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Over 30 years after a grisly murder took place on board a German ferry, a suspect stands trial

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By Euronews & DPA
The "MS Viking Sally" in Stockholm. The ship was sold to Nordström & Thulin (Estline) in 1993 and sank in a serious accident in the Baltic Sea in 1994.
The "MS Viking Sally" in Stockholm. The ship was sold to Nordström & Thulin (Estline) in 1993 and sank in a serious accident in the Baltic Sea in 1994.   -   Copyright  Maritime Museum, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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It has been nearly 34 years since two German backpackers were attacked on board the MS Viking Sally - one of the two did not survive the crime.

The trial of the alleged perpetrator for murder and attempted murder, a Dane who is now 51, begins this Monday. He denies the charges.

The trial is taking place in the District Court of the Finnish city of Turku, around 150 kilometers west of Helsinki. The town was the ultimate destination of the MS Viking Sally, which was en route from Stockholm in 1987 when the incident occurred.

The two Germans had been on a Scandinavian tour at the time and had spent the night of the crossing on the outer deck of the ferry.

Fellow travelers had discovered the couple that night and, noticing a large pool of blood, alerted the nurse on board.

The two were flown to the Turku clinic in a rescue helicopter, but for the then 20-year-old German, help came too late. His 22-year-old girlfriend survived seriously injured.

The police spent a long time looking into the background of the crime but it was not until 2016 that the Finnish police resumed the investigation.

The brutality and cruelty of the murder were particularly frightening, the prosecutor said, pointing out that the attacker must have hit the heads of the two victims several times.

This Monday, the indictment will be read out and the evidence will be examined and closing arguments are expected at the end of the week. When the judgment will be decided has not yet been determined.

The Scandinavian ferry on which the murder occurred was sold to the Swedish-Estonian company EstLine in 1993 and named Estonia.

A year later she sank in the Baltic Sea, in a shipwreck that is still considered to be the worst in post-war history in Europe.

The ferry sank within 30 minutes and help came too late for 852 people on board.