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Tearful Haga Man: I'm sorry

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11:15 CEST+02:00
Niklas Lindgren, who has confessed to being the Haga Man rapist, tearfully apologized to his victims in court in Umeå on Saturday.

"I hope the apology is sincere. One does wonder," said Lena Isaksson, representative of one of the victims.

Lindgren's lawyer, Leif Silbersky, told the court that his client feels as though he is two people.

"A person who has caused pain, great pain, but also a person who does not understand how the other can act like that," he said.

Much of the trial had been held behind closed doors, but on Saturday afternoon Silbersky was given permission by the court to talk about his client and give a different picture of that portrayed in the media.

"He has apologized for what he has done. He didn't want this, and he cannot explain it, but he understands their suffering."

Lindgren cried as he apologized, his attorney said.

But the fact that Silbersky made the apology public made one of his victims question its sincerity, Lena Isaksson said.

"She wondered whether it was aimed at her or whether it was aimed at the media," she said.

Three women have so far testified, all in the presence of their alleged rapist.

According to Silbersky, Lindgren has described himself in court as two people: the good person whom everyone loves and the evil whom everyone currently hates.

"Even he [hates himself]," he said.

He explains the attacks by saying that he was very drunk when he committed them, but says he cannot explain the level of violence he used.

"If we had been able to explain it we would have done," said Silbersky, who said that he in no way excuses what Lindgren did.

"That must be condemned, he must be convicted and there must be a severe punishment. But he is not actually a monster."

Silbersky has asked the court to consider allowing the media into court to cover the testimony of the next few witnesses, making some of the written evidence public and making as much as possible of the final pleas public.

Court chairman Thomas Södermark has said that secrecy will not be relaxed until the final days of the trial.

Earlier on Saturday, the court heard about the attack on a 50 year old woman on Brånvägen on 6th November 1999. While Lindgren has admitted to other rapes, he claims that in this case the attack went no further than an attempted rape.

The Brånvägen victim has previously told police that she suddenly felt that someone put a belt or something similar around her neck.

"You mustn't scream," said a man before dragging her into a garden in a residential area.

The woman had been out with a friend and they had been walking home together late at night. They went their separate ways when they reached the northern part of the Haga area in Umeå. The 50 year old was almost home when she was attacked.

The woman was punched in the face several times, but screamed and put up a fight. After the attack Lindgren followed her home.

"To help her - she was bewildered," he explained during a police interrogation.

Lindgren took the woman's keys and opened her outer door. According to his account of the incident, she rushed forward to the next door and banged hard on it. He fled with the keys still in his hand.

Later that night he approached another woman on Norra Ersmarksgata, but she managed to punch and kick herself free.

Both of these women gave evidence on Saturday. They have requested that their identities are not revealed by the media.

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