Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Boyfriend admits stabbing to death Santa tour worker in Lapland

Rebecca Johnson and Karel Frybl
Image caption The court heard Rebecca Johnson and Karel Frybl had argued the night before the stabbing

The boyfriend of a Scottish woman stabbed to death in Lapland has admitted killing her - but claimed he has no memory of the attack.

A Finnish court was told Rebecca Johnson, 26, from Fife, was stabbed 10 times in the chest last December.

Karel Frybl, a 36-year-old Czech national, denies murder, claiming he had a temporary mental breakdown.

Ms Johnson was a member of a Santa Safari team which worked with a Christmas-themed tour operator.

Mr Frybl was arrested in December, following a police operation involving snow scooters and a helicopter, after his girlfriend's body was discovered in the Finnish village of Kuttanen.

Court documents revealed she was killed by 10 stab wounds to the chest and there were 30 other puncture and cut wounds on her head, neck, chest, abdomen, back, hands and right leg.

The trial in Rovaniemi was told there was a history of verbal and physical abuse in the relationship.

WhatsApp messages from Ms Johnson to her sister were read out in court, in which her sister urged her to report him to his employers, adding: "This will escalate and he may end up killing you."

The court was told the couple had argued the night before Ms Johnson's death and had slept in separate cottages.

Image copyright Finnish Police
Image caption Lapland Police Department released a photo of the spot where Mr Frybl was detained

When arrested Mr Frybl was found to have two stab wounds to his stomach, which prosecutors claim were self-inflicted.

Mr Frybl's lawyer has suggested he was instead stabbed by Ms Johnson.

He claims she attacked him when he returned to her cottage the morning after the argument to return something for a computer.

His lawyer said he had served with the Czech army in Kosovo and Afghanistan, which may have left him with mental health problems that contributed to his temporary breakdown.

The couple had lived in Scotland before moving to the Arctic for seasonal work. Ms Johnson was employed by Santa Safari, which works with Oxford-based tour operator Transun Travel to organise Christmas-themed excursions in Lapland.

Ms Johnson was originally from Burntisland in Fife, and several members of her family were in court, wearing purple ribbons in her memory.

As part of the Finnish legal system, the family is also pursuing compensation claims, for income lost when they took time off work, mental anguish, and other expenses.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Rebecca Johnson was working as a guide for a Christmas-themed tour operator

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