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Swedish man sues in ‘elk murder mystery’

A man from southern Sweden, who was accused of murdering his wife, is suing for damages after it was established that she was in fact killed by an elk.

Swedish man sues in 'elk murder mystery'
Photo: Becky Bohrer/TT

The man, a resident of Loftahammer in southern Sweden, is now demanding tens of thousands of kronor in compensation for being falsely accused of murder.

His lawyers are critical of the way in which prosecutors and the police handled the investigation after his 63-year-old wife was found gravely injured near the shore of a lake outside of Loftahammar in northeast Småland in September 2008.

According to the man, investigators were too quick to assume that he had killed his wife.

For months he laboured under the suspicion that he had murdered his wife, and he was also detained for ten days. Then it turned out that his wife was in fact killed by an elk.

When the woman was found dead on a forest path, the police immediately suspected her husband, and arrested him on suspicion of murder, just hours after she was found. After ten days in detention, he was released, but the suspicions against him remained.

It would take several months before police identified the real culprit after hairs found on the woman’s body were finally identified as coming from an elk. Police then realized the woman had been kicked to death by the animal.

The man says that because of the false accusation, he was viewed as a killer by his neighbours where he lived and had to move away.

Now he is asking for damages totalling 621,000 kronor – 300,000 kronor in compensation for suffering and 321,000 kronor in compensation for lost income.

CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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