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Has not dominated Jan Helge Andersen

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Viggo Kristiansen arrives at the trial against Jan Helge Andersen in Sør-Rogaland district court on Tuesday. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB

Of NTB | 23.04.2024 16:11:14

Crime and justice: – I don’t feel that I have dominated him or ruled over him in any way. I have never perceived that I have led him on, said Viggo Kristiansen (44) when he gave his testimony to the court on Tuesday afternoon.

The statement concerns the impression created by the friendship between Kristiansen and his former best friend Jan Helge Andersen (43) during the criminal process at the beginning of the 2000s.

The dominant and apparently authoritarian role Kristiansen is said to have had has been used to partially explain how the assaults and murders in Baneheia could take place at all.

– When we had different opinions about what we should do, we talked about it. I’ve never had the feeling of being the big leader who said we should do this and that and that he just followed along, said Kristiansen.

He has served almost 21 years for murder and assault he did not commit. After he was completely acquitted and cleared of any involvement with the Baneheia murders a year and a half ago, his former comrade has been charged in the reopened criminal case.

All DNA findings in the case also point to Jan Helge Andersen, none of them to Kristiansen. The prosecution therefore believes that Andersen was alone in raping and killing Stine Sofie Sørstrønen (8) and Lena Sløgedal Paulsen (10) on 19 May 2000.

– That day was a completely normal day for me. I got up and got ready for work. After work I did as I usually do, I went down to my hut, said Kristiansen.

When he managed to lock himself out of his garage, he cycled to Baneheia in a hurry to get the key Andersen had at his disposal. The comrade was in the open air area to train with the Home Guard.

The two former best friends have not seen each other since the beginning of the 2000s. When Kristiansen began his witness examination on Tuesday afternoon, Andersen followed the prosecutor and Kristiansen with his eyes during the questioning. He eventually sat with his gaze straight ahead, either with his arms crossed or resting on his stomach.

After returning home to take a shower, he came back down to Kristiansen. In court on Tuesday, Kristiansen was very reticent to speculate or interpret anything from how Andersen appeared to him, but confirmed to questions from state prosecutor Johan Øverberg that he did not notice anything special about his friend or his clothing.

– What shall I say? I don’t feel that my feelings and my reflections on such a serious matter should come out, really. Those are my personal feelings, replied Kristiansen.

He experienced that Andersen became even quieter than normal after the murders, but did not go any further in characterizing the former comrade

They had both grown older, Andersen had a summer job at Color Line, and Kristiansen enjoyed his job as a helper on a garbage truck. They were no longer like peas, Kristiansen said.

– It is dangerous to speculate as to why, but I feel that we drifted apart. We could meet now and then, but we no longer hung out with each other day in and day out, Kristiansen said.

He initially admitted that he felt “a lot of nerves” about having to explain himself in the nearly 24-year-old murder case.

– There are quite a few nerves involved. It probably has a lot to do with the media and the way the media are disrespectful. I have felt the media a lot on the body, and a lot of nerves are probably connected to that. But I will try to explain myself as best I can, said Kristiansen.

Andersen claimed in his statement that Kristiansen threatened him to commit assault and murder. He maintained that he feared his comrade to the extent that he did not dare to do anything other than what he was ordered to do. The choice was between killing or being killed, according to Andersen’s explanation.

The prosecution relies on – and has support in the evidence for – Kristiansen’s explanation that he was in his mecca shed when the murders were committed. Teledata from the period in question excludes that Kristiansen was at the scene. The 44-year-old emphasized in his testimony on Tuesday that he never went anywhere without taking his phone with him.

It is undisputed that Andersen and Kristiansen spent several hours together on the stairs outside Kristiansen’s home after the murders. When he came from his alleged training trip, Andersen seemed “completely normal” and “no sweat or anything like that.”

In the spring and summer when the murders took place, the two had begun to drift apart, as Kristiansens experienced.

(© NTB)

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