Sunniva Borgen was only 23 years old

Sunniva Borgen was only 23 years old
Sunniva Borgen was only 23 years old

In HRS’s articles of association, we have the following provision in article 2:

The Human Rights Service (HRS) foundation is a political think tank with the aim of contributing to the general raising of knowledge about a multi-ethnic society, especially from a women’s perspective, so that the decision-making and support/aid apparatus becomes more effective.

In order to contribute to this increase in knowledge, we have therefore occasionally chosen to refer to some judgments in criminal cases where violence has occurred, particularly against women and children. This is because we do not think that the mainstream media cover these matters well enough, especially when the perpetrators of violence are from a foreign culture. What’s more – we think our readers deserve to know what’s going on around us. And who does it.

Who was Sunniva Borgen?

Sunniva Borgen was a completely ordinary, young Norwegian woman aged 23 living in Åsane in Bergen.

On the night of 12 September 2021, she ended her life at home in her own apartment, after her former lover had stabbed her 50 times. The murder took place in a particularly horrifying way, where the perpetrator had used several knives because the stabs were so powerful that the knives broke. Beforehand, he had razed her apartment.

The perpetrator, a 30-year-old resident of Bergen, was quickly taken care of by the police and immediately confessed to the facts. There has therefore never been any doubt about what happened and who did it.

The case was recently heard by the Hordaland district court, and from the state prosecutor’s prosecution decision we can quote the following:

Sunday 12 September 2021 approx. at 04.35 in Myrdalsvegen 46K in Bergen, he hit Sunniva Borgen repeatedly in the face with a clenched hand, and stabbed and cut her repeatedly with four knives in the head and on the body. Borgen suffered at least 50 stab and cut injuries, mainly to the neck and head, as well as fractures and crushing injuries to the head. Five days later, she died in hospital from multi-organ failure as a result of the injuries.

From the judgment, we can also quote what met the police when they arrived at the apartment:

Outside the apartment, the patrol saw traces of blood after footprints. They followed the blood trails, found the witness (-) and entered Borgen’s unlocked apartment. Already in the hall they saw a lot of fresh blood and an apartment that had been completely razed. Most of the apartment had broken furniture. Several of the furniture in the living room were destroyed. In the kitchen, Sunniva Borgen was lying on her back with her head facing a bedroom. She was bruised, bloody and suffered countless stab wounds. At this time, she was conscious and able to communicate. Borgen said “I can’t do it anymore, I can’t do it”. She nodded to (the policeman’s) question if her name was Sunniva. Borgen was placed in a stable lateral position while the police waited for an ambulance which was a short distance away.

The motive

Any reasonable, upstanding person will believe that whatever a Sunni Borgen may have said or done prior to the murder, nothing can justify the act. In this case, she had neither said nor done anything. The 30-year-old’s actions appeared completely irrational.

According to the evidence, there is nothing to suggest that Borgen acted provocatively in any way prior to the violence. In addition to her correspondence with (-), the court shows the Snapchat correspondence between Borgen and the defendant up front, which obviously shows that the defendant has felt irritation towards Borgen, for reasons that appear to the court to be completely incomprehensible.

The court will add that even if Borgen had been involved in an argument prior to the violence, this would have been very little mitigating, in light of the aggravating circumstances of the defendant’s actions.

From the rest of the evidence, it has emerged that the defendant has on several occasions expressed jealousy and made particularly unsavory allusions to Sunniva Borgen, for reasons the court cannot understand.

The court finds it proven that the defendant carried out the violence against Borgen intentionally. The intent included the consequence of death. The defendant was under the influence of alcohol when he carried out the murders against Borgen.

Judged as sober, the defendant would have known that the massive violence and repeated stabbings he subjected Borgen to would most likely have a fatal outcome.

The verdict

The normal sentence for murder is currently 12 years, but if there are particularly aggravating circumstances, the courts can go all the way up to 21 years. The prosecutor therefore believed that 16 years’ imprisonment was the correct sentence in this case.

The court did not completely agree with the prosecutor on this and suspended it for one year. The 30-year-old defendant was therefore sentenced to 17 years in prison. In addition, he must pay NOK. 209,261 for Sunniva’s funeral, NOK 280,000 in restitution compensation to each of her parents and NOK. 330,000 to the insurance companies for razing her flat.

The court justifies the length of the sentence in this way:

The court must take into account that there has been an adjustment of the level of punishment over several years. The penalty framework for murder was tightened by a change in the law on 25 June 2010. In connection with the change in the law, the legislator aimed that the standard punishment level for what is called “ordinary murder” – i.e. murder where there are no special mitigating or aggravating circumstances – should not be set lower than 12 year. The court refers to Prop.97 L (2009–2010) point 6.5.2. This has been followed up in case law, cf. among others Rt-2014-12. Murders that did not fall under the “ordinary” category, for example because there was premeditation or “particularly aggravating circumstances”, were assessed in the previous law with an increased penalty of 21 years, cf. section 233 second paragraph.

The perpetrator

The perpetrator’s identity was not disclosed by the media when the murder was reported, which of course creates speculation about the person’s background. NRK does not do it yet.

We have deliberately omitted to mention the perpetrator’s name in this article. Until now. Because his name is not Ali, Ahmet or Muhammad. His name is Eirik Hermansen and – until he was imprisoned – he lived in Bergen. As far as we can see, Bergens Tidende is the only newspaper that has mentioned him by name and picture.

In such serious criminal cases, where the court has not placed any restrictions on publication, we at HRS believe that there is no reason whatsoever to keep the perpetrator’s identity a secret. We are happy that Bergens Tidende thinks the same. It must apply regardless of who the perpetrator is, and regardless of ethnic background.

To draw a close comparison – for our part, we cannot see why a drinking pipe from a so-called celebrity who behaves like an asshole in a bar in Oslo so that a young woman with a hijab gets upset, should be spread across the front pages of all newspapers with full name and picture, and become a top story in Dagsrevyen. But when a person brutally kills a 23-year-old woman with a knife until the knife breaks, after which he fetches new knives twice more because the new knives also break, then his identity must be protected.

Surely it can’t be because this celebrity’s filling pipe generates a lot of clicks on the web, which leads to increased advertising revenue on the media’s websites? Can the media really be so cynical? Yes, we at HRS believe so.

She was one of us

Sunniva Borgen was just an ordinary young woman with a future ahead of her. She therefore generates no clicks online. As far as we know, neither does Eirik Hermansen, perhaps except in Bergen. There will be no advertising revenue from this.

Because Eirik Hermansen is Norwegian, HRS does not risk anything by publishing this article. No one in his family is going to react with threats because he is identified. Therefore, none of us need to move to a blocked address for that reason either.

We at HRS will mention more such judgments if we believe that they deserve to be discussed in a fuller way than what most media do. And regardless of who the perpetrator is, in such serious cases as this we can see no reason whatsoever to protect his identity.

Sunniva Borgen did not deserve what happened to her. It must be brought to light so that she is not forgotten.

Because Sunniva Borgen was one of us.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Sunniva Borgen years

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