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CRIME

Six jailed over murder of woman in Dalarna

Six people were on Friday sentenced to jail in connection with the murder of a 61-year-old woman.

Six jailed over murder of woman in Dalarna
The woman's body was found near Långshyttan in Dalarna. Photo: Niklas Hagman/TT

The woman disappeared after a barbecue party near the village of Långshyttan in the rural Dalarna region last summer. She was found dead two weeks later in a water-filled mine shaft.

Falu District Court found four people guilty of murder. Newspaper Expressen reports that it sentenced Joakim Hessling, 26, who stabbed the victim, to 17 years in jail.

Daniel Viberg Wahlgren, 21, and Martin Broling, 24, were sentenced to 16 years in jail. Benita Hokkanen was handed a shorter punishment – 12 years – because she was only 20 at the time the murder was committed.

Two people – Per-Olov Höflinger, 46, and Mats Hedin, 45 – were found guilty of complicity in murder and sentenced to ten years in jail.

Another three women were convicted of failing to reveal murder, one woman was freed of all charges and one man was convicted of “less serious crimes”, wrote the court in a statement.

The court heard that the victim had lent money to some of the people charged, who did not appreciate her attempts to get the money back. In mid-June last year they decided to kill her.

They invited her to a barbecue party at a lake. Afterwards, they sat down in a car where some of them strangled her with a rope while singing along to the song 'Forever Angel' on the car stereo.

She was eventually stabbed to death after they noticed she was still breathing. The body was wrapped in plastic and thrown down the mine shaft. The group then used her bank card to make several purchases and took items from her apartment, reports Swedish news agency TT.

The lawyers for Broling, Hessling and Wahlgren told the newswire that they would likely appeal the sentence. None of the other people's lawyers immediately commented on whether or not they would appeal.

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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