Local author helps you pronounce all those impossible Icelandic place names
Thomas Møller Olsen, the 25 year old Greenlandic sailor who has been charged with the murder of 20 year old local girl, Birna Brjánsdóttir, is charged with having attacked her viciously, beating and strangling her, before throwing her unconscious and naked into the ocean, causing her to drown. The details of the charge were revealed yesterday.
The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reports that Thomas Møller is charged with having attacked Birna in a red Kia Rio he had rented while the trawler Polar Nanoq, where he was a crew member, was docked in Hafnarfjörður harbour in the Capital region. Thomas and a fellow crew member had picked Birna up in downtown Reykjavík early in the morning of Saturday January 14.
The other crew member, who was originally detained on suspicion of being connected to the disappearance and death of Birna, was later released. Police believe he had nothing to do with the murder of Birna which took place after Thomas dropped him off at the pier where the trawler was docked. According to the charge Thomas proceeded to attack Birna in the car at the harbour after the other man had left the car.
The charge states that Thomas beat Birna repeatedly in the head and face, breaking her nose. He also strangled her. Birna's body, which was found naked in the rocky shore by Selvogsviti lighthouse on the south coast of Reykjanes peninsula, had numerous injuries and bruises caused by the beating. Thomas is charged with having thrown Birna unconscious into the sea, causing her to drown.
Thomas has previously been accused of raping an unconscious woman in Greenland, but he was acquitted by a court in Greenland after his friend claimed the woman was lying when she said the sex was non-consensual.
Sued for punitive damages
The parents of Birna have also sued Thomas Møller Olsen for punitive damages and to pay for their daughters funeral. Each parent demands Thomas pay 10.5 million ISK (94,000 USD/88,000 EUR) in damages.
The maximum sentence for murder in Iceland is life or 16 years in prison. Thomas has so far denied the charge of having murdered Birna. He has, however, confessed to owning 23.4 kg (51.6 lbs) of pressed hashish which was found on board the trawler.
Iceland Magazine coverage of the case
Iceland magazine covered the case in detail as it unfolded in January. You can read our previous coverage here:
Tuesday Feb 7
Thomas Møller had previously been acquitted of raping an unconscious woman in Greenland
The cause of death, other disturbing details about Birna's death revealed.
Monday Feb 6
Police has reportedly pieced together what happened on Saturday January 14.
Search for clues near the place where Birna's body was found turns up empty
Thursday Feb 2
Police now believes only one of the men originally arrested on connection to Birna's disappearance is responsible for her death.
Monday Jan 30:
Thousands participate in a memorial service for Birna
Wednesday Jan 25:
More details emerge of what happened during the hours leading up to Birna's disappearance
Tuesday Jan 24:
Police found Birna's ID on board the Greenlandic trawler.
The identity of the two suspects revealed by local media.
Monday Jan 23:
Many unanswered questions despite the discovery of Birna's body
Sunday Jan 22:
Birna's body was found eight days after she was discovered missing.
Friday Jan 20
More details about the drug find on-board the Greenlandic trawler.
Police believes the two men held in custody are responsible for the murder of Birna.
Greenlandic Foreign Minister postpones visit to Norway while the search for Birna continues.
Thursday Jan 19
Police discover large quantities of drugs on-board the trawler, arresting a fourth man.
Police reveals that evidence from the a red Kia Rio the sailors had rented from Friday to Saturday pointed to a violent crime.
More arrests on-board the ship, which arrived in harbour at 23:07 on Wednesday
Wednesday Jan 18
Police arrested two men on board the trawler.
Police officers and members of the Police Special Forces were flown out to the Danish Coast Guard vessel HDMS Triton which was on intercept course with the Polar Nanoq.
The case has gripped the Icelandic nation. Police warns people to avoid of "hysteria".
Security camera footage from Hafnarfjörður harbour shows crew members exiting the red Kia Rio, behaving suspiciously. The trawler was returned to harbour in Reykjavík.
Tuesday Jan 17
The car was linked to crew members of Greenlandic trawler which had been docked in Hafnarfjörður from Wednesday to Saturday. The trawler had sailed out and was fishing off the east coast of Greenland.
Tuesday afternoon Police found what it believes is the red Kia Rio seen in security camera footage just seconds before she was last spotted on CCTV footage in down town Reykjavík. The car was likely driven by foreign nationals. The driver is seen behaving suspiciously shortly after Birna's cell phone is turned off at 5:50 AM.
Shoes which match those worn by Birna were found early Tuesday morning in Hafnafjörður, south of Reykjavík. Police does not rule out the shoes were planted at the scene. All available Police and Search and Rescue members are searching in and around Hafnafjörður harbour.
Police released CCTV footage of Birna walking in downtown Reykjavík on Monday.
Monday Jan 16
A large scale search had been underway since Saturday for 20 year old local woman. Police feared foul play.
Join our weekly hand curated newsletter to have all the latest news from Iceland sent to you
Don't worry, we won't spam you. Promise!