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Mass murderer could be released in five years

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Mass murderer could be released in five years
11:47 CEST+02:00
Swedish mass murderer Mattias Flink's life sentence will be commuted to 32 years in prison and he could be released in just over five years, Örebro District Court ruled on Wednesday.

Flink was originally sentenced to life in prison for seven murders and three attempted murders in Falun in 1994.

Flink's attorney Johan Eriksson said Flink was "dazed but very happy" after hearing the news.

"He did not believe it at first," Eriksson told news agency TT on Flink's reaction. "Mattias had hoped so much for this. Now he can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel," adding Flink could be conditionally released in August 2015.

That it was 32 years instead of 24, which is the maximum penalty for multiple murders following the Supreme Court's practice, does not surprise Eriksson. At the same time, he believes that it is a long sentence.

Flink himself did not react negatively to the fact that he will not be freed for another five years.

"He accepts it and does not think that it is tough. He had hoped for something sooner," said Eriksson.

He emphasised that Flink, now 40, has been in prison for 16 years. Under the principle of release after two-thirds of the total sentence, Flink will serve 21 years in jail in total.

John-Erik Mårdner, whose 29-year-old daughter Lena was shot to death by Flink, reacted strongly to the news of the time-limited punishment.

"Imagine if your child was murdered and then you learn that the child's killer will be released. How do you think it feels?" he asked TT.

Mårdner believes that the decision is wrong. Flink is sentenced to life and should be in prison for life, he said.

"He killed seven people in cold blood," he said. "We relatives are serving a life sentence. We have to live with this for the rest of our lives."

The district court has decided not to follow the Supreme Court's practice, under which culpability for murder receives between 18 and 24 years in prison. The punishment is higher partly because the law is based on the seriousness of each individual indictment.

However, the district court has referred to the Supreme Court's life sentence, in which a mitigating factor in Flink's case was that he could not control his actions due to psychosis.

The court also assessed Flink's risk of relapse and said that he "did what he could to promote his adaptation to society." The court is of the opinion that he has demonstrated exemplary behaviour.

Flink has been granted more than 30 leaves from prison with accommodation since May 2007. The court wrote in its decision that the leaves have taken place without Flink misbehaving.

As such, the court believes that it is unlikely that Flink, who has shown exemplary behaviour up until now, would suddenly start to violate his conditions. Consequently, the court has ventured to set a fixed prison sentence of 32 years even though he cannot be released for another five years from now.

This was Flink's second application to convert his life sentence to a fixed penalty. The first was rejected in 2008 by both the district and appeals courts because they considered that the penalty value for the crimes was too high to be converted. Flink then appealed to the Supreme Court, but in the autumn of 2009, the court decided not to grant him a new trial.

Flink was 24 in June 1994 when he shot seven people to death and injured three others shots in the vicinity of Dalregementet in Falun, where he was stationed and held the rank of second lieutenant in the armed forces.

He had earlier argued with his girlfriend and was heavily intoxicated when he fired 51 rounds from his military-issued AK5 rifle, killing five women and two men aged 20 to 35 in a park in the centre of town.

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