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LISA HOLM MURDER

CRIME

Suspect in teen murder told family to tell lies

The 35-year-old key suspect in the Lisa Holm murder case allegedly told his brother and wife to lie to police about his whereabouts on the day the teenager was killed, Swedish media reported on Saturday.

Suspect in teen murder told family to tell lies
Prosecutors said Holm had been hanged in a barn near where she worked. Photo: TT

According to the younger brother, the suspect went out on Sunday afternoon and returned home about half an hour later, changing his clothes and putting them in the washing machine. Both he and the wife found that strange, since the man usually washed his clothes on Saturdays, the man told Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper.

Investigators learned of this during an interrogation in mid-June, the Swedish tabloid reported, shortly after 17-year-old Lisa Holm's body was discovered following one of the most high profile missing person cases in the country in years.

Days later, the three were at home when they saw that police were in the vicinity. The brother heard the wife say to her husband that the police might think he was involved in the murder because of his dirty clothes on that day and the washing. The suspect reacted angrily.

“He said in a crystal clear way that we should not tell anyone about that. He didn’t threaten us, but he said we shouldn’t be stupid and tell the police anything,” the brother told investigators.

During the same conversation, the suspect told his wife and brother they should tell the police that he was home at 6pm on the Sunday Lisa Holm disappeared.

Sexual motive

On Friday, prosecutors said the teenager’s murder was sexually motivated, although on her body there were no traces of a direct sexual assault.

Prosecutors at a press conference in Skövde said Holm had been hanged in a barn close to the café in Kinnekulle where she had worked, alleging that the suspect then moved her body to the location where she was found. This is despite the fact that no traces from Holm’s body were found in the suspect’s car.

The autopsy found that the 17-year-old had not been assaulted although her body was partially unclothed when she was found. The girl’s mouth had been taped shut.

“As we see it, any other motive than a sexual one is hard to imagine,” Deputy Prosecutor Lars-Göran Wennerholm said.

A woman who was jogging in the area several days before Holm disappeared told police that she had been approached by a man asking for directions. He insisted she get in his car but she refused. She later identified the murder suspect as the man who had spoken to her.

The 35-year-old has denied any connection to the crime, although his blood was found on Holm’s coat and on a piece of rope. Traces of his semen were found in the barn.

The suspect attracted police attention when it was discovered he had tried to discourage the group Missing People from combing the area for Holm after her disappearance, saying it had already been searched. 

The suspect’s younger brother and wife were initially suspected of involvement in the crime, but that investigation was later dropped. Both have said they do not want to be called as witnesses in the trial, which will start on Wednesday. 

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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