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16 years for man who killed girl 'by mistake'

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16:36 CEST+02:00
The 37-year-old man from the Växjö area who claimed he accidentally killed a 17-year-old girl, called “Johanna” in the Swedish press, from southern Sweden during a sex act "that went too far” was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Tuesday.

“It's both a good and a bad result,” defence lawyer Leif Silbersky summed up the verdict to news agency TT.

In February the man had been charged with murder and disturbing the peace of the dead, as well as with child rape in connection with a separate incident from 2007.

On Tuesday, the 37-year-old was convicted of murder and disturbing the peace of the dead, but the rape charges were dismissed.

Also, Silbersky noted, the man was sentenced to 16 years in prison where the prosecution has argued for a life sentence.

“I guess I am happy that he did get convicted of murder and disturbing the peace of the dead, considering his claims that it was accident,” Yvonne Rudinsson of the prosecution told TT.

The 17-year-old Johanna was found dead in a wooded area outside Lindshammar in southeastern Sweden after a major police operation in August last year.

Johanna and the man had made contact via the internet, she wanted to be a model and he claimed to be a photographer.

The contents of the man's computer also provided evidence that he had had contact with a large number of women and that in several cases, he had pretended to represent a fashion company and wanted to take pictures.

After the forensic investigation was carried out, investigators concluded that Johanna had been strangled to death in the 37-year-old's apartment and then dumped in the woods.

The man maintained that Johanna's death was accidental and occurred in connection with a sex act that went too far.

But the district court completely rejected the explanation given by the 37-year old that he had placed a noose made out of an electrical lead around Johanna's neck while having consensual sex.

Instead they supported the prosecutor's theory that the man strangled the girl with his bare hands. In order to kill her he must have held on for at least three minutes, which made the court conclude that he intended to take her life.

The motive was believed to be jealousy and the man was said to have shown a strong inclination to exert his control over the girl.

Scratches on the 37-year-old's arms and skin fragments under the victim's nails also indicate that she had tried to fight him off and defend herself.

According to the verdict, the man is to pay around 165,000 kronor ($26,600) to the girl's relatives. The two plaintiffs in the rape case get nothing as the man was acquitted of those charges.

The court didn't think that the murder had been of such cruelty to warrant a life sentence. But neither were there any extenuating circumstances, and therefore the sentenced him to 16 years in prison.

“It takes a lot before someone is sentenced to life, but I would have thought this case met the requirements. I want to look into why they chose to limit the sentence to 16 years,” Rudinsson said to TT.

According to defence lawyer Leif Silbersky, there is a chance the man will appeal the verdict.

“I will now spend next week analysing the verdict and decide whether we will appeal or not. But right now, much points to an appeal,“ defence lawyer Leif Silbersky told TT.

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