Long-Detained Suspect in Selfoss Murder Case Claims Innocence Skip to content

Long-Detained Suspect in Selfoss Murder Case Claims Innocence

By Ragnar Tómas

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá
Photo: Golli.

A man suspected of murdering a woman in Selfoss this spring denies having strangled her, RÚV reports. His attorney believes that the courts are bending the law by keeping the man in extended custody.

Unusual silence

Four months after a woman in her twenties was discovered dead in Selfoss, the cause of her death remains uncertain. The prime suspect claims he found her lifeless, and the man’s attorney argues that the prolonged detention of his client exceeds legal limits.

After the woman was discovered in a private residence in Selfoss on April 27, two stepbrothers, also in their twenties, were initially apprehended. The younger brother was released soon thereafter. An unusual silence has surrounded the investigation, uncommon for murder cases in Iceland, which RÚV suggests owes to the sensitive and ambiguous nature of the investigation.

Suspicious behaviour

As noted by RÚV, the police suspect the older brother of strangling the woman, as evidenced by marks on her neck. Initial autopsy results remain inconclusive, however, and the suspect refutes claims of violence. He alleges that he discovered the woman deceased in the bathroom, attributing her death to drugs.

Authorities question his delay in alerting emergency services; instead, the suspect is to have moved the body, performed CPR, and called his brother over to the house – prior to accompanying him for a car ride. The suspect later conceded his actions were misguided, citing shock and drug influence.

Urgent investigative interests non-existent

Recent updates in the case have solely concerned extensions to the suspect’s custody, now set until the end of the month. As noted by RÚV, this will mark his 18th week in custody, and the investigation is still ongoing. This is notable given that Article 95 of the Criminal Code limits detention to twelve weeks without an indictment, barring urgent investigative needs.

Vilhjálmur H. Vilhjálmsson, the suspect’s attorney, questions the “urgent investigative interests” justifying his client’s prolonged detention. “In my view, they don’t exist,” he stated in an interview with RÚV yesterday. Since assuming the defence role six weeks ago, Vilhjálmur maintained that he had observed no progress in the investigation, expressing concern over potential precedents sidelining the twelve-week rule. Such extensions are notably rare, especially of this magnitude.

When queried about the case’s peculiarities, Vilhjálmur stated: “The final autopsy report is yet to be obtained and there are some letters of request. However, my client can’t influence these outcomes, negating any investigative interests.” Vilhjálmur believes the prolonged detention, framed as investigative advocacy, is a ploy to grant police extended investigation time under the guise of public interest.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!