Viggo Kristiansen, convicted of raping and murdering two young girls at Baneheia in Kristiansand in May 2000, was released from prison as expected late Tuesday night. Other inmates clapped and cheered as Kristiansen was driven away from the high-security Ila Prison outside Oslo with his father at the wheel.
“There was a mixture of laughter, hugging and a few tears,” the Kristiansen family’s spokesman, Terje Helland, told reporters after the now-42-old Viggo Kristiansen arrived at his family’s home around 3:30am Wednesday. Kristiansen, who was earlier ordered released pending a re-examination of his case, has consistently denied the fatal assaults on eight-year-old Stine Sofie Sørstrønen and 10-year-old Lena Sløgedal Paulsen when they were playing at the lake at Baneheia 21 years ago. His alleged accomplice Jan Helge Andersen had, meanwhile, confessed to the crimes, served his 19-year prison term and was released.
The parents of the two girls are seeking a restraining order against Kristiansen to make sure he doesn’t try to contact them. Helland said Kristiansen already plans to “keep a low profile” out of consideration to them. He declined to talk to reporters assembled both at the prison and around his family’s home.
His case is now up for review by a state commission, with a new police investigation of the murders underway. Since he had been held under a form of custody meant to protect the public, his lawyer has complained that Kristiansen hasn’t received any counseling about returning to a society that’s changed dramatically in the past 21 years.
His defense attorney Arvid Sjødin has also sought police protection for Kristiansen, since many still view him as a convicted rapist and murderer. Sjødin added, though, that “he’s not the type to wander around on the streets of Kristiansand and show himself off. On the contrary, he’ll live a calm life until things settle down.”