The man’s 12-year old sister, 15-year-old brother and their 49-year old father were murdered with an axe in Härnösand, 400 kilometres north of Stockholm. Their bodies were found early on Tuesday evening at the house where the two younger children lived with their mother and her new partner.
The 21-year-old was arrested at lunch time on Wednesday at Umeå harbour after attempting to board a German-registered cargo ship.
The suspect immediately confessed to the three killings during an hour long interrogation that began at 6pm on Wednesday.
“We are not going to comment on what else exactly came out in the course of the interrogation. We’re now going to check out the information he provided,” police spokesman Hans Björnér told news agency TT.
Sources close to the investigation told newspaper Aftonbladet that the 21-year-old acted out of jealousy towards his half siblings.
“I recognise that description even if that’s not exactly how I’d express it,” the man’s lawyer, Fredrik Lindberg, confirmed to the newspaper. ‘
A remand hearing is scheduled to be held in Härnösand on Friday.
Two other people initially arrested in connection with the killings – the young man’s 63-year-old father and the 62-year-old partner of the murdered children’s mother – were released without charge.
Bert Olsson, head of the school district attended by the murdered children, said there had been nothing to suggest that there were any problems in the family.
Triple murders are rare in Sweden. In the last twenty years, there have been six recorded cases, five of which were directly tied to single families.
“Crimes of this nature are very unusual and often have a strong connection to the perpetrator’s family,” said criminologist Mikael Ryding from Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall.