Bodström turns on road killers

People who cause fatal car crashes could face tougher sentences under plans unveiled by Sweden's justice minister Thomas Bodström on Friday.

In a number of serious road accidents in the past few years drunk drivers have caused multiple deaths. In August 2003 a 62-year old woman and her 11-month old granddaughter were mown down near Umeå by an intoxicated man.

The man was jailed for one and a half years for drunk driving and manslaughter, and the sentence was confirmed by the appeal court and the Supreme Court. Many in Sweden condemned the sentence as too lenient.

Bodström said his proposal would see a new crime enter the statute book – Manslaughter in vehicular traffic.

“This is needed because these are special circumstances – this claims more human lives than a year’s worth of violent crime.”

As with all Swedish criminal offences, the new crime will be divided into two levels. People convicted of the more serious level of the offence – which would apply, for instance, to people who were drunk – will face a minimum sentence of one year.

The current minimum sentence for serious manslaughter is six months.

“There’s a big difference between getting into a car drunk and running someone over and causing a workplace accident, for example,” said Bodström.

The government says it hopes the new law will be in force by early next year, although it faces a general election in September.


Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.