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Socialite Swede released from Australian jail

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11:14 CEST+02:00
A Swedish-born socialite, Charlotte Lindström, jailed for nearly four years in Australia in March 2008 for plotting to murder two witnesses in her boyfriend's drug trial has been released on parole from New South Wales prison.

Lindström was released on Tuesday and is now free to fly home to Sweden, the foreign ministry in Stockholm confirmed to The Local on Tuesday.

"I can confirmed that she has been released from prison today," said Anders Jörle, a foreign ministry spokesperson.

Charlotte Lindström is however unlikely to ever feel completely free again after cooperating with the Australian authorities on a slew of cases involving her former boyfriend, including testifying in a recent trial where her ex-lover Steven Spaliviero pleaded guilty to four counts of manufacturing commercial quantities of amphetamines and ecstasy.

According to Aftonbladet the Swede is due to be deported to Sweden and will be advised over her protection by the Swedish police on arrival, but the foreign ministry denied on Tuesday that the Swedish authorities are involved in her case.

"As she has been released from prison, she is a free woman and is not a matter for us," Anders Jörle told The Local.

Charlotte Lindström travelled to Australia as a 19-year-old and quickly became a regular in the gossip pages of Sydney's society magazines while working as a "meet and greet" hostess at some of the city's luxury hotels. Her high society profile led to her meeting Steven Spaliviero, a man with a long criminal past.

Lindström and Spaliviero became engaged to be married and the young Swede proceeded to live the high life of fast cars and cocaine until her world came crashing down at the end of 2006 amid allegations of Spaliviero's connections to a multi-million dollar drugs ring.

The then 23-year-old became embroiled in the investigation when she agreed to liaise with a hired gun to silence the two witnesses lined up to testify against Spaliviero in his drugs trial. Lindström later pleaded guilty to soliciting an undercover police officer to commit murder and agreed to testify against her former lover.

In passing the sentence, which was reduced by the New South Wales Court of Appeal from nine and a half years for a crime that can carry up to 25 years, the court recognized the Swede's remorse and her cooperation with the authorities in the trial and in further cases under investigation against Spaliviero.

"She will spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulders," presiding judge, Justice Stephen Rothman, said at the time.

Rothman also referred to psychological reports which showed that Lindström was suffering from anorexia, a claim supported by the young woman's pale and emaciated appearance at the court, while clad in a bullet-proof vest.

The Local reported in June 2009 that due to concerns over her health, Sweden's ambassador to Australia, Sven-Olof Petersson, had requested Lindström's repatriation to complete her sentence in her home country.

Steven Spaliviero pleaded guilty in April to four counts of manufacturing commercial quantities of amphetamines and ecstasy. Lindström testified for the second time against her former boyfriend at the trial for the prosecution, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The newspaper furthermore reports that Lindström is set to publish her story in an upcoming book. The book will be published in Sweden as New South Wales law prevents convicted criminals from benefiting from their crimes.

A spokesperson at the Australian embassy in Stockholm told The Local on Wednesday that they were unwilling to comment on the case and was unable to confirm any details pertaining to the case or whether the Australian authorities remained involved.

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