‘Help me, I have a body in the car’

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A remarkable murder trial has been unfolding in the Hedmark County Court in Hamar this week. The husband of a woman he’d first reported missing, but whose body later was found packed into plastic in a river, denies he killed her while also admitting to working feverishly to remove all signs of a quarrel and her blood, packing her body into his car and driving around with it while he pondered what to do.

Murder defendant Svein Jemtland has also admitted to telling his son what to say to police, sending false messages to her mobile phone and lying about his wife’s whereabouts when Janne Jemtland disappeared after a party between Christmas and New Year last winter. On Thursday, a witness testified that Svein Jemtland offered him NOK 200,000 to help him get rid of her body.

“I was actually shocked,” the witness testified, when he met “a dishelved, unclear and stressed” Jemtland on December 29. “It was like, ‘now you have to help me, I have a body.’ I said, ‘huh? Are you kidding?'” Jemtland allegedly answered, “no, I have a body in the car. And a weapon.'”

Jemtland is charged with murdering his wife, whose body was found on January 13, weighted down by a large battery, in the Glomma River at Våler, several dozen kilometers south of where the couple lived with their two sons on a farm in Brumunddal. A coroner’s report claims she died from drowning.

Norwegian media have been covering the dramatic trial, which also has included taped testimony from the couple’s 13-year-old son who was home when his parents returned from the holiday party. Jemtland claims his wife had threatened him with a gun that she kept in their bedroom. He claims it accidentally went off during their quarrel, leading him to panic after reaching what he called “the point of no return.” The trial would continue next week.

newsinenglish.no staff