Three teenagers on trial for murder in Helsinki

The defendants are accused of murdering a 16-year-old boy in the Koskela district of Helsinki last December.

Candles and flowers at the site where a 16-year-old's body was found in Koskela, Helsinki in December. Image: Lehtikuva

The trial of three teenagers accused of murdering a 16-year-old boy in the Koskela district of Helsinki last December began at Helsinki District Court on Wednesday.

The three defendants also face other charges in relation to the case, including nine counts of assault and one robbery charge.

All three deny the charge of murder. Two of the accused however admitted to being guilty of aggravated assault and aggravated involuntary manslaughter, while the third admits only to committing assault.

A fourth teenager is also being charged in connection with the robbery.

According to the prosecutor in the case, the three teenagers assaulted the victim for up to four hours on the evening of 4 December in the vicinity of Koskela Hospital. Several different implements were used by the defendants during the course of the violent attack, the prosecutor added, and the victim suffered serious injuries all over his body.

"It is pointless [for the defendants] to claim that there was no intention to commit violence when the intention is very clear from the evidence," prosecutor Satu Pomoell told the court.

The victim’s body was discovered by construction workers on the morning of Monday 7 December.

"Ruthlessness, cruelty and torture"

A police preliminary investigation found that the victim had been subjected to a prolonged period of extreme bullying by the three teenagers, which included three separate violent assaults in the lead up to his death.

Special Prosecutor Yrjö Reenilä told the court the case was one of the most horrific in his career as a prosecutor.

"Ruthlessness, cruelty and torture are evident here," Reenilä said.

Prosecutor Pomoell also requested that the court order the three defendants to undergo psychological evaluations.

A verdict of guilty of murder is usually punishable by life imprisonment in Finland, but because the accused in this case were all minors at the time of the offence, they cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment if the are found guilty.

According to Finnish law, minors convicted of murder can be sentenced to between 2 to 12 years in prison.