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CRIME

Man sentenced over dinner party murder in west Sweden

A 40-year-old man has been sentenced to psychiatric care for murdering his friend, and attempting to kill two others, at a dinner party at a family home in western Sweden just before the Christmas holidays last year.

Man sentenced over dinner party murder in west Sweden
The man during a preliminary court hearing last year. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The two men and their families had gathered to have dinner together at one of their homes in Onsala, near Kungsbacka, in December. But when they were about to clear the table, the 40-year-old “suddenly, without warning” stabbed his friend in the chest with a kitchen knife, according to police interviews with the wives.

He then went to a neighbour's house and attacked a couple in their thirties with an axe and a knife. Both survived with permanent brain damage. The 40-year-old was soon arrested by police arriving at the scene.

A psychiatric investigation found that the man, who was 39 at the time, had been suffering from a persecution complex and had also suffered several psychoses.

It also found that there was a risk he would reoffend if freed.


Police on the street where the murder took place. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Varberg district court on Thursday sentenced him to psychiatric care in a closed facility for offenders. He also has to pay around 570,000 kronor ($68,817) in damages to the neighbours and 325,000 kronor to the murdered man's family.

The 40-year-old's lawyer, Leif Silbersky, had pleaded for a not-guilty verdict, arguing that the man was so mentally ill at the time that he had committed the murder and attempted murder without intent to kill.

“He's going to receive care even if he is not convicted,” Silbersky told regional newspaper Hallands Nyheter when the trial ended two weeks ago.

Onsala is a wealthy area 45 kilometres south of Gothenburg with more than 11,000 residents. 

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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