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CRIME

Mystery grows over dead Swedish couple

The mystery surrounding the couple in their late fifties found dead at their home near Helsingborg in southern Sweden on Sunday continues to grow.

Mystery grows over dead Swedish couple

Forensic examinations are still ongoing at the couple’s home in the small community of Viken on Sweden’s south-west coast and police were on Tuesday unable to rule out a double murder.

“We are still in the dark as to how they died,” said Annika Nilsson at Skåne police on Tuesday.

The couple were found dead in a building adjoining their house by neighbours on Sunday afternoon. They were found together and had apparently been cleaning up after a party with friends on Saturday evening.

The pair were still dressed in their attire for the party which had been organized to celebrated the man’s sixtieth birthday.

The party was attended by friends of the man, a local vegetable farmer, and included several family members. Police began to trace and interview those who had attended the party on Sunday.

“We ate and sang, put a wreath on his head and showered him with presents. Then we had coffee and cake,” one of the guests at the party said according to the newspaper Aftonbladet.

The medical-examiner who arrived at the scene was unable to determine the cause of death.

“It is quite common that we find dead people and are unable to determine cause of death,” explained police spokesperson Charley Nilsson.

“But two at the same time, that is unusual,” he added.

There is no indication that the couple were subjected to violence. There was neither any indication of a disturbance in the room in which they were found.

Current speculations indicate a poisoning but it will take several days for autopsy results to emerge.

None of the other party guests interviewed by police have showed any signs of having been poisoned.

Police do not believe that the couple committed suicide. There is nothing to indicate that they were suffering from depression. They were happy and upbeat during the party on Saturday. There was neither any indication that the deaths were caused by an accident.

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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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