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Court hikes penalty for car park killing

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Court hikes penalty for car park killing
11:40 CET+01:00
A court of appeal has increased the penalty for the 24-year-old man convicted of manslaughter in death of a 78-year-old woman who was assaulted during a parking lot dispute in southern Sweden in March.

The man was sentenced to 22 months in prison by Lund district court over the killing, a penalty which the court of appeal has now increased to two years.

The court shared the district court's judgment that the man was guilty of assault, aggravated assault and manslaughter.

In the district court the man was ordered to pay 25,000 kronor ($3,000) in damages to the 78-year-old's husband. This sum has now been doubled to 50,000 kronor.

Lund district court convicted the man of assaulting and causing the woman's death in a dispute over a parking space outside a supermarket in Landskrona in southern Sweden in march. The case gained a great deal of attention in the town and nationwide.

The attack caused her to fall over and sustain injuries to the back of her head that led to her death in hospital two days later. The man who was 23 years old at the time, was also found guilty of assaulting the woman's 71-year-old husband.

The man's conviction was immediately appealed by his lawyer Leif Silbersky, who argued in the court of appeal that his client should be freed.

The Lund court explained the lower sentence in that 24-year-old would have faced a slightly longer sentence of two years had he not suffered from psychological problems.

An examination carried out by the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) found the he had long suffered from a form of constant anxiety and related stomach complaints which made him less well-equipped for jail than the majority of prisoners.

The court of appeal did not share the district court's conclusion on the man's psychological state and thus increased the penalty in accordance with legal praxis.

The case rested on the credibility of testimony from the deceased woman's 71-year-old husband and a from a man who had witness the incident from a nearby restaurant.

Name and address details of the 24-year-old and his family were posted on several websites after his arrest. Because of the heightened threat level, the man and his lawyer hesitated before appealing an earlier remand ruling as they considered it “safer” for him to remain in custody.

The 24-year-old comes from a family of immigrants and his arrest led to ethnic tensions in Landskrona.

The right-wing extremist National Democrats called a public meeting in the town square to “protest against anti-Swedishness”. Seeking to counter a rising tide of racial antagonism, organizations including the Church of Sweden and the local Islamic society held their own anti-violence demonstrations.

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