Suspect in 1960 Murder Case Pleads Innocence

Yle Uutisten artikkeliarkisto

The man suspected of a 44-year-old triple murder says he is innocent. Nils Gustafsson had no other comments to make about the case in a message released by his attorney.

Espoo District Court has remanded in custody Nils Gustafsson, who was the sole survivor of a group of four young people who went camping at Lake Bodom in Espoo in 1960.

The district court has given the police time until the end of July to file charges against the Gustafsson.

Police say Gustafsson had led a normal life since the Lake Bodom murders.

Investigation Will Take Months

Chief Inspector Tero Haapala, who is in charge of the investigation, says police are currently looking for additional proof of what happened at the cime scene.

Police said they routinely re-open unsolved cases to assess if any progress can be made with the help of new technology. This time, they had sufficient cause to suspect Gustafsson within a month of launching the probe.

Police say that modern technology helped in solving the 44-year-old crime. They were able to match incriminating DNA samples to the suspect.

Gustafsson, himself, was seriously injured on the night of the murders. He suffered a stab wound and had been struck with a blunt object. He also suffered a fractured jaw.

Police have suspected that he suffered the injuries in a fight or that they were possibly self-inlicted.

Murders Shocked the Entire Nation

When news of the brutal murders broke in 1960, it shocked the entire country. Speculation concerning the culprit has continued to this day.

Two 15-year-old girls and two 18-year-old men went camping on the shores of Lake Bodomin Espoo in the summer of 1960. During the night, someone cut the strings of their tent and the three victims were hacked to death with a knife and bludgeoned with a blunt instrument. Nils Gustafsson survived the attack.

Police were called to the scene after a passer-by found the bloody tent. A hectic manhunt was launched to apprehend the murderer.

"Breakthrough of the Century"

Klaus Kaartinen of the Crime Museum in Helsinki calls the arrest of the suspect the "breakthrough of the century".

Since the murders were committed 44 years ago, the police have interviewed thousands of people and checked the accounts of dozens of suspects.

In the search for the culprit during the 1960s, police even turned to a hypnotist for help. Both Gustafsson and a boy who said he had seen the culprit while he was fishing were hypnotised.

The doctor who hypnotised Gustafsson, Dr. Asser Stenbäck, told the Finnish News Agency that he believed Gustafsson's story that the group was attacked by an unknown assailant.

He said that Gustafsson had given a credible account of some outsider pushing his or her way into their tent.

There are conflicting reports about the reliability of hypnosis in criminal investigations. One expert says that it is impossible to bypass a person's conscious awareness through hypnosis.

Finnish News Agency, YLE24