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'Serial' rapist charged in southern Sweden

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15:00 CET+01:00
A 23-year-old man from Blekinge, in southern Sweden, has been charged with six rapes on a total of five teenage victims, of which two are under fifteen years of age.

The man denies the allegations, according to his lawyer.

“Basically he denies having committed these offences but admits to having had sex with one of the girls,” says the 23-year-old's defence lawyer Nils-Håkan Håkansson to news agency TT on Tuesday.

The suspect stands accused of raping his victims during the summer and autumn 2011. One incident allegedly took place outside a youth club, and another in a wooded area near a school, according to daily newspaper Kvällsposten.

The remaining four incidents happened in flats on various locations around the Blekinge area, as well as outside county borders.

Deputy chief prosecutor Anne Williamsson has named several witnesses to testify against the man in the charge sheet filed on Tuesday.

However, despite there being no eye witness accounts to the incidents, there are extensive witness statements for each charge.

"It may be people who have seen parts of the abuse. It may also be friends, family and school staff close to the victims who have been told what happened first hand," she said to daily Expressen.

Williamsson also told the paper that the suspected rapist had established contact with the girls via Facebook.

"It has mainly started out on the internet. And then they have met up in various gang constellations and on several locations over the summer," she said.

But the man's defence lawyer thinks that the lack of eye witnesses will serve to strengthen the case, saying the charges are mere “accusations”.

“I am convinced it will be a very difficult case for the district court. These are just accusations made by the girls. They have to be weighed against the fact that my client strongly denies the allegations against him,” Håkansson said.

The trial against the man, pertaining one incident, was supposed to start during the autumn, but after it was discovered that he may be behind four further rapes in the area, the proceedings were postponed until the new year.

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