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Murdered girl's mother to sue Swedish state

Murdered girl's mother to sue Swedish state

Published: 21 Feb 2012 09:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Feb 2012 09:56 GMT+01:00

Carina Höglund, mother to 2008’s 10-year-old murder victim Engla, is suing the government for its inability to protect her daughter in what she claimed was a preventable attack.

Höglund is taking the government to the Stockholm District Court on the grounds that police had information about her daughter’s killer, Anders Eklund, from a previous rape and murder case in 2000, yet did not act on the tips.

“What the Attorney General is saying is that we cannot expect the police to work beyond their own regulations and that they don’t need to be held accountable for their mistakes,” said Höglund to Dalarna Tidningar newspaper (DT).

If the police had acted on their tip-offs, they may have prevented the rape and murder of her ten-year-old daughter Engla, according to Höglund.

“The government will pay for their mistake,” Höglund told DT on Monday.

Höglund is aware that the chances are not in her favour when it comes to suing the state, but aims to make an attempt on behalf of her daughter, and in the hope of preventing any similar attacks in the future.

If Höglund does not succeed with the lawsuit, she will not only have to pay for her own court fees, but also the government’s, but this is a case she considers to be worth the risk.

“We won’t get Engla back. Her suffering won’t decrease. I just want to put some meaning into all this senselessness,” she said.

On April 5th, 2008, Anders Eklund ran across 10-year-old Engla as she was riding her bicycle home following football practice outside Stjärnsund in Dalarna in central Sweden.

Eklund followed the girl a short way and then began speaking to her, at which point, according to Eklund, she started acting “cheeky” and “arrogant”. Afterward, he said, he lost his senses and got “tunnel vision”.

He then raped and strangled the girl, and dumped her body in an isolated wooded area before trying to burn it.

Eight years earlier in June 2000, Eklund followed the then 31-year-old Pernilla Hellgren when she left a street festival in Falun in central Sweden.

He later attacked, raped, and strangled her, leaving the body visible and partially clothed in a wooded area.

The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:07 February 21, 2012 by naimad
The best luck in court Mrs. Höglund!
09:08 February 21, 2012 by karex
I hope the mother succeeds in her case. It is very important to have a precedent for cases like these, otherwise the overall situation will have little chance of improving and more innocent people will be killed senselessly.
09:10 February 21, 2012 by wolverine2k
And why the hell was the guy out after his deeds in 2000? I think Carina is doing the right thing by suing this incompetent state and the stupid police.
09:24 February 21, 2012 by StockholmSam
This is one woman against the state. If ever there was a moment when citizens need to come together as a group to demand change within the government, to show support of a fellow citizen who is standing up for what is right and trying to make needed changes, now is the time. I hate to think of this woman going it alone while the rest of us just watch and post our opinions on websites. I would love to see a gathering of people to show our support, both to her and to the government. It would also be great if the people of Sweden contributed to her court costs, which will certainly be substantial after she loses.
09:45 February 21, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
A very courageous and admirable initiative on the part of Mrs Höglund after her tragic loss. I wish her luck and agree with StockholmSam that the public will hopefully be willing to provide some help with her legal costs if/when her lawsuit fails. Thank you Mrs Höglund.
09:54 February 21, 2012 by RobinHood
Now listen here. The Prime Minister himself has reassured us all that there is nothing wrong with Sweden's justice system, particularly in relation to sexual offences. It is a paragon of commin sense and virtue. How can Mrs Höglund possibly be correct?
10:03 February 21, 2012 by karex
Stockhom Sam

You are totally right! But let's try to be positive and not second-guess the results. She has a chance, let's hold on to that hope.

Here is also an appeal to Sweden's star attourneys: please offer this courageous lady your services - pro-bono, God knows she needs all the support that she can get and she speaks for many.
10:05 February 21, 2012 by blursd
What an absurd argument ... that the Swedish Police don't do their job. Next thing they'll be telling me Rosengård isn't safe ...
10:30 February 21, 2012 by Streja
wolverine2k, you don't know the story. The murderer of Pernilla was never caught in 2000 or before Engla's murder. The problem is that the police got a tip off about Eklund regarding the Pernilla murder but did not act. That's why she is suing.
10:38 February 21, 2012 by tgolan
the whole justice system is a scandal in Sweden and need reform, We went after the police several years agao because they didn't do a proper investigation and were awarded several thousand krowns in damages by the justice ombudsman, people need to complain more
11:07 February 21, 2012 by zooeden
Go for it mom but that wont bring your baby back, I suggest MOM should go and kill the rapist herself, there is no other solution!!!
11:17 February 21, 2012 by Kevin Walker
I would also like to add ,that I have been here 17years and I do think the Swedish police and justice system stinks.It has always seemed to me that the Swedish Police just do not seem to care about catching villans and fighting crime.Where do you ever see Police stopping dodgy cars ,like in the UK and catching people with Drugs,Stolen good etc.It doesnt happen,they say they have not got the recources,

