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A Greenlandic sailor who has been in custody since January, suspected of the murder of 20 year old local girl, has been found guilty of murder and large scale drug smuggling. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison and to pay the parents of his victim seven million ISK (66,000 USD/56,000 EUR). He was also ordered to pay 28 million ISK (264,000 USD/223,000 EUR) in legal costs. Thomas Möller Olsen has been in custody since he was arrested on January 18.
A case which gripped the Icelandic nation
On January 14 Birna Brjánsdóttir disappeared in downtown Reykjavík. She was found dead on January 22. She had been the victim of a brutal attack. The police investigation quickly focused on a Greenlandic sailor who had rented a car which security camera footage showed Birna entering early morning on January 14. Thomas Möller was arrested on January 18. He denied any involvement in the disappearance or death of Birna, but was unable to account for his whereabouts during the night of her disappearance. His testimony in court was deemed inconsistent and fantastical.
He was also charged with drugs trafficking, after large quantities of pressed hashish was found in his cabin onboard the Greenlandic trawler Polar Nanoq. During interrogation Thomas had initially confessed to owning the drugs, but later withdrew his confession.
Today the District Court of Reykjanes found Thomas Möller guilty of murder in the first degree and drugs trafficking.
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:
Monday April 10
The details of the charge against Thomas Møller revealed
Friday Mar 31
Thomas Møller is formally charged with the murder of Birna Brjánsdóttir
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.
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