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Longer sentence for man who killed 'by mistake'

Published: 02 Sep 2011 14:14 GMT+02:00

“I think this is a good verdict,“ said deputy prosecutor Yvonne Rudinsson to news agency TT.

She had argued that the 37-year-old should be sentenced to life but said she could both understand and accept that the court of appeals ruled for fixed term imprisonment.

“Generally it takes a lot to get over the mark to a life sentence. I still felt that there was a point to have it tried,” Rudinsson said.

In February the man had been charged with murder and disturbing the peace of the dead, as well as with child rape in connection with a separate incident from 2007.

In May, the 37-year-old was convicted of murder and disturbing the peace of the dead, but the rape charges were then dismissed.

The 17-year-old “Johanna” was found dead in a wooded area outside Lindshammar in southeastern Sweden after a major police operation in August last year.

Johanna and the man had made contact via the internet, she wanted to be a model and he claimed to be a photographer.

The contents of the man's computer also provided evidence that he had had contact with a large number of women and that in several cases, he had pretended to represent a fashion company and wanted to take their pictures.

After the forensic investigation was carried out, investigators concluded that Johanna had been strangled to death in the 37-year-old's apartment and then dumped in the woods.

The man maintained that Johanna's death was accidental and occurred in connection with a sex act that went too far.

But in May the district court completely rejected the explanation given by the 37-year-old that he had placed a noose made out of an electrical lead around Johanna’s neck while having consensual sex.

Instead they supported the prosecutor’s theory that the man strangled the girl with his bare hands. In order to kill her he must have held on for at least three minutes, which made the court conclude that he intended to take her life.

The motive was believed to be jealousy and the man was said to have shown a strong inclination to exert his control over the girl.

Scratches on the 37-year-old’s arms and skin fragments under the victim’s nails also indicate that she had tried to fight him off and defend herself.

The district court didn’t think that the murder had been of such cruelty to warrant a life sentence. But neither were there any extenuating circumstances, and they therefore they sentenced him to 16 years in prison.

But the prosecutor, wanting a life sentence, appealed the verdict.

On Friday the court of appeals sentenced the 37-year-old to 17 years in prison and also convicted him of child rape for the 2007 incident, a charge of which he had previously been aquitted.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

19:50 September 2, 2011 by Tysknaden
Seventeen years is not enough.
21:03 September 2, 2011 by bolababu
its so sad to know that if someone killed me now for no reason, they'd get 16 years and get out in 10.
22:50 September 2, 2011 by StockholmSam
"The district court didn't think that the murder had been of such cruelty to warrant a life sentence."

Whew. I for one am sure glad this was one of those less cruel murders. I am sure the girl's family is relieved, too.
03:21 September 3, 2011 by texaslass
Women and especially girls in Sweden need to be careful, as it is dangerous out there. Since crimes against women are leniently punished, we ladies need to take precautions. One way is for parents to take an active part in their teen daughter's life, and ask her what she is doing at night and provide rules. I am also dismayed when I see young women going out for drinks and then walking home drunk at night, as this behavior is so dangerous. Taking a taxi would be the better option.
12:24 September 3, 2011 by johan rebel
The Swedish judicial system is a bad joke.

First of all, they should abolish the so-called "life" sentence, which is nothing of the sort. Next, the maximum penalties for first and second degree murder and manslaughter should be increased to realistic levels, i.e. at least tripled. Finally, they need to adopt an "honesty in sentencing" law. Convicts should serve their full sentences, with additional penalties for bad behavior. The current practice of releasing them after serving two-thirds, regardless of behavior, is a shameful charade. Courts simply sentence a crook to, say, two years, and then try to trick the gullible public into believing that he got three.

Furthermore, criminal sentenced to jail should actually go to jail, and stay there, instead of letting them out to celebrate birthdays, weddings, Christmas and other public holidays, or just whenever they feel like it.

Some years ago a Swedish jail simply closed for Christmas, because all the convicts had been released on parole! Every single one of them!

Also, those sentenced to pay fines, should be made to actually pay them, which far too few actually do. Likewise, those ordered to pay compensation to their victims should have all their money and property confiscated until the last cent has been paid. Right now the taxpayers foot the bill.
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