Elderly woman’s murder ‘taboo’

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The murder of a 98-year-old woman in her own home at Os, outside Bergen, took on a new dimension Wednesday after newspaper Bergens Tidende reported that the victim also was sexually assaulted. One researcher and trauma expert called the case “extremely unusual” in Norway.

“Sexual murder of elderly persons is both unusual and a taboo topic,” Ole Kristian Hjemdal, a researcher at Norway’s national for studies of violence and traumatic stress, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He also said it would be even more unusual if the victim didn’t know her assailant.

“The elderly are the least subject to violence in our society, and a sexual murder of a 98-year-old woman is an extremely unusual case,” Hjemdal told NRK.

Killer on the loose
The case also has baffled police, who had no suspects after they released a 42-year-old man who was briefly held after being arrested Sunday night. That means a killer and molester is on the loose in the Bergen area, and local residents were both shocked and scared.

One of the victim’s neighbours in the otherwise peaceful and modern complex for senior citizens told NRK he thought the case was “incredible” and he was uneasy as well. “I don’t think people can really believe what’s happened,” he told NRK.

The woman, 98-year-old Hilda Feste, had rung the medical alarm she wore around her neck and personnel at the alarm company in turn rang local nursing staff to head for Feste’s home, after they heard what they described as “unusual noises” coming from Feste’s apartment. They failed to establish contact with her.

Nurse witnessed attack
A local nurse who cares for elderly persons in their homes was sent to the scene and reported seeing a man attacking the woman through a window, reported Bergens Tidende. The nurse immediately withdrew to safety, called police and colleagues. When they arrived, they went into the apartment and found Feste with massive head injuries.

There were no signs of break-in at her apartment, and it’s unclear whether Feste unlocked the door for her assailant or whether it already was unlocked.

Asbjørn Onarheim of the local Hordaland Police District said between 10 and 20 investigators were working on the case. “We’re facing a murder with an unknown assailant and are using considerable resources,” Onarheim told Bergens Tidende.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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