The double murders in Bergen shocked an entire city in January of last year – first when the two dead were found hiding in a popular picnic spot, and then when the horrific circumstances surrounding the actual killing became known.
– This is a particularly brutal murder case, and it was also criminally difficult because the bodies were lying in a river, says Attorney General Benedict Hordnes.
The trial began on Monday in Hordaland County Court, where five men were charged. Two of them are charged with murder, one with complicity in the murder and the other two for attempting to destroy and remove evidence by participating in the dumping of corpses.
- A 58-year-old man pleaded guilty to both crimes, but had reservations about the woman’s murder guilt issue.
- A 34-year-old Pole also charged with the murders, and a 24-year-old Norwegian charged with complicity, have pleaded not guilty.
- A 34-year-old Norwegian has pleaded guilty to attempting to remove evidence.
The accused was not present
The fifth defendant, a 38-year-old man accused of removing evidence, was not present when the case began on Monday.
His defender, Kjetil Ottesen, wondered if he could sleep. He told the judge that he had spoken to the client before the weekend and was ready to meet.
Prosecutor Hurdnis suggested that the police come out and arrest the man. Before her opening speech, negotiations were postponed due to technical problems with translation equipment.
– missed badly
The victims were married couple Celje, 29, and Jan Austin Ask Helby, 42. The woman’s family does not want the media to use her family name.
Celji was a caring mother, daughter, and sister who was sorely missed by the family. They have been afraid of the issue for a long time. The past 1.5 years have been marked by difficult emotions such as sadness, loss and anger, says development aid attorney Ivar Plekra.
He demands a response and that the accused bear responsibility
Blikra helps my father and 29-year-old daughter. He says the family is looking forward to the trial being over.
They hope the case will give them answers to many of the questions they have, even though Selji’s brutal murder would be incomprehensible to them anyway.
Cecily Walvic is an assistant attorney for Helby’s parents. It is also important that they get an answer for what happened.
– The time after the accident was incredibly difficult and heavy for the family. They expect a very stressful and difficult trial. Walvic told NRK that they want those who committed the misdeeds to be held accountable for their actions.
Two bodies were found under the tarpaulin
The alarm went off just after 12.00 on Monday 13 January 2020, when hikers called the police and were told they had seen blood bodies in a river just off Osavatnet at the top of Bjørndalen in Arna. The place is located at the foot of Gullfjellet, the highest mountain in Bergen, and is a popular hiking area.
At 12.45, the police left and found a dead woman under the green tarpaulin. When forensic technicians arrived on the scene at 15:30, they found another dead person, this time a man.
The obvious stab wounds and stab wounds to the bodies led police to immediately establish the two had been killed.
Maybe lying and sleeping
Helby lived in a shelter at Møllendalsveien in the Ørsted district of Bergen.
When the police arrived to inspect his room after identifying the victims, they were greeted by a horrific sight. The room must have had very visible traces of widespread violence.
Prosecutors believe that both were killed in the room and then taken to Arna and dumped in Osavatnet.
According to the prosecutor, Hordnes, the two victims may have been asleep when the perpetrators approached them.
You must have used a knife and an ax
Already that evening, two men were arrested and charged in the case, including a 58-year-old previously convicted that prosecutors believe is the main man behind the murder. The 58-year-old was in prison line at the time of the crime.
Four other men were arrested and charged. The police later dropped the charges against one of them. The other five are now all charged up.
Three of these are linked to the crime scene. In addition to the 58-year-old man, a 34-year-old night watchman in the hospice has been charged with participating in the actual murder, which is said to have occurred on Sunday 12 January between 03.00 and 08.00. The two of them should use a knife and an ax respectively.
The night watchman must have also made sure that the surveillance cameras are closed.
It is said that a 24-year-old man stood outside and watched.
One of the main questions will be who did what and when. Explanations differ about what is happening inside the room, says Attorney General Hurdness.
The other two are accused of extracting evidence and participating in the dumping of bodies at OsavatNet. One of them also got the car that was used to transport the bodies. Both plead guilty.
The supposed director admitted
The 58-year-old admitted during questioning to the murder of Helby and was expected to plead guilty when the trial begins in Bergen County Court on Monday. In the first confession, he confessed to both crimes.
The attorney general said he has now changed the interpretation.
– Prosecutor General Hordnes says he now denies killing the woman.
In court on Monday, he pleaded guilty to the murder of Helby and pleaded guilty to the woman’s murder.
Both other people associated with the crime scene denied the criminal charge in court.
– I am innocent. The Polish night watchman said at the beginning of the case that this is not true.
All those involved in the murder case are connected to the drug environment in Bergen and most of them will know each other before.
The nursing home in Møllendalsveien is an address already known to the police. One of the accused was arrested in the municipal apartment building in Loon in Arna which recently burned to the ground.
It means knowing the motive
One of the main issues during the upcoming trial is the motive behind the murder.
A week after the discovery, the police believed that they knew the cause of the murder of the couple, but so far they did not want to say anything about this in public.
Helby is said to have been subjected to violence by the 58-year-old girl and one of the defendants the night before the murder, while the woman was said to have received threats via social media in the time before the murder.
Four weeks were allotted to the overall trial.
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