No emotion as Bobby’s mother tells of violence

Despite all the violence and misery there was also an element of tenderness in the daily life at the farm in Småland where ten year old Bobby died. That, at least, was the impression given by Bobby's mother when she was cross-examined in Eksjö district court on Thursday morning.

Both she and her partner are on trial for murdering the boy, although the prosecutor has also filed an alternative charge of assault and manslaughter.

In the morning session the mother explained how she would leave love notes in her partner’s lunch box before he went to work. But even that had its dark side.

“When I forgot to put in a note he became angry,” said the woman.

Then she would know to expect violence that evening, she told the court, as she was questioned by her defence lawyer Anders Berggren about life at the farm.

She spoke in the same unemotional tones as earlier in the trial. Nothing changed in her facial expressions or body language when she switched from talking about little love letters to how her son was abused and killed.

The reason she did not step in to protect her son was because she was afraid of her partner, she said. She thought he would kill her.

“There was someone he wanted to shoot dead but he didn’t say who it was,” said the woman.

“But I was afraid it could have been me.”

She was used to having his irritations turn to violence. According to the woman she was ‘punished’ more or less every day. Sometimes she was made to stand naked in front of her partner with her hands behind her neck in an ‘interrogation position’. On other occasions the violence was more tangible.

“One time he sat and cuddled my foot, and then took a lighter and started to burn my big toe,” said the woman.

“I screamed and that made him annoyed.”

The attacks against her were usually in the evenings when Bobby was in bed. There was a period when the man did not work and all three were home. The adults drank a lot of spirits at the time, but, according to the woman, Bobby did not see much of what happened.

“Only that I was beaten on my feet, down in the kitchen,” she said.

The idea of running away from the farm had crossed her mind but she did not dare, she claimed. She said she stayed for Bobby’s sake.

After a break the man’s defence lawyer, Per Oehme, will question the woman. Oehme claimed previously that much of the woman’s testimony is fabricated.