peter Althin. In March 2007, after three interviews, the police decided not to reopen the case.

On July 20, 2007, Helge Fossmo got married in prison.


Knutby pastor admits murder

August 31, 2006

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 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, ┼sa 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 Sj÷blom 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."

Sj÷blom added that no other people were suspected of involvement.


Appeals court upholds Knutby verdict

November 12, 2004

Pastor Helge Fossmo has been sentenced by the Appeals Court to life imprisonment for the murder of his second wife, Alexandra, and for the attempted murder of a neighbour in January of this year. He was found not guilty of the murder of his first wife in 1999

The woman who actually pulled the trigger, the family's nanny Sara Svensson, was also found guilty of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to secure psychiatric care.

The verdicts are precisely the same as those handed down by the district court in August. However, nobody was happy with the decisions first time around: Fossmo appealed against his life sentence, while the prosecutor appealed against the not guilty verdict for the murder of his first wife and wanted Svensson sentenced to life imprisonment rather than psychiatric care.

The prosecutor has indicated that she accepts the verdict and the case is not expected to proceed to the Supreme Court.

On January 10th 2004 Alexandra Fossmo was shot dead while she was asleep 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 dominates village life, and sister of the woman many claimed was the cult's real leader, ┼sa Waldau - otherwise known as the Bride of Christ.

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

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

According to Friday's Aftonbladet, the court believed her, saying in its verdict:

"In the judgement of the investigation into Sara Svensson's psychiatric state, the court cannot find grounds for any conclusion other than that she suffers from a psychiatric disorder of such a nature and extent that it constitutes a serious psychiatric disorder in the meaning of the law."


Priest gets life for 'SMS murder'

BBC News

Friday, 30 July, 2004

A Swedish pastor has been jailed for life for persuading his lover, the family nanny, to murder his wife.

A court in Uppsala found Helge Fossmo, 32, guilty of inciting Sara Svensson to shoot his wife by sending mobile phone text messages he said came from God.

Miss Svensson, 27, the family's former nanny, was judged mentally ill and placed under psychiatric care.

The court acquitted Mr Fossmo of having anything to do with a death of his first wife in 1999 in a bathtub.

'No alternative'

At the end of a bizarre case that has fascinated Sweden, Lutheran pastor Helgo Fossmo was found guilty of the incitement to kill his second wife, 23-year-old Alexandra Fossmo.

Mr Fossmo was also found guilty of inciting the former nanny to murder the husband of his second mistress, Daniel Linde.

Miss Svensson admitted to the 10 January murder of Mrs Fossmo and to shooting Mr Linde, who survived the attack.

During her earlier testimony, Miss Svensson said she was ordered to carry out the attack by mobile phone messages she believed came from God but which were traced to Mr Fossmo's cell phone.

"Suddenly Helge said to me: 'If God were to tell you to kill a human being, would you do it?'" Miss Svensson said.

"I thought it was a very strange question, but thought that if I really knew it was God saying it, I would have to obey. There would be no alternative," she said.

Mr Fossmo's defence attorney insisted during the trial that his client was innocent.

The attorney said that the former nanny misunderstood the text messages, which were meant only as spiritual guidance, not as an incentive to murder.

The trial also painted a picture of a bizarre religious community in the town north of Stockholm, controlled by a woman known as Christ's Bride, who claimed to be engaged to Jesus in a special ceremony.



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