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Agency ‘lacks tools’ to assess exorcist killer

Sweden's National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) has admitted that it lacks the tools to fully assess the risk of relapse for the 52-year-old man convicted of killing his seven-year-old stepdaughter during an "exorcism".

Agency 'lacks tools' to assess exorcist killer

According to the board’s assessment of the case the crime was “committed in an imaginary cultural context where the influence of evil spirits, witches’ spells and the power of curses are by no means strange, and are instead problems of an everyday nature.”

The board concluded therefore that existing risk assessment methodology is insufficient to assess the case and that it “lacks any experience of phenomena of this kind”.

The board however was able to observe that the 52-year-old has demonstrated exemplary behaviour while in detention with a complete absence of “aggressive reactionary behaviour”.

The board also observed that the man has in interviews, held to consider whether his life sentence should be commuted to a fixed term penalty, “completely distanced himself from his previous world-view which incorporated witchcraft, evil spirits and obsession”.

The case dates back to 1999 when the man’s seven-year-old step-daughter died during an attempt to drive evil spirits from her body.

The child had arrived in Sweden during the summer of 1999 with two other relatives and were in the care of the man and his wife.

Shortly after their arrival in the couple’s home, they began to suspect that their home had become haunted. According to the board’s report, the man has told of having heard noises that could not be explained.

When one of the children awoke one morning with scratches the man interrogated the children about his suspicions that he they had brought with them a curse from their home country, the Congo, and that perhaps the man’s uncle was responsible.

After a prolonged attempt to beat the feared evil spirits from the children’s bodies, the seven-year-old girl died from her injuries on Christmas Eve 1999.

The man, his wife and a further adult present at the “exorcism” were convicted in connection with the girl’s death. After undergoing a psychiatric assessment, the man and his wife were sentenced to life and fours years imprisonment respectively.

While the board has concluded that it lacks the methods to assess the man’s criminal past, due to the man’s exemplary behaviour in prison it is concluded there is a low risk of a repeat offence.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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