Published September 29, 2017
Thomas Møller Olsen, the man charged with the murder of Birna Brjánsdóttir, has just been found guilty and sentenced in Reykjavík District Court to 19 years in prison, Vísir reports. He was also found guilty of possession of 20 kilos of hashish on board the ship he worked on, Polar Nanoq.
In addition to the sentence, he will also have to pay 28 million ISK in legal fees, as well as 4 million ISK and 3 million ISK, plus interest, to Birna’s father and mother, respectively. Thomas was not present for sentencing.
As reported, Birna was last seen on CCTV footage in downtown Reykjavík in the early morning hours of January 14. Her body was found off the coast of southwest Iceland eight days later. Thomas has been in custody since January 19.
The clues pointing to Thomas were damning. At some point on her walk along Laugarvegur, Birna either got into or was taken into a red Kia Rio. Her mobile phone continued to produce a signal until it got to Hafnarfjörður, where the signal than switched off. Her boots were found near the harbour, and the largest search-and-rescue operation in Icelandic history was initiated. Of immediate interest to the police was the Greenlandic trawler Polar Nanoq, which had been docked in Hafnarfjörður that evening. A red Kia Rio had been rented by one of the ship’s crew, and subsequent surveillance footage of the area would show two crew members exit the car at the harbour, with one boarding the ship and another driving away. Traces of Birna’s blood were found in the car, and her ID was later found in a trash can on the ship. Days later, her body was discovered in a cove at Selvogsvita, west of Þorlákshöfn in southern Iceland. Subsequent DNA testing would find Thomas’ and Birna’s blood were both present in the car.
It has not been revealed yet whether the sentence will be appealed.