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CRIME

Pre-school employee jailed for child rape

A 32-year-old man was on Friday imprisoned for four years and three months for aggravated rape and the sexual assault of a child.

The man has in recent years been employed at several pre-schools in Malmö in southern Sweden, where the attacks are reported to have occurred.

The man stood accused of having assaulted four children, including one charge of having raped a four-year-old girl.

The trial concerned the aggravated rape of the girl and the aggravated sexual assault charges against three others, as well as the assault of a fifth.

The man was convicted on the rape count, but was acquitted on two of the sexual assault charges, while he was convicted on a reduced charge of sexual molestation in one of the cases.

The prosecutor sought a prison term of six years, but the court ruled for a shorter sentence of four years and three months.

“Cases of this nature are always difficult to preside over,” the judge Thed Adelswärd said in a written statement.

“In sexual offences cases in general there are often no witnesses or any decisive forensic evidence. Neither was there in this case. The outcome is thus to a great extent determined by how the court deems the injured party’s testimony to be.”

Adelswärd added that this case was complicated further by the fact that the injured parties were children and that their testimony was presented in the form of taped police interviews.

One of the man’s lawyers, Claes Kronström, stated on Friday that there was a “very high likelihood” that the ruling would be appealed.

The 32-year-old has protested his innocence throughout the trial and Kronström pointed to the lack of forensic evidence or witnesses.

“The district court has placed its faith in the children’s testimony, it has been a word against word situation. But our position is that the children’s testimonies are not sufficient,” he said.

The children were awarded a total of 150,000 kronor ($23,000) in damages.

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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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