Palme weapon dive fruitless

A search for the gun used in the 1986 murder of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme was called off on Saturday after coastguard divers failed to find anything suspicious in the Gavleån creek near Gävle.

Gavleån has featured in the murder investigation for the past year, due to the evidence of one witness who claims to have seen someone throw an object into the creek, near the E4 motorway outside Gävle, at around the time of the murder.

Having heard about the tip, the coastguard contacted Stig Edqvist, who leads the investigation into Palme’s murder, to get his view on the subject.

“He thought it was a good idea to dive in the creek, and we will now report the results to him. Then we’ll see what happens in the future,” coastguard diver Mats Bernäng told TT.

After about five hours’ diving on Saturday the four divers found two safety deposit boxes, a fire axe and other scrap metal.

Bernäng says he thinks it unlikely that there is a gun in the search area. The divers, using metal detectors, thoroughly searched a 25 by 30 metre area, Aftonbladet reports.

The police service said that the dive was a private initiative.

Olof Palme was shot dead on Sveavägen in central Stockholm on 28th February 1986, while walking back from the cinema with his wife. Two Winchester-Western .357 Magnum bullets were found at the scene, making it likely that the murder weapon was a Smith & Wesson.357.

Christer Pettersson was convicted of Palme’s murder in 1989, but was freed on appeal. Nobody else has been tried for the killing. Pettersson died in 2004. The investigation will continue until 2011, the 25th anniversary of the shooting.

TT/The Local