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Parents on trial for adopted son's death

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18:42 CET+01:00
The adoptive parents of a three year old boy who died after untreated wounds led to blood poisoning appeared before Jönköping district court on Monday accused of manslaughter.

In the mass of research material presented to the court were horrific pictures of the boy's injuries. When his mother eventually called an ambulance to their residence in the Jönköping area, the boy showed no signs of life.

"It's clear that the boy must have been in enormous pain," said prosecutor Stefan Edwardson.

From the middle of December until the boy's death, the sores on his abdomen, groin, backside and feet became worse. Several parts of the boy's body had been affected by necrosis which led to pneumonia and brought about his death.

"If he had had care in time his life could have been saved with medical expertise," said Stefan Edwardson.

The parents, who are thought to have been suspicious of medical care, tried to treat the boy themselves.

"They thought that the situation wasn't so serious," said the father's lawyer, Erik Sterner.

Both parents, who are in their 30s, deny the charges.

The mother is said to have undergone a psychiatric examination but the results are confidential.

The prosecutor made it clear that the parents are not suspected of intentionally killing the boy.

"This is about them losing control of the situation. They couldn't manage with the boy," said Stefan Edwardson.

The mother was also charged with molestation after she forced the boy to lick up his own urine from the floor. The father is accused of serious assault having injured the boy on his abdomen.

According to relatives and people close to the family, the parents had become tired of the boy, who joined them in the summer, and they spoke abusively and coldly of him.

The couple already had one biological daughter.

The prosecutor has not found any evidence to suggest that the parents caused the fatal wounds.

"We don't know exactly how the injuries and sores happened," said Edwardson.

When the boy came to Sweden from a foreign children's home he had no injuries. The Social Services and adoption authorities carried out home visits during the autumn but did not notice any abuse.

"The injuries were not visible when the boy had clothes on," said Edwardson.

He made no comment on the Social Services' enquiry which deemed that the couple should be approved as adoptive parents. The report showed no irregularities.

Both the local authority and the adoption organisation are now expected to review their processes.

"There are a lot of requirements to be able to adopt," said Eva Jonasson Melin at the organisation which arranged the adoption.

"The fact that this has happened has shocked us and the children's home. We are trying to explain it so that the authorities in the other country understand that this was a one-off."

The trial of the couple will begin on Friday.

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TT/The Local

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