Candles and flowers at the scene of the murder of a 16-year-old boy in Koskela, Helsinki, on 10 December 2020. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)


INVESTIGATORS at Helsinki Police Department have shed further light on the widely reported murder of a 16-year-old boy in Koskela, a northern neighbourhood of the Finnish capital, on 4 December.

Three 16-year-old boys were detained on probable cause of the murder by the District Court of Helsinki on 10 December.

“Our information suggests the 16-year-old victim was assaulted for several dozens of minutes in various places on the premises of Koskela Hospital,” said Marko Forss, the detective chief inspector in charge of the pre-trial investigation at Helsinki Police Department. “A number and variety of injuries caused in different ways have been detected all over the victim’s body. Police cannot comment on the nature of the injuries in further detail.”

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The investigators have determined that two of the suspects visited the scene of the homicide a day later to determine whether the victim was breathing and removed, for example, beer cans they had left there the previous evening. All three suspects also discussed the events before being brought into custody, considering concealing or disposing of the body in some way.

The victim was found, stripped of some of his clothing, dead at the scene of the crime on Monday, 7 December. The extensive and forceful violence he had endured contained humiliating elements associated with bullying, according to Helsinki Police Department.

The suspects are believed to have subjected the victim to violence and long-running bullying also before the homicide.

“One way to characterise the situation would be to say the victim was considered a ‘friend’, but at the same time he was bullied in various ways. I am well aware that the term ‘bullying’ has come under criticism and is considered belittling by some,” said Forss.

“When I use the term ‘bullying’, I am referring to consistent and systematic actions that can have serious physical and psychological consequences for the victim. The bullying in this case is believed to have been so serious that it led to a homicide and the death of the bullying victim,” he added.

The investigators learnt about the history between the victim and suspects through an anonymous tip. Everyone with knowledge about the issue is urged to contact the police with their own name to make sure the information can be better utilised in the pre-trial investigation and possible legal proceedings.

Also other information related to the sequence of events should be reported to police.

Jonna Turunen, a detective chief superintendent at Helsinki Police Department, said the long-running bullying and repeated acts of violence are justification for communicating about the case in more detail than usual while the investigation remains ongoing.

“Due to the social significance of the issue, it is important to emphasise how serious the suspicion is and how exceptionally cruel and brutal the offence under investigation was. Police hope the case will provoke wider public debate and, in time, necessary changes in how various operators can make sure nothing like this will ever happen again,” she stated.

The communication approach has also been discussed with the victim’s guardians, who gave their consent to revealing that the victim was a client of child welfare services and had been placed outside his home.

“This information is made public with the consent of the guardians because police hope that this unusually aggravated homicide prompts the society to consider how to better protect children and young people and ensure schools and child welfare services, for example, have the resources and tools needed to carry out their important responsibilities,” explained Turunen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT