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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

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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