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Alm free to claim fiancée's life insurance

TT/The Local · 29 May 2010, 00:00

Published: 29 May 2010 10:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 May 2010 00:00 GMT+02:00

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In a preliminary ruling released on Friday, Falun district court found Alm not guilty of the murder or manslaughter of Chen. He will however be convicted of disturbing the peace of the dead after the court found that he had moved her dead body to a woodland area in Bertilsbo Norra outside Leksand in central Sweden.

According to earlier media reports, the insurance policies were taken out shortly before Chen's death and were thought by police investigators to represent a possible motive for her murder.

But the fact that Alm will not be convicted of killing Chen means there are no formal impediments preventing him from cashing in on the couple’s joint life insurance policy, as well as a private policy Chen held with insurance firm Folksam.

“Anyone who deliberately kills somebody by committing a crime will not be able to claim compensation,” said Michael Olsson, personal injury manager at Folksam, who specified murder and manslaughter as crimes that would rule out payment.

“But when it comes to disturbing the peace of the dead there are no obstacles, either under the terms of insurance or the law, that prevent compensation from a life insurance policy.”

The couple’s joint insurance policy from Lärarförsäkringar – an insurance firm owned by Sweden’s two largest teachers unions – is worth a total of 1.02 million kronor.

Alm is to remain in custody until the court announces its formal verdict later this summer in a case that has generated huge media interest. The outcome of a court-mandated psychiatric evaluation will determine whether the 35-year-old can be sentenced to imprisonment.

Prosecutor Niclas Eltenius said he was not entirely surprised by the district court’s decision.

“The position we now find ourselves in was a possible scenario and is one that we can live with for now. I would have been surprised if the man had been released. Now we’ll await the verdict before deciding whether to appeal,” he said.

The complicated nature of the case meant that it took almost eight months to piece together before the trial against Alm finally opened in late March.

Linda Chen was reported missing on August 2nd 2009, a week before she was due to be married to Mats Alm.

Alm appealed to the tabloid press and to TV3's Efterlyst crime watch programme for help in finding his missing fiancée.

His appearance on the show in September prompted renowned Swedish criminology professor, Leif G W Persson, to claim "an innocent person has no interest in being on television and crying." Persson's comment led to Alm's inclusion among the possible suspects in the case.

A few days after his appearance on the television show, Alm disappeared from his workplace in Borlänge in central Sweden and remained missing for three days, including a scheduled appointment with investigators.

On September 18th, the same day that Alm was officially reported missing, he was found near woodland with burns injuries and claiming to have found the dead Linda Chen.

On September 22nd Alm was remanded into custody on suspicion of the murder of his fiancée after having undergone a psychological examination.

Alm denied the charges, and in police interviews claimed that he had been kidnapped by unknown men who had drugged him and kept him locked in the boot of a car.

Story continues below…

A physical examination showed no traces of Alm having been drugged.

Alm further claimed that the mysterious men released him in woodland after three days and he awoke near the body of his deceased fiancée.

Witnesses testified that Alm was spotted in Borlänge during the period when he claims to have been kidnapped. Police also uncovered film evidence of Alm which places him in Stockholm on September 16th.

Police suspected that Alm spent some of his time in Stockholm at the city library where investigators claimed he spent time researching media coverage of the Chen case as well as figuring out transport alternatives to Bollnäs, a town in north central Sweden near where the body was later found.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:56 May 29, 2010 by jaysea32
This was/is a really bad bit of detective and forensic work by the law enforcement people.
11:18 May 29, 2010 by Dazzler
Another case in a long line of inept policing. Well done!
13:27 May 29, 2010 by crofab
How in the world did this guy not get convicted? And the fact that he is getting paid for murdering someone is just sickening. Way to go, Swedish criminal justice system...
16:43 May 29, 2010 by Decedo
The Swedish police are as bad as the LAPD! Nice police work guys.
02:07 May 30, 2010 by orwellian
I don't agree. If the cops can't prove it he should not get sentenced. But he is obviously a psychopath. I hope after the evaluation they stick him in a ward and never let him out again. It's not like they can cure psychopathy. And he wouldn't need the money in there anyways.
11:03 May 30, 2010 by Hauhr
"an innocent person has no interest in being on television and crying"

This type of reasoning is known as "special pleading": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading

"But he is obviously a psychopath"

Just how exactly is that obvious?
14:01 May 30, 2010 by xykat
Sweden has a justice system? Really? You only get two years for killing someone here in prison and now you get paid? Jeez!

I asked myself the question, did this man kill his wife and I got this image of a woman with a surprised look on her face. The look of disappointment and shock at the same time. I feel to the core of my bones that this man is guilty of this crime or at least guilty of doing something really negative towards this woman.
17:12 May 30, 2010 by Kevin Harris
There wasn't enough evidence to prove he did it. Only those who sat through all the evidence at trial can have a valid opinion; and they said there wasn't enough.

It seems to be a case of "We know he did it, we just can't prove it."

Folksam should withhold payment and make him sue them for the money. Then the evidence will be reassesed, and maybe something new will come up. I don't think he can be retried, but the evidence can be taken into account when assessing his mental state.

I think he's going to have trouble finding himself a new girlfriend.
18:01 May 30, 2010 by cknight
What in the world does " disturbing the peace of the dead" mean?

Are not these insurance law makers STUPID !!!
20:29 May 30, 2010 by mikmak

"A person who, without authorisation, moves, injures or outrageously treats the corpse or ashes of the dead, opens a grave or otherwise inflicts damage on or abuses a coffin, urn, grave or other resting place of the dead or a tombstone, shall be sentenced for crime against the peace of the tomb to a fine or imprisonment for at most six months. (Law 1993:207)"
20:32 May 31, 2010 by Icarusty
Wonderful, first the white man shag our women, then you take their money

Then you kill them. Meanwhile white man is free to start a family with someone else... who knows, another asian woman maybe.
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