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'Haga man' confesses to attacks

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19:58 CEST+02:00
Niklas Lindgren, the so-called Haga man, has admitted six attacks on women in Umeå.

"He was extremely relieved to be able to confess," his lawyer Leif Silbersky said.

Lindgren, 33, contacted Silbersky on Thursday, and in a meeting between the two on Friday he said he wanted to be questioned again by police. Under questioning in Saturday he admitted attacking six women.

"He has lived under enormous psychological pressure and he now felt that he wanted to talk about what he remembers from the relevant years," Silbersky told news agency TT.

Lindgren is suspected of more attacks than the six he has confessed to, although he had been charged with fewer. According to police he gave no details of the assaults. Silberksy, however, insisted that he had given a full confession, and had told police all he remembers.

"I have no reason to believe anything other than that he has now told everything he thinks he can from the recollections he has," Silbersky said.

The Haga man investigation is one of the biggest ever undertaken in the town of Umeå, 650 kilometres north of Stockholm. Some 14,000 names have been linked to the investigation, 2,500 people have been interviewed and 777 DNA samples have been taken.

Lindgren was arrested on 29th March after a tip-off. The case has received a lot of publicity and according to Leif Silbersky there are a number of factors that make it unique.

"In the 44 years that I have been working I have never experienced someone who has been so socially well-established, so well-liked by everyone and so gifted who has lived such a double life. I am surprised and I hope to God that the medicine men can tell me how someone can live like this."

"A major psychiatric assessment is naturally underway - the prosecutor and I are agreed on this, and he wants it himself," he said.

The rapes and attacks started in 1998, and have made many women in Umeå afraid to go out alone in the evenings. The length of time it has tacken to catch Lindgren was said by Lena Isaksson, who represents many of the victims, to have increased their suffering.

"I have met my clients and they have expressed relief. In some sense it has become a little easier for them now," she said.

In a press release, Västerbotten police said that victims and Lindgren's family had been informed of his admission. They asked media and members of the public to respect the women's privacy.

According to Bertil Östgård, police spokesman, the confession solved some questions, but that the investigation would continue.

"The confession will be added to the investigation material, but the process will now be sped up, and the prosecution could start earlier," he told TT.

TT/The Local

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