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CRIME

Parents held for ‘forcing demons’ from daughter

Exorcism was the motivation for repeated attacks against a 14 year-old girl from western Sweden who was regularly beaten and burned by her father and stepmother, who wanted to rid the girl of “evil spirits”, prosecutors allege.

“The girl was put through a number of things to get rid of evil spirits that possessed her, according to certain notions,” said prosecutor Daniel Larson to local newspaper Borås Tidning (BT).

Police have previously been unwilling to divulge any details about the case, which occurred in Borås, in southwestern Sweden.

According to BT, suspicions first surfaced in 2004 when an anonymous report arrived at the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), but the agency opted not to pursue the matter at the time.

Six years later, in 2010, the agency received new reports that the child was being abused, as well as information indicating that her father had taken her to Skåne to force the evil daemons out of her.

The girl may have been beaten and burned over a long period of time in order to drive out demons. She was also locked up, in order to prevent her from infecting others with her evil spirits, reported the newspaper.

The prosecutor also confirmed that the case is connected to controversial local congregation The River.

“Events which we’ve investigated occurred on the congregation’s premises, so in that sense it is connected,” said Larson.

Following a four-hour remand hearing on Friday at Borås’ district court, the 33-year-old step mother , who is believed to be the driving force behind the violent exorcism attempts, was remanded in custody on suspicion of gross violation of a person’s integrity (grov fridskränkning).

The girl’s 37-year-old father was also ordered held on remand on suspicion of being an accomplice to the assault and for false imprisonment.

Attorneys for the father and stepmother told BT that their clients deny having committed any crimes.

The head of The River congregation, Gun Hartikainen, refused to comment on the matter.

“I have nothing to say to you. Have a blessed day. Good bye,” she told BT.

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ALMEDALEN 2022

Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden. 

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