Swimmer gets 3 years jail for firebombing sport director’s house

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15 May 2014 in Ski, Norway, a 25-year-old former swimmer was sentenced to three years in jail for firebombing sport director Frank Pedersen’s residence back in January 2011, when Pedersen, his wife, three daughters (11, 13 and 17) and two other youngsters were sleeping inside. See øb.no via simma.nu/no

Frank Pedersen speaking at the 2012 Aqua Clinic in Holstebro, Denmark

Frank Pedersen speaking at the 2012 Aqua Clinic in Holstebro, Denmark

The fire alarm had woken Pedersen and his wife, who found the entrance to their house on fire from what turned out to be a Molotov cocktail made from a bottle of Roses Lime filled with gasoline.

They managed to put out the fire before the fire department came 20 minutes later, but experts say that the people sleeping inside might just as well have died from smoke inhalation, if not awakened by the fire alarms, as there were signs of early stage smoke gases in the bedrooms.

Along with the Molotov cocktail, police found pieces of a local newspaper from 2005, where a full-page article was about a promising swim talent, in the club where Pedersen was sports director. Pedersen wasn’t his coach, but had been the one to give him the message, that he was off the elite team.

The swim talent had stopped, and later told police that he had loathed Pedersen for destroying his life. Pedersen had in return told police that the defendant’s name was the first that came to mind, when he realised that the fire was applied.

The defendant was arrested two months after the fire, when the police during search also found a binder with newspaper clippings including the aforementioned article, plus a funnel, a gasoline can and two weapons that he didn’t have licenses for: a U.S. carbine, a Luger and ammunition.

Police were also able to prove that the defendant had bought the gasoline can only two weeks before the fire. When the defendant heard this, he went pale and shaky and had to lie down and take a break from the interrogation. He never admitted to be guilty of arson, though.

The Norwegian penalty for arson is between 2 and 21 years in prison. The defendant was sentenced to 3 years in jail, 8 months of these conditional. He also has to pay NOK 93,605 in damages to the insurance company, and NOK 4000 to Frank Pedersen. USD 15,700 and 671 respectively. He was not sentenced to pay the court costs, as he is unemployed.

Frank Pedersen is well-known and respected in Scandinavian swimming, as sports director of the flourishing Lambertseter swim club, and before that involved for many years in Danish swimming. He has also been Norwegian Eurosport commentator since 1999.

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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