(Less) dangerous times

Judging by the contents of this week's papers you would be forgiven for believing that Sweden was a dangerous place to live. The Knutby trial may still be dominating the headlines, but it's not the only crime to have attracted journalists' attention.

A trial in Borås heard how a 24-year old man who murdered a teenage girl and a 33-year old mother believed he was following orders from Mictian, the Aztec god of death. The murders happened in a rehab clinic in Mårdaklev, near Gothenburg.

The 24-year old repeatedly stabbed the two victims, a sixteen-year old called Jenny and the 33-year old Susanne Packendorff. Another girl was stabbed twelve times, but lived to tell the tale. Identified by the pseudonym Sofia, the girl came face to face with her attacker at the trial.

Both the 24-year old and Packendorff worked at the clinic. The two teenagers were attending the centre to undergo assessments. Sofia told the court how her friend ran into her room, having been stabbed several times. The attacker followed her, and then turned on Sofia as she tried to protect Jenny, explained Expressen. He tried to cut her throat as she knelt on the floor.

The killer himself raised the alarm, telling the police that he was under the command of a higher power.

“I had to – I received orders. I had to do this, otherwise they would have killed my two-year old son,” he said. The court sentenced him to be held in a secure hospital.

Stockholm’s exclusive Grand Hotel was the scene of a far less tragic but nonetheless disturbing attack. Dagens Nyheter reported that two men armed with an axe destroyed a display case containing valuable clocks in the hotel’s lobby.

One of the men was overpowered by guests and staff, but the other escaped. Luckily, nobody was hurt in the attack.

The hotel’s managing director, Peter Wallenberg, said that the attack was worrying, but that it was hard to see how it could have been prevented.

“A hotel lobby is an open space, and we can’t stop people coming in,” he told the paper.

But the message for Stockholmers was not to let the media’s talk of crime get you down. Sunday’s DN reported the happy news that the number of muggings in the capital is down significantly on a year ago, and the police were quick to take the credit. They claimed that it was a sign that their drive to concentrate resources on tackling the problem was paying off.

It wasn’t all good news, however. Police spokesman Anders Göranzon explained that criminals were adaptable sorts, and might be refocusing.

“They’re now becoming thieves and drug dealers,” he said. “But that’s another problem.”

Thanks, Anders.