The little girl was killed by her father in a forest near the town of Värnamo seven years ago. He initially claimed that she drowned, but a postmortem found that her back had been broken.
The father, then 24, pleaded not guilty to the murder, but was convicted and sent to a secure psychiatric hospital, where he remains today.
Police suspected at the time that the girl’s stepmother was involved in the killing, but she was never charged due to lack of evidence. The case was reopened in the spring, however, after the father claimed that his wife ordered him to kill his daughter. The woman allegedly believed that her stepdaughter was hampering her relationship with her husband.
According to court documents, the woman had pushed her husband consistently over a one year period to kill his daughter. Jönköping District Court said the father “would never have killed his daughter if [his wife] hadn’t challenged him to do so.”
The woman was found guilty of solicitation to murder. The court’s sentence of ten years was less than the prosecution had wanted – they had demanded she serve life behind bars. She was also ordered to pay almost 200,000 kronor in damages to the girl’s mother.
She has a previous conviction for serious assault, for which she was jailed for 18 months in 2008.
The woman has consistently contested the charges against her. Her lawyer, Leif Silbersky, said she would appeal. The court had given far too much credence to the father’s account, he said.
Only five people have been convicted of solicitation to murder in Sweden between 1990 and 2009. In 90 percent of the 2,000 murder cases since 1990 the murderer has acted alone.
“It is very unusual to plan and recruit accomplices. Violent crimes often happen on the spur of the moment. It is possible that there are unsolved murders in the criminal underworld and honour killings where people are guilty of soliciting, but it is hard to prove,” said Mikael Ryning at the University of Central Sweden.