The man in Denmark happens to have the same name as the 23-year-old male suspect in the investigation into the brutal assault and subsequent death of a 78-year-old woman in a car park in the southern Swedish town last Monday.
The Dane, who lives in Vejle on Jylland, was tipped off that his name and picture had been published on two Swedish Facebook group pages together with angry comments expressing outrage over the violent incident resulting from a car park dispute at a branch of the Hemköp supermarket chain.
“There were around 1,500 people logged in who voiced racist statements and threats,” the man said to Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende.
The man has tried unsuccessfully to enlist the help of the Danish police to put a stop to the defamation, and is now considering contacting a lawyer.
A picture of the actual suspect is also circulating on the internet, as well as full personal and address details of the man and his family. At least one report of alleged defamation has been lodged with Swedish police.
Police have underlined that the publication of the man’s picture and personal details only complicates the ongoing investigation into the case, with identification line-ups for example becoming impossible.
Despite the complications, Tommy Lindén, the officer leading the investigation, confirmed on Tuesday that the full details of the brutal assault will be established within three-four weeks.
“This is still our ambition,” said Magnus Lord at Landskrona police, who have now taken over the investigation.
The 23-year-old was on Tuesday remanded into custody on charges of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault with respect to the 78-year-old woman, and assault with respect to her 71-year-old partner.
The 78-year-old woman was punched in the face while trying to intervene on behalf of her 71-year-old partner who was being attacked by a man in a parking dispute last Monday. She lost consciousness and died after undergoing an operation at the Skåne University Hospital in Lund on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old man escaped the incident with minor injuries.
A further man has been arrested on charges of aiding and abetting the 23-year-old suspect, but is not in custody.
After the remand hearing in Lund district court on Tuesday the 23-year-old’s lawyer, Urban Jansson, indicated that his client intended to appeal the ruling. But according to Jansson, the heated atmosphere on the internet and the chain of unpleasant events that have affected the man’s family have given them cause to conclude that the 23-year-old is safest in custody.
The question of whether to lodge an appeal has been left open however.
With the suspect’s immigrant background a source of major debate on internet forums, police have sought to pour cold water on suggestions that the death had any connection to integration problems long evident in the southern town where the far-right Sweden Democrats claimed 23 percent of the votes in 2006 council elections.
“This is more a question of gender than ethnicity. If there had been a woman in the car this would never have happened,” Tommy Lindén told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference.