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April 02, 2022
Ex-Knutby Cult leader and Pentecostal pastor, Helge Fossmo, now known as, Helge Iverson, has been recently released from prison in Sweden after serving out an eighteen-year sentence. Fossmo was imprisoned in 2004 with a life sentence for inciting the murder of his then wife, Alexandra Fossmo, and the attempted murder of his neighbor, Daniel Linde, in Knutby, a locality in the Uppsala Municipality of Uppsala County, Sweden.
At around 04:40am on January 10, 2004, 30-year-old Daniel Linde called the emergency services and informed the dispatcher that he had been shot in the face and chest and was bleeding profusely. A couple of hours later, Alexandra Fossmo was discovered dead in her bed with three gunshots to the head. The victim’s homes were one hundred meters apart on an area called The Hill where the church leaders lived.
Helge Fossmo accompanied Daniel Linde to the hospital and was soon taken in for questioning over the murder of his wife and the attempted murder of his neighbor. The interview lasted around one hour.
A year prior to Alexandra Fossmo’s death, she had been attacked in her sleep with a hammer by their nanny, Sara Svensson. At the time, the attack by Svensson was not seen as a murder attempt, rather as a mental health episode that saw Svensson sent away from the Knutby commune to Småland in the South of Sweden to live with her father.
Helge Fossmo later admitted that he kept Svensson’s cell phone after she left so he could stay connected with her as she had been with their family in the commune for years. He claimed that he kept it a secret from the other church members because they would disagree, and he feared their reaction.
The day after the murder, Sara Svensson confessed. She told police where to find evidence, including her shoes, which they recovered from a dumpster, a silencer, which they discovered in a small bag and a gun, which they fished out of a lake. She insisted repeatedly that she did it alone, making police suspicious that she had not acted alone.
Svensson later admitted that she had been feeling bad about her faith, like she had lost connection with God. She confided this in Helge Fossmo.
Svensson admitted to police that before the murders she had started receiving text messages from an unknown phone number which Helge Fossmo forwarded to her. She believed these messages came from God and said she perceived them to be spiritual and prophetic in nature. She felt the messages urged her to kill Alexandra Fossmo, whom she believed, despite her youthful age, had lived out her time on Earth and was destined for Heaven. Sarah Svensson would be the one to send her there, shooting her three times in the head with a handgun, with Helge Fossmo encouraging her using bible passages and up to forty-four text message exchanges per day. Fossmo convinced Svensson that God would not grant her mercy if she did not do his bidding.
The phone was later obtained by police, who discovered that Svensson had received thousands of texts and hours of phone calls, including several messages sent minutes before the murders. She admitted that she hoped she would receive a text message telling her she did not have to go through with it, however, no text ever came.
During the investigation police were perplexed by some of the details, for example, Helge Fossmo did not wake up to the sound of three gunshots fired into his wife’s head while sleeping two rooms away, however, claimed he was later roused from sleep by a text message not long after.
They also discovered that Helge Fossmo had been having affairs with multiple members of the cult, including Sarah Svensson who said she was a sex slave and stayed in Helge Fossmo’s room after divorcing her husband- a decision the Philadelphia congregation in Knutby looked down on and isolated her for.
It is believed that he encouraged the mentally ill young woman to kill off his current wife, as pastors are not allowed to remain pastors if they divorce their spouse. Helge Fossmo had a considerable influence on the community and likely wanted to maintain the position of power that gave him free reign to exploit the group’s members.
It was later revealed that Fossmo was also having an affair with Daniel Linde’s partner, Annette, whom Helge intended to be with following the deaths of both Daniel Linde and Alexandra Fossmo.
Helge Fossmo also spent a lot of time with Annette Linde's sister-in-law, Åsa Waldau, whom he had convinced was the bride of Christ. Helge Fossmo and Åsa Waldau were attached at the hip and read the bible together constantly. Although it is suspected that she may have played a role in the manipulation of Sarah Svensson, Åsa Waldau was never formally investigated in the murder. Waldau came to be known as "Kristi Brud" or, the Bride of Christ. Helge Fossmo was the only other person present at a private ceremony he and Waldau held where Waldau was betrothed to Jesus Christ. Fossmo claimed that Jesus “spoke” to Åsa Waldau through him and that he would intimately touch Waldau, which she denies.
Helge Fossmo’s first wife, Heléne, had also died several years earlier under suspicious circumstances. Heléne was discovered dead in the bathtub of their home on 18 December 1999 and her death was ruled accidental, despite autopsy finding a hole in her skull and dextropropoxyphene in her system. The case was reopened after the Knutby murders.
Anette Linde was arrested but released two weeks later after she was cleared of any involvement in the case.
Sarah Svensson was sentenced to forensic psychiatric care and has been free since 2011.
The sect disbanded in 2016.
Helge Fossmo was imprisoned in 2004 with a life sentence for inciting the murder of his then wife, Alexandra Fossmo, and the attempted murder of his neighbor, Daniel Linde.
He remarried in prison in the summer of 2007.
Fossmo appealed several times over the years, and at the end of 2019, the Örebro District Court finally decided to grant Fossmo's appeal.
When asked about Fossmo’s conduct during his incarceration, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service admitted there had been some issues during Iversen’s imprisonment but described the incidents as "of a relatively minor nature."
Reports state that in the winter of 2017, Fossmo was transferred from a prison in Visby when it became known that he had been in a relationship with a female officer whom he had been blackmailing and manipulating through anonymous letters that he sent to the officer’s family members.
In 2017, Fossmo stated in the district court that he is still a Christian but explained that he has no ambitions whatsoever to assume any leadership role in the future.
He has been living in a halfway home since being released in April 2021. The ex-cult leader is said to be living in a medium-sized city and is currently employed. He told Aftonbladet that he planned to work voluntarily within the Church of Sweden.
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