Ex-serial killer to stay behind bars: council

Sture Bergwall, known as self-confessed serial killer Thomas Quick who retracted all his confessions, will not be let out of psychiatric care. Bergwall dubbed the decision "Soviet" in its "disregard for justice".

Ex-serial killer to stay behind bars: council

TV4 news reported on Thursday that the National Health and Welfare Board’s legal council (Socialstyrelsens rättsliga råd) ruled it was too early to make a judgment about whether Bergvall poses any threat to society if let out of Säter psychiatric hospital in central Sweden.

The eighth and final murder charge against Bergwall was discarded on July 31st, the final nail in the coffin of an extensive justice system scandal in which he confessed to a string of killings that took place between 1994 and 2001. He was convicted of eight murders, but has now been cleared of all charges.

Bergwall, who blogs from inside Säter, expressed his regret over Thursday’s verdict and accused the welfare board of not accessing enough information about his case before making its ruling.

“(The council) had the possibility of asking for more information to make its decision, but chose not to,” Bergwall blogged. “They then lay bare a total lack of respect for an individual person and for defending justice (rättssäkerhet).”

Bergwall went on to accuse the council of having a “Soviet attitude” to having safe and accountable justice system.

“It’s creepy,” Bergwall wrote.

“The justice system has, through discarding the verdicts (against me), shown that it can deal with this huge miscarriage of justice,” he continued.

“Correctional services’ psychiatric care and now the legal council do not have the capacity to do the same. It’s horrifying.”

TT/The Local/Ann Törnkvist

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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.