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Ingrid, 79, declared dead by Swedish tax authorities

79-year-old Ingrid Ståhl of Malmö in southern Sweden found out to her surprise that she had been registered as dead after a mistake by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

Ingrid Stål and her husband have now been awarded 40,000 kronor ($5,400) in compensation for the error.

It was in March 2009 that an administrator at the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) was tasked with registering a person as deceased. A mix up in identification numbers meant that Ingrid Ståhl was entered erroneously as having died, while her husband was labelled a widower.

The couple only found out about the mishap in April when supermarket chain Ica and state gambling monopoly Svenska Spel got in touch to ask for the return of Ingrid’s charge cards.

Ingrid Ståhl was also obliged to accept receipt of letters addressed to her estate.

The 79-year-old sought the help of a friend to contact the Tax Agency and point out that she was in fact very much alive.

The mistake could eventually be corrected but the bureaucracy took time and proved a significant strain on the elderly couple.

“It has been a terrible time. It is still tough, but we try to just let it go,” Ingrid Ståhl told news agency TT.

The Chancellor of Justice has now ruled that the Tax Agency is to pay out 25,000 kronor to Ingrid Ståhl and a further 15,000 kronor to her husband to compensate for the mistake.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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