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'Haga man' arrested

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15:14 CEST+02:00
For more than seven years the so-called 'Haga man', a violent serial rapist, frustrated police and struck fear into the women of Umeå. But at lunchtime on Wednesday the 33 year old man who is thought to be behind the attacks was arrested.

A tip-off at the end of January appears to have identified the man, an Umeå resident who has no previous criminal record.

On Friday the man was seized by police for questioning and forced to provide a sample of DNA. A few days later came the result that a whole town had been waiting for.

"Today we got the answer from the National Criminal Laboratory. The man's DNA matches that of the Haga man," said the head of the investigation, Göran Markström, at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The Haga man has baffled police since August 1998 when he first struck in the Haga area of Umeå.

Between 1998 and 2000 the he was responsible for seven violent rapes on women in the town. All of the attacks happened at night and most targeted single women on their way home from bars in the Haga area.

But after 2000 the attacks stopped - at least until December 10th last year. A 51 year old woman was on her way home from a bar at about 2am when she was raped and beaten so badly that police classed the crime as attempted murder.

The police were inundated with tips about the possible identity of the man, while women described how they once again would not go out alone at night. Investigators feared another series of attacks.

"If he's not arrested he'll strike again," said Göran Markström just a month ago.

Wednesday's arrest was said to have been undramatic. As soon as the positive DNA result was received by Umeå police, to plain clothes officers went to the man's workplace. He was taken into custody on probable suspicion of several serious rapes, serious assault and attempted murder.

The Haga man case prompted the largest criminal investigation ever for Umeå police. 2,500 people have been interviewed and DNA tests on 777 men were analysed.

TT/The Local

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