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Örebro rape suspect faces court

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Örebro rape suspect faces court
10:29 CET+01:00
The trial of 24-year-old Niklas Eliasson who is charged with 14 sex offences opened on Thursday in Örebro district court in eastern Sweden.

Proceedings against the 24-year-old opened at 9am on Thursday with the suspect escorted into the courtroom by two guards from the prisons service and took his seat beside his counsel Margaret Arvidsson.

The court ordered the proceedings to be held behind closed doors.

Eliasson is accused of a total of 17 offences, of which 14 concern sex offences. The first case to be considered by the court on Thursday was an attempted rape in Örebro on April 3rd 2005.

He is suspected of having attacked a woman in the Hagaparken area of the city, forcing her to the ground. He is accused of tearing off her clothes and threatening her with a knife.

Eliasson's lawyer Margareta Arvidsson confirmed that the 24-year-old has admitted to the attack but maintained that he had not used a knife.

After hearing the defendant's plea on the first charge, the judge ordered the morning's proceedings to be held behind closed doors.

The court trial of the man is scheduled to last several weeks and is the subject of intense interest from the media and the general public.

The arrest of 24-year-old Niklas Eliasson last autumn was a relief for many Örebro residents who had lived in fear as police continued their search for the man behind a series of brutal rapes, which had been carried out over a period of several years.

Since Eliasson's arrest, attacks against women have more or less come to a halt.

No previous suspect has been tried in Sweden for committing violent attacks against so many women and if convicted he would become the worst serial rapist in Swedish criminal history.

Eliasson has already confessed to the attacks against the 15 women, which took place between 2005 and 2010. 14 of the attacks have been classified as sex offences with one further charge of assault.

The charges against the man include eight cases of attempted rape or aggravated rape, three charges of aggravated rape, two cases of assault, two cases of sexual molestation, one charged of robbery and one relating to weapons offences.

During interviews with investigators, Eliasson said he planned on killing several people before taking his own life.

He also told police that he started "stalking" people when he was only 13-years-old, explaining that his behaviour was a way to pass the time and that it began after his parents got divorced.

Eliasson also said that he had trouble fitting in in school and, unable to find friends, he instead spent most of his free time on his computer and exploring cyberspace.

Surfing the internet for porn became one of his biggest hobbies, he told investigators.

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