Haga man trial stays behind closed doors

Niklas Lindgren, the so-called Haga Man, who has admitted raping five women in Umeå over a seven year period, today denied attacking a 15-year old girl in Ersboda in December 2000.

“He says that he has nothing to do with this,” his lawyer Lief Silbersky said.

In a separate development, the Upper Norrland Court of Appeal rejected appeals of the Umeå District Court’s decision to hold Lindgren’s trial behind closed doors.

The district court sat for only two hours on Monday, in the last day of hearings before the Midsummer break. The hearing dealt with an attack that had not been linked to Lindgren before he was arrested on 29th March this year.

When the 15-year old girl saw Lindgren’s face in the papers, she recognized him immediately. More than six years after she was attacked she told police that Lindgren was the man who had jumped on her as she was on her way home from a friend’s house at 11pm on a December night.

At the time of the attack, Lindgren had been in a nearby restaurant at a staff party with colleagues from the Motorcentralen garage in Umeå. A number of the other rapes with which he is charged took place after he had attended similar events.

Lindgren’s name appears on a list of staff members who wanted to take part in a beer tasting during the party.

Most of his colleagues left the party between 10pm and 11pm. Lindgren did not go with them, and told police in questioning that he had taken a walk to get some air. When he drew his route on a map, part of it was the same as part of the girl’s route.

The girl told police that she had met a man on her walk. He was wearing a pink shirt with rolled-up sleeves, despite it being December. Exactly what happened then might never be known to the public – her evidence to the court about the alleged attack was given behind closed doors.

When police raided Lindgren’s house they found a pink shirt, but otherwise there is little forensic evidence linking Lindgren to the attack, in contrast with the other attacks with which he is charged. Two years ago, police threw out hear and fibres that had been found on the girl.

Leif Silbersky said his client continues to deny the attack on the 15-year old.

“He had been to a party nearby but de says that he has nothing to do with the alleged crime.”

Silbersky said nothing about what else had happened during the day’s hearing, such as whether the victim had been able to positively identify Lindgren.

“I don’t want to comment on that, nor do I want to talk about the shirt,” he said.

The trial will start again a week on Wednesday.