Öland fire “probably murder”

A fire in Byxelkrok on Öland at the end of August is now thought by police to have been a double murder - not a tragic accident, as was believed at the time.

Ulf Karlsson, police spokesman in Kalmar province, confirmed on Thursday that a murder investigation has begun. The inquiry was prompted by discoveries made by pathologists when they carried out post mortems on the two bodies found in the burnt out house.

“We rate the suspicion of murder as strong,” said Karlsson, who declined to go into details about the post mortems.

Nor did he comment on the police’s theory that both victims were murdered first and that the fire was started in order to conceal the crime.

The blaze in the wooden house broke out at about 2.30am and spread quickly. Both bodies were so badly burned that they could not conclusively be identified. But everything indicates that they were the 66 year old man and the 69 year old woman who lived in the house.

Nobody else was resident at that address.

Police say they do not yet have a suspect or a motive for the apparent double murder. Investigators have begun looking into the couple’s circle of acquaintances.

On Thursday the police also began doorstep interviews of the couple’s neighbours in Byxelkrok, to try and find possible witnesses. Meanwhile, police forensics experts have resumed their examination of the remains of the house.

Police have also opened a telephone line and are asking for help from the public.

“We’re a week behind,” admitted Ulf Karlsson.