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CRIME

British serial killer Peter Sutcliffe linked to unsolved Sweden murders

Peter Sutcliffe, the British serial killer known as the “Yorkshire Ripper” who was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others during the 1970s, has been connected to two unsolved murders in Sweden.

British serial killer Peter Sutcliffe linked to unsolved Sweden murders
The police station in Leeds, United Kingdom, where Sutcliffe's investigation was conducted. Photo: Mtaylor848/Wikimedia commons

West Yorkshire Police connected Swedish authorities last year in relation to two unsolved murders of Swedish women, reports newspaper Kvällsposten.

“They wanted answers to a number of questions, including whether we have the type of murder, whether forensic evidence exists and whether there is anything that can be investigated using new techniques,” Bo Lundqvist, police commissioner with the Region South Police department for cold cases, told the newspaper.

“They also wanted to know whether Peter Sutcliffe was named in any investigations,” Lundqvist added.

The two crimes that British police wish to investigate are the murders of a 31-year-old woman, who was found in Gothenburg in August 1980, and a 26-year-old woman who was found in Malmö in September of the same year.

Lundqvist confirmed to Kvällsposten that Malmö Police did in fact contact British police in January 1981, after the media in Sweden had drawn attention to the fact that Peter Sutcliffe may have been in Malmö at the time of the 26-year-old's murder.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about the Swedish murder case that's stranger than fiction

The Swedish police communication reportedly coincided with Sutcliffe’s arrest and later conviction.

Interpol responded to Malmö Police, saying that Sutcliffe could not have been in the city at the time of the crime – information that the agency later found to be incorrect, according to the report.

According to a ferry passenger manifest, Sutcliffe was likely in Malmö at the time of the second Swedish murder. The manifest shows Sutcliffe’s name on board a service between Malmö and Dragør in Denmark on the days before and after the murder in the Swedish city, Lundqvist told the newspaper.

The police officer said that this information probably never reached the British police at the time of their investigation against Sutcliffe, and subsequently the Swedish connections were not followed up.

Sutcliffe, who worked as an HGV driver and was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper by the British press, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981 for murdering 13 women between 1975 and 1980.

But after opening a review of unsolved crimes last year, West Yorkshire Police told Lundqvist that they were aware of a telex from Interpol indicating that Sutcliffe had travelled on the Malmö-Dragør ferry.

Malmö Police have previously confirmed that a hair which was found on the woman’s body has been preserved, according to the report.

Lundqvist responded to the British request but has not yet received any further information on the case, writes Kvällposten.

The decision to grant British authorities access to any forensic material will fall to the Swedish justice department, reports the newspaper.

Unsolved murders that date prior to 1985 are lapsed under Swedish law but not according to British legislation, Lundqvist said.

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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