Crime technicians and police investigators believe 16-year-old Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne was subjected to blows from a blunt weapon while she was held inside a camping van used by the 38-year-old man charged with her murder. He continues to deny killing Schjetne, claiming at his trial that “I have never in my life taken the life of anyone willingly.”
Prosecutor Nina Prebe, picking up on his choice of words, asked whether he had ever killed anyone by accident and if he had, in such an accident, killed the young woman referred to consistently in the media as “Sigrid.” He answered with a short “no.”
As the first week of his trial drew to a close, evidence presented in court Thursday included the discovery of Sigrid’s blood in at least six different places inside the camping van. Crime technician Arvid Bjelkåsen, who has special competence in examining blood at crime scenes, testified that DNA testing confirmed it was Sigrid’s blood inside the camper and also on a bedboard that had been removed from the camper but was found inside the large barn where the camper was stored. The defendant, originally from Ålesund, had lived in the camper while in Oslo.
DNA testing confirmed evidence of both himself and Sigrid in the camping van, and that the area around the bed showed signs of cleaning. The defendant has explained a sudden urge to clean the camper by saying he’d had a visit from a woman and saw the camper in new light. He had no explanation for the presence of Sigrid’s blood, suggesting it could have come from “a dead pigeon.” He earlier has claimed that he has little or no memory of his movements around the time Sigrid disappeared, on August 4, 2012.
Her body was found a month later in a forested area at Kolbotn, wrapped in bed linens, a tarp and plastic that police believe were taken out of the camping van. Police experts testified in court that they believe her body was dumped from the top of a slope to the spot where it was found.
Police have been unable to determine a cause or time of death, with a coroner testifying that he can’t be sure the violence to which she was subjected caused her death. Both her autopsy and examination by a doctor concluded that the actual cause of death is unknown. Nor can they for certain say when she died.
The defendant continues to deny he has any psychiatric problems, although he has a long history of violence and psychiatric treatment and admitted to hearing voices that he thinks he can control without medication. He says it’s the psychiatrists who have problems, not him. Two of three court-appointed psychiatrists have ruled that he is capable of standing trial, as he insists as well, but prosecutors want him committed to psychiatric treatment. His trial was due to continue next week.