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Court: German woman 'guilty of murder'

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Court: German woman 'guilty of murder'
11:31 CEST+02:00
A Swedish court has ordered a German woman suspected of the brutal murder of two toddlers to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, an indication that the court finds her guilty as charged.

The court said there was a risk that Christine Schürrer would flee, and

therefore ordered her continued detention until a verdict is given.

In its decision, Västmanland District Court wrote that "overwhelming evidence has been produced" to show that the woman "is guilty of murder and attempted murder in accordance with the charges".

The decision was unanimous, with chairman of the court Per Kjellson and a three member panel of judges all in agreement that Schürrer on March 17th bludgeoned to death a nearly four-year-old boy and his almost two-year-old sister, and attempted to kill their 23-year-old mother, Emma Jangestig.

A psychiatric evaluation is expected to take four to six weeks, after which time prosecutors and the counsel for the defence will be invited to present their closing arguments.

If Schürrer is found to suffer from serious psychiatric problems, the court is precluded from awarding a prison sentence and will instead recommend secure psychiatric care.

The prosecutor in the case was unable to present any forensic evidence tying the suspect to the scene of the crime and relied instead on circumstantial evidence.

"Of course I am disappointed," said defence lawyer Per-Ingvar Ekblad on learning of the decision.

Ekblad had argued on Monday, the final day of the trial, that his client should be cleared of the charges.

"There is no motive, just an incorrect identification. There is no DNA, no murder weapon, and the footprints at best resemble shoes worn by my client," he said.

"The fact that neighbours saw a mysterious person in the area does not mean my client has been identified."

Ekblad said he would be appealing the decision as soon as the district court reached its final verdict, which will be announced after the completion of the psychiatric evaluation.

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