Court finds Gustafsson not guilty of 1960 Bodom Lake triple murder
In a verdict announced on Friday morning, Espoo District Court found bus driver Nils Gustafsson not guilty of murder in the infamous Bodom Lake killings of 1960.
The court found that there was insufficient evidence to convict the 63-year-old Gustafsson of killing three of his friends during a camping trip at Bodom Lake. Throughout the trial, Gustafsson maintained his innocence, saying that he and the other three were victims of an unknown assailant.
In its decision, the court emphasised the principle of the presumption of innocence in cases in which there is any doubt of the guilt of the accused. The court also found that Gustafsson’s claim of a memory blackout concerning the events was quite plausible.
Furthermore, the court felt that the long time that has passed since the crime took place makes it more difficult to get a reliable picture of events. In its decision, the court also noted that the prosecution was unable to establish a motive.
Following the decision, Nils Gustafsson told his defence lawyer Riitta Leppiniemi that he was relieved and very happy. Gustafsson was not present when the verdict was announced; he heard the news at this home in Espoo.
Prosecutor Tom Idström had little to say on the matter. He has not yet decided if he would appeal the decision.
Heikki Lampela, the lawyer representing the families of the victims of the killings, said that he was not surprised at the verdict.
He said that the family members had hoped for a different outcome. Now he plans to study the decision to see if the lower court had made any mistakes, which might constitute grounds for appeal.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Arguments end in Bodom murder trial - verdict to come in four weeks (9.9.2005)
Police source says Nils Gustafsson confessed to Bodom killings (1.9.2005)
Bodom murder trial visits crime scene, 45 years after the fact (23.8.2005)
Prosecution claims Bodom suspect killed friends in jealous rage; defence disagrees (17.8.2005)
More witnesses come forward in Bodom triple murder investigation (8.8.2005)
Bodom Lake murder trial begins in Espoo (4.8.2005)
Age cannot wither murder, nor dispel its curious charm (6.4.2004)
Man remanded on suspicion of infamous unsolved triple murder from 1960 (5.4.2004)