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CRIME

No damages for docs in Da Costa murder case

A Swedish court on Thursday ruled that the two doctors previously suspected of committing the gruesome murder of Catrine da Costa, found dismembered in 1984, are not entitled to damages.

The case is one of the most famous cases in modern Swedish legal history and the subject of intense media debate and several books.

The two doctors, a pathologist and a general practitioner, were found guilty of murder by Stockholm district court in 1988, but they were freed after a retrial.

In December the Attunda District Court held a two week hearing to consider whether to award damages to the pair, who had been demanding 40 million kronor ($5.5 million) claiming that their lives had been destroyed by their association to the case.

The Local reported in July 2009 that prosecutors had officially suspended the investigation into da Costa’s murder as the statute of limitations had expired.

The decision was made on July 1st, after more than 25 years have passed since the crime was committed.

Catrine da Costa was last seen on June 10th 1984 when a man let her out of a car at Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. On July 18th, a first bag with da Costa’s bodyparts was found at Karlbergs beach in Solna, and additional bodyparts were found on August 7th. At the scene, strands of hair were found on a blue towel beside a bag. But no one knows when the bag was put there.

The investigation of da Costa’s death became one of the most famous cases in modern Swedish legal history. The doctors were found guilty of murder by Stockholm district court in 1988, but were were freed after a retrial.

The court wrote that the doctors were connected to her dismemberment, but all evidence linking them her death was ruled circumstantial. They lost their licences to practice medicine in 1991.

The doctors can now explore the possibility of pursuing their claim for damages in the Svea Court of Appeal, but it is far from certain that they will be granted the required leave to do so.

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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