Jailbird Dane not guilty of killing German on ferry 34 years old

The man had previously admitted to the crime, but later claimed he only confessed to “mess with the police”

On Wednesday afternoon, a not guilty verdict was passed regarding a murder in Finland that has remained unsolved since 1987.

A 52-year-old Dane was found not guilty of the 34-year-old murder committed on the Finnish ferry ‘Viking Sally’. The Finnish court ruled there was insufficient evidence for a guilty verdict.

The man was accused of attacking a German couple with a hammer while they were sleeping on the deck of the ferry.

A 20-year-old German man died of his injuries, while a 22-year-old woman survived with permanent brain damage.

Murder weapon never found
The Dane, 18 at the time, was onboard the ferry as part of a boy scout expedition.

Originally, Finnish police considered him an important witness as he was among the first to find the injured couple. However, three decades later the Finnish authorities decided to charge him, since they believe he is responsible for the crime.

The murder weapon was never found, but police believe that the 52-year-old had particular knowledge of the hammer used on the couple.

This claim was rejected by the court. “The accused does not have any knowledge of the weapon that would only be possible for the perpetrator to be in possession of,” it ruled.

“You do not need to be the perpetrator in order to guess that the weapon would have been some kind of hammer.”

Previous confession
Since 1987, the man has been involved in numerous crimes and has spent a combined 18 years in prison. He has made several remarks regarding the murder over the years, arousing the interest of the police.

At one point, he told his ex-wife that he had killed before, and in prison he told the guards he was guilty.

In 2016, he confessed to the Finnish police, but later retracted, telling YLE that he only said it to “mess with the police”.

The prosecution has not yet decided whether it will appeal the verdict.