Police in Denmark hunt for ‘serial criminal’ behind rocks dropped on to motorway traffic

Police in Odense have described as ‘serial criminals’ the person or persons behind a series of acts of dangerous vandalism that have cost one life.

Police in Denmark hunt for 'serial criminal' behind rocks dropped on to motorway traffic
The two stone blocks thrown from a motorway bridge in August 2016, killing one. Police are treating the crime as a murder. Photo: Fyns Politi/Polfoto/Ritzau

One or more individuals are behind the crimes on the E20 motorway on the island of Funen, where rocks have been thrown from bridges on to oncoming traffic on a number of occasions.

“They will not stop until they are caught,” Deputy Chief Superintendent Per Lydiksen Laursen of Funen Police said on Friday morning, drawing a parallel between the incidents and serial criminals.

Police hope residents in Tarup, an area in the northwest of Denmark’s third city Odense, can help with their investigation. Evidence suggests that the individual or individuals behind the crimes either live in or regularly visit that area.

A concrete block thrown from a bridge in 2016, killing a German woman who was travelling in a car on the motorway, is thought to come from the Tarup Center shopping mall, reports Fyens Stiftstidende.

The woman, Nelli Gosmann, was killed and her husband seriously injured, while the couple’s five-year-old son was not physically harmed. Police are treating the incident as a murder.

In September this year, a rock weighing 40 kilograms was thrown from a second bridge, around 200 metres from the site of the first crime. Nobody was injured, but police are investigating the case as an attempted manslaughter.

DNA from the rock used in the second case has been found to match traces from acts of vandalism, also in the Tarup area, where in December 2015 and March 2016 stones were thrown through residents’ windows.

A box of snus tobacco which also provided a DNA sample was also found near the bridge from where the second rock was thrown.

Although the DNA from the tobacco box did not match that from the vandalism incidents, the specialist brand can be bought at Tarup Center.

This week saw new stone-throwing incidents in the area.

In the early hours of Wednesday, rocks were thrown from bridges between exits 53 and 54 on the E20 motorway on Funen. Two cars were damaged.

READ ALSO: Van hit by rock thrown from Danish motorway bridge


Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks

Danish prosecutors on Friday charged the country's former military intelligence chief with leaking state secrets, following a scandal over Denmark's cooperation with US intelligence.

Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks
The prosecution authority said Lars Findsen was accused of “having divulged secrets important to national security on several occasions and… under particularly aggravated circumstances”.
The details of the investigation are classified, but the case comes after Danish media reported that the Danish intelligence services had cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Findsen, who was suspended in August 2020 without public explanation, was subsequently held in custody from December 2021 to February 2022. He insists he is innocent.

“I never divulged any state secrets. I reject the allegations”, he told Danish news agency Ritzau in June, criticising the handling of the case as “ridiculous”.

Prosecutors accuse Findsen of leaking state secrets and other confidential information after his suspension to six people, including two journalists, over a period of up to 17 months.

The leaks could “harm relations with other intelligence service partners and make their work more difficult if their work methods were revealed”, prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said.
“Trust in the (Danish) intelligence service’s ability to protect sensitive information may have been weakened,” he added.
The prosecution said it would request a trial behind closed doors. A date has yet to be set.
While Denmark never publicly revealed why Findsen and the other agents were suspended, there have been suspicions that his service conducted illegal surveillance.
The government accused them of hiding “crucial information” and providing “false information to the authorities” between 2014 and 2020.
In May 2021, an investigation by several Danish media revealed that the NSA used Danish underwater cables to spy on officials in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden until at least 2014.
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel was among the NSA’s targets.
The revelations sparked an international scandal and the four countries demanded explanations from Washington and Copenhagen.