(Stackars Dom).One thing is for sure it really does pay to commit crime in Sweden.You have a 90% chance of getting away with it .Great odds.

We phoned the police once ,because there was a car parked outside our house with a van playing really loud strange music,about 2-30--3.00 am and my wife was 8 months pregnant,We phoned the police and they said to her ,We have no cars ,go and talk to them .What a joke.They could be on Drugs ,stab you with a knife etc.

THis is why we pay such high taxes to have no protection what so ever.
11:41 February 21, 2012 by atlasshrugged
may be someone can just create a Paypal account for this case, i am sure may will pitch in for such good course...that way people can show show support n love...just do that put on on facebook, google + then bum...awareness + support + love
12:33 February 21, 2012 by eppie
@zooeden No that is not a solution. Yes, you have one rapist/murdere less on the streets but when the police doesn't change its behaviour things like this will keep happening.

@kevin Walker

yes I fully agree. I always take the example of traffic. You can speed and pass when the light is red as you please because the chance of being stopped and fined is close to 0.

The problem I think is that Swedes have always been calm and law abiding citizens, but thinsg are changing now, just like you see in the rest of europe. People are getting more anitsocial and aggressive and behave as complete egoists.

I personally blame the out of hand kind of capitalism that is ruling now.
13:25 February 21, 2012 by phil23456
Go girl go!!
14:23 February 21, 2012 by strixy
I hope she wins but I can see the judge protecting the state as this would be a dangerous precendence to risk.
14:30 February 21, 2012 by Carbarrister
"What the Attorney General is saying is that we cannot expect the police to work beyond their own regulations and that they don't need to be held accountable for their mistakes,"

Unfortunately, this kind of lawsuit is sometimes necessary to cause "regulations" to be changed to protect the rights of the innocent rather than the rights of the criminal. Also, there is a failure when the police or any other government officials are free from "accountability" for their actions or inactions.
14:47 February 21, 2012 by cattie
There should be a legal fund set-up for this case. Perhaps there is already an interest group backing Mrs. Höglund? It is in the interest public safety. Public employees are shielded from accountability and there is simply not enough public monies allocated to oversight.
15:08 February 21, 2012 by Puffin
@ Wolverine2k

The article is a little misleading as it doesn't make clear that Eklund was never arrested or charged i connection with the murder of Pernilla in 2000

It was first AFTER the murder of Engla and Eklunds arrest and subsequent confession that police also connected him to the Pernilla murder as well - however it later transpired that his name was one that the police had recieved - among many - in relation to the Pernilla murder that had not been fully followed up.

He was of course caught by luck in the Engla case - that his car and registration number was photographed in the area at the time of the murder by someone out with a new camera
15:31 February 21, 2012 by Valdemaratterdag
Written on the doors of Swedish Police Stations:

"Kom Inte Hit För Hjälp"

"Don't come here for help"

Written on the doors of Swedish Courthouses:

"Kom Inte Hit För Rättvisa"

"Don't Come Here For Justice"
18:19 February 21, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
Well done Carina ! its about time we had more of these actions in Sweden ! Best of luck ! Swedish justice sucks, patronises the victims & pities the perpetrators...time for change..even after 6 years of a conservative coalition ? shows you how different Rhinefeldt was from Göran Persson !
18:24 February 21, 2012 by Trenatos
I'm just wondering, what exactly could the police have done to prevent this horrible thing from happening?
22:35 February 21, 2012 by ChocOwl
according to dalademokraten.se:

The police had received a tip that Eklund could be responisble for Pernilla's murder. It was decided that a swab for DNA analysis be taken from him to check this out. 16 months went by without the test being made. Then he killed Engla and they did a test and found he was also Pernilla's murderer.

below is the text from http://dalademokraten.se/Dalarna/Englas-familj-stammer-staten-pa-18-miljoner/

Eklund bodde i Torsåker, några mil från Falun på andra sidan länsgränsen mot Gästrikland, och hade ett förslutet som sexualbrottsling.

