A Swedish pastor was jailed for life today for manipulating his former nanny into murdering his wife, using mobile phone text messages he said were from God to convince her to commit the crime.
The Uppsala District Court ruled that Helge Fossmo, 32, a Pentecostal church pastor, convinced Sara Svensson, 27, to shoot his wife as she was sleeping in their house in Knutby, near Stockholm.
She also shot Fossmos’ neighbour, Daniel Linde, who survived the attack.
Svensson, who was deemed mentally ill by a panel of judges, was sentenced to psychiatric care.
She admitted the shootings, but maintained that Fossmo convinced her to do it, in part by sending her text messages on her mobile phone he claimed were from God.
Prosecutors said Fossmo wanted his wife and Linde, the neighbour, dead so he could start a new life with Linde’s wife, with whom he allegedly had been having an affair.
During the trial Svensson said Fossmo convinced her that killing his wife and neighbour was the only way to win God’s grace.
She said Fossmo manipulated her for months, making her feel unloved by God.
“I was a robot, programmed to kill,” Svensson told the court.
The court believed her claims, writing in its ruling that it was clear that Fossmo, “through intense, purposeful and long-lasting influence has made Sara Svensson commit the murder.”
The court acquitted Fossmo on charges of murdering his first wife, Helene Fossmo, who was found dead in their bathtub in 1999.
That death was originally declared an accident after medical examiners decided she hit her head on a bath tap after a fall.
But during the trial, prosecutors reopened the investigation into Helene’s death, claiming that Fossmo had killed her by bashing her head against the tap.
The court, however, found there was insufficient evidence to prove that Helene’s death had not been an accident.