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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 22:42 GMT 23:42 UK
Priest gets life for 'SMS murder'
Pastor Helge Fossmo
The pastor "ruthlessly" used the family's ex-nanny, the court said
A Swedish pastor has been jailed for life for persuading his lover, the family nanny, to murder his wife.

A court in Uppsala found Helge Fossmo, 32, guilty of inciting Sara Svensson to shoot his wife by sending mobile phone text messages he said came from God.

Miss Svensson, 27, the family's former nanny, was judged mentally ill and placed under psychiatric care.

The court acquitted Mr Fossmo of having anything to do with a death of his first wife in 1999 in a bathtub.

'No alternative'

At the end of a bizarre case that has fascinated Sweden, Lutheran pastor Helgo Fossmo was found guilty of the incitement to kill his second wife, 23-year-old Alexandra Fossmo.

Mr Fossmo was also found guilty of inciting the former nanny to murder the husband of his second mistress, Daniel Linde.

Miss Svensson admitted to the 10 January murder of Mrs Fossmo and to shooting Mr Linde, who survived the attack.

Former nanny Sara Svensson
The ex-nanny admitted carrying out the attacks

During her earlier testimony, Miss Svensson said she was ordered to carry out the attack by mobile phone messages she believed came from God but which were traced to Mr Fossmo's cell phone.

"Suddenly Helge said to me: 'If God were to tell you to kill a human being, would you do it?'" Miss Svensson said.

"I thought it was a very strange question, but thought that if I really knew it was God saying it, I would have to obey. There would be no alternative," she said.

Mr Fossmo's defence attorney insisted during the trial that his client was innocent.

The attorney said that the former nanny misunderstood the text messages, which were meant only as spiritual guidance, not as an incentive to murder.

The trial also painted a picture of a bizarre religious community in the town north of Stockholm, controlled by a woman known as Christ's Bride, who claimed to be engaged to Jesus in a special ceremony.


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