Killer who butchered Scots lover overturns murder conviction
‘Considered to be cruel’
A FORMER soldier who was jailed for life for the ‘cold-blooded’ murder of his Scottish girlfriend in Lapland has had his conviction overturned.
Karel Frybl will serve a shorter prison sentence of 11 years for ‘homicide’ instead.
The ruling by the Lapland Court of Appeal comes eight months after Czech Frybl was jailed for life over the death of tour guide Rebecca Johnson.
Under Finnish law that means a killer is expected to spend between 12 and 13 years behind bars.
Miss Johnson, of Burntisland, Fife, was stabbed 40 times by Frybl, with whom she ran Christmas-themed dog sled tours. The new ruling means the appeal panel believes the 26-year-old’s killing was not premeditated.
In its deliberation yesterday, the panel said: ‘Although Frybl is undoubtedly considered to be cruel, [the killing] cannot be considered to be particularly cruel.’
However, the three judges on the panel were divided. Johannes Ahola, a local lawyer who has been following the case, told the Courier newspaper: ‘This means it has been a difficult case because it’s rather unusual for the Appeals Court judges to vote. It happens, but not really often.’
Miss Johnson and Frybl, 37, had been together since 2015. According to the police, Frybl had been a butcher and slaughterhouse worker when the couple lived in Scotland.
They were employed with a Santa safari company in the village of Kuttanen when the ‘brutal’ attack took place on December 3, 2016.
A trial at Lapland District Court previously heard Frybl had planned to move out of their cottage on the morning of the attack but the couple had argued again over the ownership of husky puppies.
The court was told that after the attack, Frybl fled on a dog sled before being captured.
During the trial, Miss Johnson’s family, who appeared in court wearing purple ribbons in her memory, fought back tears as text messages recovered from her phone were read out to show the ‘abusive’ nature of the relationship.
After one text exchange, her sister, Victoria, texted back: ‘You need to tell people at the hotel. He is a danger to you. He may end up killing you.’
Frybl will continue to serve his sentence in Finland, although it is understood he has been moved from a prison in the north of the country to another location.
His case could be passed to Finland’s Supreme Court because the judges in the appeal were divided.
Victim: Rebecca Johnson