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CRIME

Swedish woman held captive for nine years

A woman suffering from multiple sclerosis is believed to have been held by a man for several years in a small cabin in south-central Sweden.

Swedish woman held captive for nine years

The woman, believed to be in her late-fifties was locked away in a 15 sqaure metre cabin located near Eksjö, close to the town of Jönköping.

“We suspect a man of having held a woman captive against her will for several years and to have mistreated her during that time,” Jönköping police spokesperson Johan Frisk told AFP.

Neither the man nor the woman have been identified, but it is believed they had been a couple for some time.

According to Sveriges Television, the man was declared dead in Sweden’s national registry eight years and residents in the area knew him under a completely different identity.

At a remand hearing on Friday afternoon, the 58-year-old man denied any wrong doing through his lawyer Uno Karlsson.

However, the man was nonetheless ordered to remain in custody pending the filing for formal charges.

Police remain tight lipped about the case but a request for a public defender includes information that the woman may have been locked up for as long as nine years, according to the Smålands-Tidningen newspaper.

The newspaper reported that authorities had at first been investigating whether the man had been abusing the woman.

After questioning witnesses last week, police then brought the man in for an interrogation on Wednesday.

Information gathered during the interview lead police to arrest the man and expand their investigation in also included looking into the illegal detainment of the woman.

Police refuse to comment on the woman’s condition, other than saying she is doing fine under the circumstances.

According to the newspaper, the woman is in a hospital, is seriously ill, and weighs only 35 to 40 kilograms.

There are few details on how and why the woman was locked up, other than that she was confined to a 15 square metre cabin.

Despite suspicions that the woman has been held for years, Smålands-Tidningen also uncovered evidence that the woman has been allowed out in public.

The newspaper also spoke with a source who reported having met the pair and is surprised over revelations that the woman may have been the victim of abuse.

According to prosecutor Klas Hellgren, both crimes of which the man is suspected have been committed continuously since 1999 through August of this year.

The Aftonbladet daily meanwhile reported on its website that the couple had long lived on the fringe of society and had moved to the small cabin on a camping ground in 1999.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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