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19 Years Confirmed at Court of Appeal for Birna Brjánsdóttir Murder

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19 Years Confirmed at Court of Appeal for Birna Brjánsdóttir Murder

Suspect in Birna Brjánsdóttir's case.

Thomas hid his face when the case was handled at the District Court. Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

Thomas Møller Olsen's sentence of 19 years in prison was confirmed at Landsréttur (Court of Appeal) today. He receives the sentence for the murder of Birna Brjánsdóttir on January 14, 2017. The Court of Appeal confirmed the previous sentence by the District Court of Reykjanes.

Thomas himself was not present at the hearing, but his defendant Björgvin Jónsson said he expects that they will ask for a permission to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Iceland.

The compensation to Birna's parents, previously decided upon at the District Court, were also confirmed. Her father, Brjánn Guðjónsson, receives ISK four million ($32,226, €28,405) while Birna's mother, Sigurlaug Hreinsdóttir, receives ISK three million ($24,170, €21,303).

Thomas was also found guilty of drug smuggling, as twenty kilograms of marijuana was found in his cabin on the trawler Polar Nanoq. The ship was intercepted en route to Greenland after having been in port in Hafnarfjörður.

The judgment at the Court of Appeal was announced at 14:00 today.

The case received international attention at the time of the murder, and shook the Icelandic nation to the core. Birna disappeared in the morning of January 14, 2017. Her body was found after an extensive search in the beach near Selvogsviti lighthouse eight days later, January 22nd. Thomas has been in custody since January 19, as Icelandic special forces apprehended and arrested him on board Polar Nanoq on January 18. The trawler had been anchored in the port of Hafnarfjörður the night of Birnar's disappearance.

Thomas has denied murdering Birna from day one. He has also denied any involvement with the drug smuggling he was convicted of. He has pointed towards his shipmate Nikolaj Olsen. He still denies talking about a four-hour timespan on the morning of January 14, when it is believed Birna was murdered and her body disposed of.

The prosecution requested a sentence of 18 years at the District Court, but the verdict was 19 years. District Attorney Sigríður Friðrjónsdóttir, who led the case in the Court of Appeal, said it would not be unusual that Thomas receives a heavier sentence as he tried to shift the blame towards Nikolaj Olsen.

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