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KARLSKRONA

CRIME

Child murder suspects give clashing evidence

IN PICTURES: The Karlskrona couple held on suspicion of killing an 8-year-old girl in their care have told the police contradictory versions of what happened the night the young girl died.

Child murder suspects give clashing evidence
¨The 31-year-old man arrives at his remand hearing. Photo: TT

The regional Sydöstran newspaper reported that the man, 31, and the woman, 30, had offered different accounts about what happened in their apartment on Walpurgis night. The man was a relative of the 8-year-old girl, who was found lifeless in the apartment. She was pronounced dead in hospital later.

The cause of death had still not been determined, but may be revealed on Tuesday, as the young girl's body has been sent to autopsy. 

IN PICTURES: Karlskrona mourns as the police and the municipality investigate the 8-year-old's death

The police said it was still unclear who had called emergency services on the night of the girl's death. 

Her death has stunned the town in southern Sweden with floral tributes left outside her school and her home. It has since emerged that social services were alerted to the girl's precarious living situation over a year ago.

Shortly before her death, a neighbour alerted the police to her suspicions that the girl was being abused. On Good Friday, she met the 8-year-old in the elevator of their apartment building and noticed that she was bruised and had problems walking. The police sent the complaint on to social services four days later, as the report coincided with the long Easter holiday weekend.

The girl came to Sweden by herself last year. The 31-year-old man and the 30-year-old woman were her legal guardians. The girl's parents found out about her death via Facebook, before the authorities in Sweden managed to liaise with police in Gaza to try to have an officer tell the family of the death in person.

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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