Eight years for ‘dusk and dawn’ pyromaniac

Southern Sweden's so-called ‘dusk and dawn’ pyromaniac faces eight years in prison after the Ystad District Court in Ystad found him guilty of aggravated arson.

“I think many people in Ystad are relieved today, many have been fearing for their lives,” Ewa-Gun Westford of the local police told news agency TT.

Ulf Borgström, the 47-year-old dubbed the ‘dusk and dawn’ pyromaniac (“gryningspyromanen”) by the Swedish press, has been eluding police for a number of years.

He has been referred to as one of the most dangerous men in Sweden.

It was in December last year that Borgstöm was observed leaving a block of flats in Ystad minutes before a fire flared up in the attic.

Borgstöm admits having been on the premises but claims to have had a drink and a smoke and subsequently fallen asleep on a sofa.

“I dreamt about hedgehogs. Then I woke up and heard the crackle of fire and I said to myself ‘how lucky that I woke up, how lucky I am’, he said in court according to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

However, due to forensic evidence such as soot and textile fibres on Borgström’s clothes, the court has found him guilty of aggravated arson.

“The district court finds that through the evidence presented by the prosecution it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is the 47-year old man that started the fire”, the court said in a statement.

Borgström has figured in a large number of arson investigations, but sufficient evidence to press charges had always been lacking up until now.

He was arrested on a number of occasions, held on remand and then released. He has also received 21,000 kronor ($3,300) in damages from the Swedish state for a period in remand.

Despite putting him under almost constant surveillance, police had not been able to pin anything on Borgström until the December fire.

Yet they were convinced he was the ‘dusk and dawn’ pyromaniac that had eluded them since 1990s.

Borgström has undergone two psychiatric evaluations and has been declared to be of sane mind. Despite being referred to as a ‘pyromaniac’ he is instead motivated by his hate for society and the police in particular.

Borgström was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay damages to a value of 70,000 kronor to seven plaintiffs.

According to his lawyer, Matts Johnsson, he will appeal the sentence.

“He says he is innocent, so it would be odd if he didn’t want to appeal,” he said earlier to local paper Ystads Allehanda.

Lumnije Mustija, who works in a patisserie in the building that was set on fire, is happy with the verdict.

“We were lucky we weren’t affected by the fire. Now it will be safer in Ystad,” she said to TT.

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Sweden’s Gävle Christmas goat ready to return for festive season

Sweden's straw yule goat Gävlebocken, whose biggest claim to fame is its tendency to get burned down every year, is all set for its annual return on Sunday.

Sweden's Gävle Christmas goat ready to return for festive season
The ill-fated 2016 Gävlebocken. Photo: Pernilla Wahlman/TT

Every year, the Christmas goat (Gävlebocken) in the Slottstorget square in Gävle, central Sweden, attracts a media storm with locals dreaming up new ways to protect the arson-prone 13-metre-high creation.

Despite their efforts, including in some years spraying the goat in anti-flammable liquid, the goat usually goes up in flames long before Swedes have opened their Christmas presents.

Last year, the goat surprisingly made it to Boxing Day intact, to the delight of organisers, who were reported to have put a “secret” plan into effect to protect it.

In 2016 it was less fortunate, going down in flames mere hours after its inauguration.

READ ALSO: 'Memorial' to be held for Sweden's giant yule goat

“Many people are invested” in the straw goat in Gävle, Maria Wallberg of the town’s municipality told TT.

The central Swedish town is naturally proud of its luckless Christmas decoration, despite the fact it has burned town 29 times during its 50-year history.

Thousands of people are expect to attend the unveiling of the goat on Sunday, with the ceremony to be presented by Swedish comedian Clara Henry.

“It means an incredible amount that the city has such a strong symbol which is known all over the world,” Wallberg said.

Security around the giant goat is expected to be high, both during its inauguration day and throughout December. Security guards and cameras will both be deployed to keep an eye on it behind its fencing, while a taxi rank has been moved to the square to increase the presence of people in the area.

“For security reasons, we can’t go into too much detail,” Wallberg said of any further precautions.

Historical precedent is against Gävlebocken. In its first year, 1966, it burned down on New Year’s Eve and it has only made it through the entire month on 15 occasions. It has been burned, stolen and vandalised. In 1976, someone drove a stock car into it.

Orörd = undamaged; uppeldad = burned down; annan skada = otherwise damaged; oklart öde = fate unknown. Graphic: TT

“An attack early in the season would mean cancellations at hotels and restaurants. So it is incredibly important for Gävle, Gävle’s businesses and for everyone who wants to visit the goat that it is still standing at New Year,” Wallberg said.

READ ALSO: Five weirdest attacks on Gävle's arson-prone Christmas goat