A 17-year-old girl with a history of violence who strangled and stabbed her therapist two years ago was sentenced on Friday to nine years of special custody that can keep her confined longer. It’s the first time the Norwegian courts are willing to send a minor into such custody in Norway, and the girl has appealed.
She already had appealed a lower court’s ruling that was the same as the higher court’s ruling on Friday, so now the case looks bound for the Supreme Court. The girl has not denied murdering her therapist, 30-year-old Anna Kristin Gillebo Backlund, when she was just 15. Juries in both cases, however, found her guilty of pre-meditated murder with reason to fear she’d harm others again. She was only 12 when she tried to set her own father on fire.
The attack on Backlund occurred when Backlund was working a night shift at the youth care home at Vollen in Asker. The young defendant has been ruled sane and capable of standing trial, but is now being held at a psychiatric hospital in Bergen. She’s appealing on the grounds she was not sane at the time and that minors in principle should not be sentenced to prison.
The case has attracted national attention in Norway because Norwegian law normally permits the special, unspecified length of custody known as forvaring for offenders under the age of 18 only in “extraordinary” circumstances. The girl’s history of violence and brutal murder of Backlund, who was stabbed 21 times, so far has met the Norwegian court’s definition of “extraordinary.”