Man on trial for missing couple’s murder

A 21-year-old man is going on trial for the murder of a middle-aged couple from near Båstad, southern Sweden, even though their bodies have never been found.

Police have searched the coast and large areas of southern Sweden for the couple’s bodies, but without success. Nonetheless, the man has been charged with murder, and appeared in front of Helsingborg District Court on Friday. He has consistently denied playing any role in the couple’s disappearance.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Göran Olsson has put forward additional charges of serious assault and manslaughter, with an alternative charge of kidnapping.

The couple, a man aged 64 and a woman aged 58, were last seen in mid-January at their home near Båstad, 110 kilometres north of Malmö. The 21-year-old was arrested in March on suspicion of kidnapping, but even at that stage police suspected they could be dealing with a murder.

The police say that forensic evidence from the couple’s car link the man to the couple’s disappearance. The 21-year-old had taken the car and sold it on after the couple’s disappearance.

Police have searched for the missing pair in the sea, in wells in the region and in a lake near Lund. Witnesses report seeing the man near the lake around the time of the couple’s disappearance. The search was fruitless, despite the fact that police dogs showed an interest for a particular area of the lake.