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CRIME

Suspected double murderer remanded

On Friday, a 23-year-old man suspected of murdering a couple near Båstad in southern Sweden was remanded into custody.

In autumn 2007, the Helsingborg District Court dismissed murder charges against the then 21-year-old man for the murder of a 64-year-old man and 58-year-old woman who lived near Båstad, 110 kilometres north of Malmö.

The couple disappeared at the beginning of 2007, but their bodies had not been found when the man was put on trial for their murder.

At that point, police reported that forensic evidence from the couple’s car linked the man to the couple’s disappearance. The 21-year-old had taken the car and sold it following the couple’s disappearance.

The couple’s bodies were later found in a lake outside of Lund in May 2008. They had been stabbed and the man’s hands were tied behind his back.

The discovery of the bodies led the police to believe that the man had been more involved in the pair’s disappearance than was previously believed.

He did not confess to the crime, but blamed an unknown man, a transient whom he had met at Knutpunkten in Helsingborg. Police have searched for the unknown man, but have never found him.

The court of appeals found that had this information been known during the previous trial, he would have likely been found guilty of murder or aggravated assault and manslaughter. On that basis, the court granted a retrial and the double murder case will be heard by the district court.

The suspect denies the accusations. The court found reasonable grounds to suspect the man for both murders, and remanded him into custody.

The court was also of the opinion that he could hinder the investigation, and the prosecutor has thus received permission to limit his contact with the outside world, among other restrictions.

During the custody negotiations, prosecutor Göran Olsson requested that the 23-year-old be remanded on murder charges. The court decided that the negotations should be held behind closed doors due to the secrecy of the preliminary investigations.

This is the second time the man has been remanded into custody for the crime. The Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) in Malmö granted a new trial on Friday and man was arrested shortly thereafter.

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CRIME

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to forced psychiatric care

A court has sentenced the far-right extremist Theodor Engström to forced psychiatric care for the knife attack he carried out at the Almedalen political festival this summer.

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to forced psychiatric care

The Gotland district court found the 33-year-old Engström guilty of murdering the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren, but did not agree that the murder counted as a terror attack.

It did find him guilty, however, of “planning a terror attack”, for his preparations to murder the Centre Party’s leader, Annie Lööf. 

“The murdered woman had a significant role [in society], a murder is always serious, and this had consequences both for Almedalen Week and for society more broadly,” the judge Per Sundberg, said at a press conference. 

The judge Per Sundberg announces the sentence on Theodor Engström on December 6th. Photo: Karl Melander/TT

But he said that the court judged that Sweden’s terror legislation was too restrictively drafted for her murder to count as a terror offence. 

“Despite Ing-Marie Wieselgren’s well-attested position within psychiatry, the court considers that her position as national coordinator at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions is not such that her murder can in itself be considered to have damaged Sweden. The act cannot as a result be classified as a terrorist crime on those grounds.” 

The court ruled that Engström’s crimes deserved Sweden’s most severe sentence, a life sentence in prison, but found that due to his disturbed mental state he should instead receive “psychiatric care with a special test for release”. 

In its judgement, the court said that an examination by forensic psychiatrists had found both that there were “medical reasons” why Engström should be transferred into a closed psychiatric facility and that “his insight into the meaning of his actions and his ability to adjust his actions according to such insight were at the very least severely diminished”. 

It said that under Swedish law, a court could send someone to prison who was in need of psychiatric care only if there were “special reasons” to do so. 

“The court considers that it has not been shown that Theodor Engström’s need of psychiatric care is so limited that there is a special reason for a prison sentence,” it ruled. 

Lööf wrote on Instagram that the judgement was “a relief”. 

“For me personally, it was a relief when the judgement came,” she wrote. “Engström has also been judged guilty of ‘preparation for a terror attack through preparation for murder’. This means that the the court is taking the threat towards democracy and towards politicians as extremely serious.”

The fact that the court has decided that Engström’s care should have a “special test for release” means that he cannot be discharged from the closed psychiatric hospital or ward where he is treated without a court decision. 

The court must rule both that the mental disorder that led to the crime has abated to the extent that there is no risk of further crimes, and that he has no other mental disorders that might require compulsory psychiatric care. The care has to be reassessed every six months. 

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