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Murder trial begins for dismemberment suspect

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10:29 CET+01:00
The murder trial against a 22-year-old suspected of dismembering his ex-girlfriend began on Thursday in Piteå, northern Sweden. The man took part in the massive search and rescue operation launched after her disappearance.

The suspect has pleaded not guilty. The blood of 20-year-old Vatchareeya Bangsuan was discovered in the boot of his car. A pair of work gloves and a roll of tape tainted with the victim’s blood were also found in his home.

Bangsuan disappeared in Boden on May 7th, 2013 sparking a drawn-out search by rescue services and volunteers - including the suspect - until her dismembered remains were discovered on May 20th in a building on an abandoned military base. The 22-year-old man on trial for her murder was a friend, with whom she also had a short relationship several years back.

Technicians have been able to determine that Bangsuan attempted to call 112 (the European and Swedish emergency services number), but was unsuccessful. She pressed asterisk instead of the call button and her call for help never made it through.

The high-profile hunt for her and the details of her death have drawn attention to the case, with the court house in Piteå swarmed by reporters and onlookers alike on Thursday morning.

"There's a lot of pressure on him today, but at the same time it's a huge relief that his long time in jail is nearing an end," Bo Forssberg, the suspect's attorney, told the news agency TT.

Investigators have yet to find the crime scene or any sort of murder weapon, and the complicated case will be assessed by two judges as well as a jury. Generally only one judge is present, but the investigation is the largest ever in the Swedish Norrbotten County.

"The only think I can say is that I have no idea how it got to this," the suspect said during his pretrial hearing.

Male DNA from the woman’s ankles has been analyzed, but the results were uncertain. The DNA could belong to the 22-year-old man, but forensic technicians could not say for sure.

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The murder suspect participated in the search for the woman, along with volunteers from the organization Missing People. He admitted that he had been to the abandoned building where the woman’s body parts were later found, although he claimed he did not see anything there. Bangsuan was studying in his apartment before she disappeared.

TT/The Local/sr

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