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CRIME

Murder charges in gay dating site killing

Swedish prosecutors have brought murder charges against two Stockholm men involved in a high-profile robbery of a man they contacted on a gay dating website and then left to bleed to death in suburban woodlands.

Murder charges in gay dating site killing
Police remove the body from the Solna woods. File: Johan Nilsson/TT

The police found the body of the battered man in a forest area of Stockholm suburb Solna in September. The 32-year-old had also been attacked with a knife. Four people were arrested on suspicion of the attack, while a 16-year-old girl was considered too young to be detained. 

Prosecutor Jenny Clemedtson on Thursday announced that two of the men, aged 25 and 26, would face charges of murder and aggravated robbery. The two women will not be charged for the man's death but will go to trial for their involvement in the robbery.  The 29-year-old man will be charged with accessory to aggravate robbery.

The assailants contacted their victim on the Qruiser website, which on its website describes itself as "the largest Nordic Community for homo, bisexual, transgender or queer people and our friends".

There was no mention in the Swedish press whether the gang of five had homophobic motives.

The two female assailants, aged 18 and 16, set up a meeting with their victim via SMS. Once he arrived at Järva krog pub in Solna, he was hit, kicked and stabbed. The attackers stabbed him in both legs, one arm, the hands and the torso. As he fell, mortally wounded, to the ground, the man had his pocket picked of 5,000 kronor ($755).

The gang then left him to die in the woods.

Extensive SMS traffic forms part of the prosecutor's case against the gang. They identify a similar attack just the day before their fatal assault on the 32-year-old. That victim received hits to the face and head, was pulled by his hair, and suffered a barrage of kicks. The 18-year-old woman allegedly threatened to kill him before he surrendered his credit card, the pin number, a commuter rail pass, and a mobile phone. 

A third victim lured to the same spot in Solna just a few days before the murder was threatened with a knife, assaulted and robbed. Because the attackers used a knife to threaten him the prosecutor has charged the gang with aggravated robbery. 

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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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