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Murder suspects cleared on technicality

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14:53 CET+01:00
A legal technical error has led to two men being cleared of the brutal murder of a 35-year-old daycare teacher.

The victim was abducted in May of last year and taken to a bog outside Hofors, 220 kilometres north of Stockholm. There she was struck repeatedly in the head with an axe. The prosecutor claimed that she then had her head shoved under water until she stopped breathing.

"The sequence of events was long and drawn out. The woman understood that she was going to be killed and must have experienced great mortal anxiety," said prosecutor Mikael Hammarstrand when the case went to trial in September.

But Gävle District Court has cleared the two men of murder, ruling that there was no proof that the 35-year-old daycare teacher had died by drowning.

According to the court, the woman died after receiving several blow to head with an axe. But since the prosecutor did not argue that this was the cause of death, the two suspects, aged 26 and 36, could not be held accountable.

The 26-year-old was however sentence to ten years in jail for abduction, making unlawful threats and harbouring a known criminal.

The 36-year-old man was given a three and a half year sentence for aggravated assault.

A 27-year-old-woman charged with being an accessory to murder and harbouring a known criminal was found guilty of the latter offence.

A police investigation into the murder painted a picture of a sustained and violent attack.

The three suspects in the case were acquainted with the 35-year-old daycare teacher.

Some time prior to the attack, the men got into an argument with the victim over narcotics and an alleged sexual assault. According to the prosecutor, the men made a decision to take her life.

On May 2nd 2006 the two men drove to her apartment in Sandviken. There they threatened her with an axe and forced her into their car.

In the nearby town of Hofors they then picked up the 27-year-old woman, who took over behind the wheel.

At Korsåvägen outside the town they pulled over, dragged the 35-year-old out of the car and bundled her violently into the trunk.

They then continued driving until they reached a dirt road far outside Hofors.

On being pulled out of the trunk, the shocked 35-year-old tried to run away. But her attempts to flee were cut short by a blow to the head with an axe.

Despite being injured, she attempted once more to escape but her feet soon became stuck in the wet ground.

Again the men struck her in the head with the axe. According to the court, it was at this point that her ordeal ended. But the prosecutor argued that she remained alive until the men pushed her head into the bog and held it there until her breathing ceased.

Her dead body was later placed in the trunk of the car and all three suspects returned to the 27-year-old woman's apartment.

The next day they took the victim's body to a wooded area outside Hofors, where they set the corpse alight inside a car. The charred remains were then buried in nearby Olshyttan.

The woman was reported missing the following week. It was not until seven months later however that police discovered the burnt out car and began putting together the pieces of the puzzle.

In May of this year, police finally recovered the missing woman's body.

Having found the body, it did not take long for police to track down and arrest the suspects.

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