The principal proceedings in Thomas Møller’s appeal case begin in the Land’s Court today, RÚV reports. Møller was sentenced to 19 years in prison by the District Court of Reykjanes for the murder of Birna Brjánsdóttir, as well as for drug trafficking. Thomas appealed to the Land’s Court for a reduced sentence, claiming his shipmate was responsible for the murder.
Birna Brjánsdóttir disappeared on the night of January 14, 2017. Her body was found eight days later. Security camera footage showed Birna entering a red Kia Rio rented by Møller at the time and forensic investigation confirmed blood found in the car was hers. The tragic case was widely reported on and shocked the Icelandic public.
The proceedings include a testimony from Møller before the court. Two other witnesses will testify by phone. Media are banned from reporting on the testimonies until all three are completed.
Evidence that will be presented in the proceedings includes pictures from the Facebook page of Nikolaj Olsen’s girlfriend. Olsen was Møller’s fellow shipmate on the Polar Nanoq and spent time in custody due to suspicion of involvement in the case.
State Prosecutor Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir stated in her statement to the Land’s Court that Møller’s defence is based on obscuring various points in order to place the blame on Olsen. “None of the points brought forward on behalf of the accused, in the opinion of the prosecutor, awake suspicion of Nikolaj’s guilt and therefore the innocence of the accused,” Sigríður’s statement asserts.
Møller’s story has changed significantly since his initial report to the district court. In that report he stated that two girls had entered his rental car on Saturday, January 14, the night of Birna’s disappearance. He asserted that one of the girls was Birna and confessed to having kissed her. He then stated that he dropped Nikolaj off at the Hafnarfjörður harbour, before going to another spot in the area with the girls and then dropping them off at a roundabout in the town.
In the district court, Møller stated that only one girl came into the car and would not confirm it was Birna. He also stated that Olsen asked for some time alone with the girl and drove away, return alone after some time.
Olsen will not testify before the Land’s Court during the proceedings, but has stated that he cannot confirm whether Birna was in the car or not. He claimed to remember little of the events of the night, but doubts that he drove away with Birna, as he was intoxicated and does not hold a driver’s licence. “If I had driven the car that drunk I would have definitely had an accident,” he stated before the court.