Sedermera skulle hans namn återfinnas dels bland flera män som identifierats som potentiella gärningsmän, dels i ett konkret tips till polisen. Båda tipsen på outredda när Engla mördades.

Tragiskt nog fanns beslut om så kallad "topsning" av Eklund vilket betyder att den idag 46-årige mördare obönhörligen skulle ha blivit gripen förr eller senare. Beslutet om "topsning" hade dock legat obearbetat i 16-månader när tioåringen mördades.
23:16 February 21, 2012 by stateohio905
I agree with "atlasshrugged" we can help with the money. She has 100% right, how somebody can even think differently. I agree law is a set of conduct rules ,but rules can be changed if we all care.
01:50 February 22, 2012 by BackpackerKev
Either this "was" 100% preventable or is it a "may" have been prevented, if it was 100% preventable, then the police are accountable for their mistakes, but alas you cannot prove this as even if he was caught on the original crime and sentenced to 15years, he may have been released in 8 and still committed the crime. Then do we sue the state for their inability to reform criminals. Where does it stop.

The law has to work on facts, not what if's or speculation. unfortunately I dont see much happening with this except the media rounds, because there was no imminent or reported threat to her daughter on which the police could have worked on. If not her daughter then someone else, if the daughter wasn't there would it have been another 8 years.

The only good thing the Swedish law can do is lock this guy away for a very long time which will probably not happen.
10:34 February 22, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ BackpackerKev

Disagree with you. The first crime took place in 2000, in the era of DNA testing, so it would not have been so difficult to obtain a hair sample or DNA sample from the killer at the time of the first rape and murder. He is not on a list of 500,000 suspects, he was on a much smaller list of people they had tips on.

And yes, people should also be allowed to sue the state for their inability to reform criminals. The state has a duty to not release psychopaths back into society. The release of psychopaths with no strictly enforced medication injection program after a state appointed quack has deemed the psychopath to be 'cured' is grounds for a lawsuit as well.

And of course the mother had no way of knowing her daughter would be killed. The point she is making is that improper safeguards endangered all of society, and that this should never happen again.
11:30 February 22, 2012 by BackpackerKev
@Reason and Realism

What if this murder happened 5 years from now? After he had been caught from the 1st crime, served his sentence, and was released. Would this case still stand in court. How many times do we see people convicted of a crime and released only to re-offend.

The state has a duty, but you talk too specifically on psychopaths, but what about all other types of criminals. Basically your suggesting life imprisonment for all - because the legal system will not want the copious amount of lawsuits should criminals be release.

fact: you don't have to be a psychopath to rape and murder. Don't assume. The majority of Psychopaths cannot be cured, how can you chemically induce emotions, chemically induce a sense or right and wrong. you cant, and so should these people be locked away forever, even tho u walk the streets and pass many everyday tho they haven't committed any crime.

realistically, you cannot successfully safeguard all of society and this will happen again.
11:53 February 22, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ BackpackerKev

Forced concumption of mood stabilizing drugs will take away homiciidal impulses in some cases, so this is worth adding to the release conditions of mentally ill offenders who are deemed fit to release, but I am not suggesting that these will make the world a perfect place.

If the police and prosecution team deem that a killer is a psychopath, they should request that this person never be released at the time of a trial.

The point here in this particular case is negligence on the part of the state, which implies that the state did not take reasonable investigative action on the tips they had at their disposal to solve an unsolved rape and murder case, which later led to the senseless rape and murde. of a young girl.

Suing for negligence, even if not succesful in terms of compensation for the mother, can hopefully stil lead to an improvent in proceduresto to máke it less likely that this will happen again, which is a very worthy goal.
04:51 February 27, 2012 by Not Dumb
Carina's goal is certainly a worthy one, but it is unfortunate that it often seems there are only two rules to Swedish law:

1. No official, body, or any group or individual acting as a representative of the City, County, or State is ever responsible for wrongdoing unless a higher official, body, group, or representative definitively says so.

2. If ever there is an action brought by a private individual giving reason to believe that such parties affiliated with the State are guilty of wrongdoing, always refer to rule number 1.
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