15-year-old’s murder trial underway

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A 15-year-old girl with a record of violence admitted in court this week that she murdered one of her therapists last autumn at the child welfare home in Asker where she was living. She denied the murder was premeditated.

Anne Kristin Gillebo Backlund, age 30, died as result of strangling and stab wounds, according to the autopsy report after she was attacked at the house where child welfare agency Barnevernet had placed the young defendant. Backlund’s entire family, including three brothers, her husband, her parents and sister are following the court proceedings in a case that’s been called “unique” because of the young age of the defendant and the issues it raises about punishment of minors and the safety of welfare workers.

Prosecutors are asking for the special form of custody called forvaring that’s meant to protect the public from repeat offenders. It can technically keep a convict in prison for life, but that troubles legal experts because of the confessed murderer’s youth. If convicted of murder, the girl is subject to Norway’s maximum prison term of 21 years.

Her defense attorney is challenging the conclusion of court-appointed psychiatrists who claim the 15-year-old girl was not psychotic at the time of the murder. She claims her client is mentally ill and should be committed to psychiatric care. The trial is due to last two weeks.

newsinenglish.no staff