In its ruling, the Falu District Court also demanded that Eklund pay 850,000 kronor ($118,000) in compensation to the plaintiffs in the case, a lower amount than originally requested.
The victims’ relatives will each receive 75,000 kronor, and in some cases 50,000 kronor. According to the court, current practice doesn’t allow for a higher award.
Eklund was also convicted for aggravated rape, the rape of a child, attempted rape, and child pornography.
Defence attorney Leif Silbersky argued during the trial that his client shouldn’t be sentenced separately for the rape convictions.
But the court ruled that the sexual violence against Engla and Pernilla was separate from the deadly violence, therefore allowing for Eklund to be sentenced for both crimes.
Eklund confessed to both murders when presented with DNA evidence from the Pernilla case during questioning by police.
While Silbersky didn’t object to the prison sentence, he has repeatedly stressed the point that Eklund needs to have psychiatric care while in prison.
Two psychiatric examinations concluded that Eklund does suffer from mental problems, but that they aren’t serious enough to prevent him from being sentenced to prison.
It was on April 5th of this year when Eklund ran across 10-year-old Engla as she was riding her bicycle home following football practice outside Stjärnsund in Dalarna in central Sweden.
Eklund followed the girl a short way and then began speaking to her, at which point, according to Eklund, she started acting “cheeky” and “arrogant”. Afterward, he said, he lost his senses and got “tunnel vision”.
He then raped and strangled the girl, and dumped her body in an isolated wooded area before trying to burn it.
Eight years earlier in June 2000, Eklund followed the then 31-year-old Pernilla Hellgren when she left a street festival in Falun in central Sweden.
He later attacked, raped, and strangled her, leaving the body visible and partially clothed in a wooded area.
Prosecutors continue to investigate whether police in Dalarna committed a punishable offence by not following up on earlier tips about Eklund’s involvement in the Pernilla murder case.
Police have asked themselves whether Engla’s murder could have been avoided had different steps been taken.
The investigation into professional misconduct is expected to be completed shortly.