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Landskrona car park killing trial begins

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10:40 CEST+02:00
The trial of a man accused of beating a 78-year-old woman to death in a car park in Landskrona in southern Sweden in March opens in Helsingborg District Court on Monday.

A 23-year-old man stands charged with aggravated assault and aggravated manslaughter. The prosecutor based the indictment on information from the woman's 71-year-old husband, who was present during a row over a parking space.

Because of threats against the accused and the uproar that arose during the detention hearing, the trial has been moved to the security room of the Helsingborg court.

The trial appears to rest on the issue of whether it was it an inadvertent shove or a deliberate one that caused the death of the woman, with the defendant having conceded that he was at the scene. This information is supported by testimony from the victim's husband and a witness who saw the incident from a pizzeria who has reported that the suspect beat the woman.

The victim's husband described the suspect as giving his wife a "roundhouse punch" ("rallarsving") when they started arguing over a parking spot. The suspect is also accused of having assaulted the old man.

The defendant claimed that during the row with the old man, he took a step backwards and did not notice that he had bumped into someone. When he saw the victim lying on the ground, he panicked and drove away. The woman later died in hospital of brain damage.

The coroner noted in the report that it is unclear what caused the woman's death. She had bruises, including those around the eye. The doctor concluded that one or several of the injuries could have been caused by violence by another person, but added that "other causes are also possible."

The lawyer of the accused said that even if the prosecution's version is correct, his client can only be sentenced for assault.

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