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CRIME

Landskrona car park killing trial begins

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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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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