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'Amager Attacker' sentenced to life
Copenhagen City Court sentenced Marcel Lychau Hansen, the convicted ‘Amager Attacker’, to life imprisonment this morning. The six-person jury and three-judge bench agreed unanimously on the maximum sentence.
Hansen made no visible reaction when his sentence was read out in court.
On Monday Hansen was judged guilty by unanimous decision on one count of robbery-murder, one count of rape-murder, and six additional counts of rape, stretching over a period of 23 years.
Prosecutor Anne Birgitte Stürup had asked the court to give Hansen a life sentence, noting precedents of 14- and 16-year prison terms for a single robbery-murder or a single rape-murder.
Prisoners with life sentences in Denmark are entitled to a pardoning hearing after 12 years. In practice, however, most prisoners with life sentences serve an average of 16 years, according to Wikipedia. One person who killed four police officers served 33 years under his life sentence. The longest fixed-term prison sentence in Denmark is 16 years.
Hansen had pleaded not guilty to all of the crimes he was charged with, including two murders and eight rapes. He was acquitted on just one count of rape. He has not announced whether he will appeal the decision.
THE VERDICT - AND THE TWIST
Serial rapist was planning new attack, even before closing arguments in own trial
Friends, family and neighbours described 46-year-old Marcel Lychau Hansen as a completely normal family man – a football coach for over 15 years, a father of two grown sons, a steady employee at Copenhagen Airport, a popular ‘ladies’ man’, and a good son.
But on Monday morning, following six weeks of testimony and evidence, six jury members and three judges at Copenhagen City Court concluded that despite those portrayals, he is also, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the Amager Attacker, the serial rapist and murderer who spooked the Greater Copenhagen area for 23 years, carrying out sadistic crimes against women.
During closing arguments in court last week, it was Hansen himself who said that, “the person who did these things must be sick in the head, a psychopath who hates women.” Yet Hansen maintained his own innocence: that “psychopath” was not him – he and the real Amager Attacker just happened to share the exact same genetic profile.
“I am 100 percent innocent,” Hansen told the court. “The person who did these things will strike again, and if I’m sitting in jail then, people will see that it wasn’t me,” Hansen concluded weirdly.
His premonition failed, however, to sew doubt into the jury’s decision. They pronounced him guilty as charged on seven counts of rape and two counts of murder, emphasizing that the DNA evidence placing Hansen at the scene of several of the rapes and one of the murders was incontrovertible. The chances of the DNA not being Hansen's were a million to one.
Furthermore, a matching handprint, matching shoe print, and the “believable” testimonies of more than 50 witnesses, only confirmed Hansen’s guilt, the jury said.
They acquitted Hansen on just one count: the sexual assault and near-strangulation of a 47-year-old woman in the Vangede neighborhood in 2007. In that case, the odds of the DNA evidence not being Hansen's were 2,200 to one – not strong enough to convict.
The verdict appeared to put a period to one of Denmark’s most extraordinary criminal cases, that of its worst known serial rapist and murderer. But within hours of the verdict, the case took an unexpected, stranger-than-fiction turn.
Police announced on Monday evening, just hours following the verdict, that Hansen had been caught smuggling envelopes of his own semen out of Vestre Fængsel prison, where he has been held since his arrest last year. A co-conspirator had already received several of these envelopes containing Hansen’s DNA material.
The scheme, police allege, was that the co-conspirator would carry out an attack on another, random woman, and would then plant Hansen’s semen on her, creating the impression that the Amager Attacker was still on the loose and that he indeed had the same DNA profile as Hansen – just as Hansen predicted in closing arguments in court last week.
The co-conspirator who was to carry out the new rape and plant Hansen’s DNA material on the victim is none other than Hansen’s 24-year-old son, police confirmed on Tuesday. He has now been charged as an accomplice.
Hansen’s defense lawyer declined to comment on his client’s scheme.
FACT-FILE | 'Amager Attacker' convictions
GUILTY Murder and robbery of 73-year-old Edith Louise Andrup in Valby in 1987.
GUILTY Endangering the lives of residents in Andrup’s building when he set fire to her apartment to destroy the evidence.
GUILTY Rape and murder of 42-year-old Lene Buchardt Rasmussen in Amager’s Fasanskoven forest in 1990.
GUILTY Rape and sexual assault of three teenage girls and one 23-year-old woman in a house in Amager in 1995.
GUILTY Rape and sexual assault of a 24-year-old university student at a dormitory in Amager in 2005.
NOT GUILTY Sexual assault and near-strangulation of a 47-year-old woman in Vangede in 2007.
GUILTY Rape at knifepoint of a 17-year-old girl in an allotment in Amager in September 2010.