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CRIME

Trial starts in teenage murder tragedy

The teenage couple accused of the murder of the girl's mother made their first court appearance today at the district court in Värnamo, Småland. The 17 year old girl and her 18 year old boyfriend both pleaded guilty through their lawyers to the murder, as well as the attempted murder of her father and sister.

Both the defence lawyers and the representatives of the girl’s sister requested questioning of the family members occur behind closed doors.

Prosecutor, Anders Brokelind, then told the court how the couple had planned for several weeks to murder the girl’s parents, three older siblings and grandmother in order to inherit the parents’ money.

Brokelind remarked that the case was first and foremost a family tragedy. Reports in the Swedish press have described a desperately unhappy couple, who felt completely failed and unloved.

The couple met on the internet two years ago and dreamt of having plastic surgery to change their appearance. They also wanted to live in a Buddhist temple in Japan and learn martial arts.

They isolated themselves increasingly from the outside world and their families, until the girl left home and started living with her boyfriend with his father in Stockholm. They then spent six weeks planning the murder. They hoped to inherit the girl’s family wealth, accumulated from a business they owned, to finance their dreams.

During this period, the couple made serious attempts to find a killer to carry out their plan. But their efforts resulted only in an accusation of conspiracy to murder, which police in Jönköping ignored.

Ultimately, they decided to carry out the plan themselves. On 19th April, they bought a hammer and a knife and took the train from Stockholm to the girl’s family home in Gislaved.

On the long journey, doubts appear to have crept in. The boy told police in an interview:

“I wasn’t really sure we were doing the right thing. Maybe she wasn’t either, I don’t know. But she wanted to go through with it.”

They sneaked into the house and the boy murdered the mother with the hammer as she slept and gave the father life-threatening injuries. The girl tried to kill her sister, but she woke up and managed to avoid the blows and escape to a neighbour.

The plan was then to kill the grandmother before returning to Stockholm to kill the girl’s two brothers before they realised what had happened. But they were arrested a few hours later at a railway station, by which time the boy had phoned his father and confessed.

Aftonbladet describes how the couple sat in court today looking pale and with long fringes hanging over their eyes. The boy looked resolute, but the girl only nodded in reply to questions and never looked at her brothers or sister.

Both have undergone psychiatric examination and are considered to be seriously mentally disturbed. This means that the girl can still claim her inheritance, even if she’s convicted of murder.

Sources: Expressen, Aftonbladet

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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