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CRIME

Man sentenced for ‘executing’ ex-girlfriend

A 37-year-old Swedish man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend with a bolt pistol normally used for anaesthetizing livestock.

An August 26th of last year, Martin Hensvold lost a prolonged custody battle with 24-year-old Frida Stenberg over the couple’s two-year-old son and four-month old daughter.

Three hours after being awarded custody and with her infant daughter in tow, Stenberg drove out to pick up her son from a farm owned by Hensvold’s parents in the village of Smedsbyn outside of Luleå in northern Sweden.

Before leaving with her son, however, Stenberg asked the boy’s father to go fetch some shoes and socks for the 2-year-old.

Hensvold returned from his car with the requested items as well as a bolt pistol he kept handy in order to put down animals on the farm should the need arise.

He then placed the cattle pistol against the back of Stenberg’s neck and fired a fatal shot as the couple’s children looked on, the Expressen newspaper reported.

Prosecutor Karin Hansson had urged the district court in Luleå to sentence Hensvold to life in prison for the murder.

She argued that the ex-boyfriend had had time to collect his thoughts when he went to his car to get the bolt pistol.

“We’re talking about a straightforward execution,” Hansson told the court.

In its ruling, the court found that Hensvold knew from his experience using a bolt gun to kill livestock that one shot to the neck would be fatal.

The court also found that Hensvold, who had made partial confessions to the crime during a police investigation in August, was directly responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s death.

A psychiatric evaluation conducted during the investigation in September revealed that Hensvold wasn’t suffering from any mental illnesses at the time of the killing.

However, his mental condition deteriorated throughout the autumn, with a later examination showing that following the crime Hensvold had started to suffer from a deep depression with symptoms of psychosis and was in need of psychiatric care.

The Luleå District Court asserted that it wasn’t uncommon for people to be afflicted by serious, but temporary mental disturbances once they begin to realize the consequences their criminal acts will have on their lives.

The court therefore ruled that a long prison sentence, rather than time in a psychiatric care facility, was the most appropriate punishment for Hensvold and that his mental health needs can be met within the framework of those provided by the Swedish prison service.

POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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