A 38-year-old man convicted last year of abducting and killing 16-year-old Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne again denied any guilt or mental illness on the first day of his appeals trial on Tuesday. The girl’s disappearance in August 2012 sparked one of the biggest civilian search responses in Norway.
The lawyer for the man, John Christian Elden, lodged an appeal immediately after his client was convicted and sentenced to psychiatric care last October. In the Oslo appeal court on Tuesday, the man was asked how he felt about having abducted and killed Schjetne. He denied having done so, and said he did not understand why he’d been convicted, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
The man brought with him four notebooks of articles and newspaper clippings, concerning both his own and other cases. He looked through them several times, pointing things out to his legal team. Elden said his client had gathered documentation on the so-called Sigrid case for a long time, and had developed his own theories about what had happened to the girl. “These are his notes, which he has gathered,” Elden told NRK. “He has the opportunity to do this, like everyone else.”
When asked how he felt about questions of sanity, the man replied it was obviously difficult for some to tell the difference between stress and psychosis. “I have explained myself to the police, but they have twisted it,” he said. “I have not been psychotic at all.” Prosecutors hope to call the man’s doctor as a witness on questions of sanity, but Elden said his client had not freed the GP from his duty of confidentiality which would allow him to testify.
The man sat just a metre away from Schjetne’s parents in the courtroom. They hope to get more information about how and why their daughter was killed during the trial. Sigrid disappeared in Oslo in August 2012. Hundreds of civilians joined in the search and police received more than 3,000 tips. Two men were arrested at a workshop a month later, and her body was found that night in a nearby forest. The charges against one man were dropped, but the 38-year-old was sentenced last year despite disagreement over his sanity.