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OFFBEAT

Man gets 15 years for ‘bearded lady’ slaying

A 27-year-old man from Umeå in northern Sweden has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally stabbing a 55-year-old woman, who he allegedly thought was a man due to her extensive facial hair.

“He thought that she was a man, She had a masculine body, a deep voice, and facial hair,” said the man’s lawyer, Per Nyberg, to the Nyheter24 news website.

The pair are reported to have met during a night drinking on the town in Umeå in northern Sweden in August.

When the evening came to a close, the 55-year-old accompanied the man to his home in the Teg district of the city in order to continue drinking.

The evening later took a tragic turn however when the 27-year-old, alleging that he had been sexually harassed, struck back at the 55-year-old with a kitchen knife, stabbing the woman in the throat and gut.

Shortly before 7am police were called to the man’s home and found the woman dead in the cellar.

The man claimed in court that he had become angry after he drew the erroneous conclusion that the person he had brought home from the bar was in fact a man.

In his defence the man is reported by the Aftonbladet daily to have cited an incident in his teenage years which had caused him to become wary of homosexual men.

The court was not persuaded by the man’s purported motive and district prosecutor Peter Jonsson has argued that he, for one, was in no doubt that the slain person was in fact a female.

The state pathologist who carried out the autopsy on the woman’s body concluded that she had consumed a large quantity of alcohol and was heavily intoxicated.

He furthermore testified to the court that he had reacted to the woman’s facial hair growth.

“He thought that it was important to mention that the woman was ‘tainted by facial hair’,” Per Nyberg told Nyheter24.

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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