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Alm freed from custody ahead of sentencing

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Alm freed from custody ahead of sentencing
Photo: Pontus Lundahl/Scanpix
15:37 CEST+02:00
Falun district court ruled on Wednesday to release Mattias Alm, who was cleared of the murder of his partner Linda Chen late in May, from prison while he awaits sentencing on other counts on July 14th.

The prosecution had called for Alm, who has been in custody for nine months, to be sentenced for murder.

"It is clear that I had hoped that he would remain in custody for some time so that we could strengthen the sentencing legally and win," said prosecutor Niclas Eltenius.

At the same time, Eltenius said he understands why the court has chosen to release Alm from custody because he most likely will only be sentenced for disturbing the peace of the dead after he moved Chen's body to a woodland area in Bertilsbo Norra outside Leksand in central Sweden.

The maximum penalty for the offense is two years imprisonment. According to Eltenius, there is a risk that he will flee from the remaining sentences.

"He has fled before," said Eltenius.

Meanwhile, the outcome is as Alm's lawyer Peter Althin had predicted: his client will be released.

"I have prepared him for this. This was what was most likely," said Althin.

After the hearing, Alm thanked his lawyer.

"He just said thanks and then we talked about practical things, like where he should go now," said Althin. "We are keen on keeping contact with him as the decision will come in a week."

Alm initially reported Chen had vanished from their Falun home on August 2nd last year, a week before they had planned to marry. He himself participated in the search for her and spoke on television about his despair over the disappearance of his partner.

In mid-September, he disappeared and failed to show up for police interviews. After three days, a summer cottage owner encountered a lightly burned and very confused Alm on a road between Falun and Rättvik. He said he disappeared after he was kidnapped by two unknown men.

Alm told him that he discovered his disappeared partner dead in the woods. The body was found by police the same day at the specified location and Alm was arrested and detained on suspicion of murder.

Alm was charged on March 23rd on suspicion of murder, homicide, manslaughter and disturbing the peace of the dead and cleared of the murder charges in late May.

The prosecution claims that he killed the woman for financial reasons, which Alm denies. He is eligible to claim a 1 million kronor ($130,000) joint life insurance policy he signed with Chen after the murder charges were dropped.

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