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CRIME

‘Traces’ found in cathedral as investigation into Sweden’s stolen crown jewels continues

The search for Sweden's stolen crown jewels -- and the thieves responsible -- is continuing as the crime gains international attention. But no suspect has yet been identified, police confirmed to The Local on Thursday afternoon.

'Traces' found in cathedral as investigation into Sweden's stolen crown jewels continues
The cathedral, which was closed off for the investigation. Photo: Pontus Stenberg / TT

Two unknown criminals stole 17th-century royal crowns from a cathedral in Strängnäs, one hour from Stockholm, where they were kept in a locked and alarmed display case. The suspects were seen fleeing from the scene on women's bicycles and then a motorboat on Tuesday.

Police searched the area, both by water and air, and worked through the night on Tuesday but so far the jewels have not been recovered.

“Nothing has changed since yesterday,” police spokesperson Stefan Dangardt told The Local on Thursday afternoon, one day after the theft was registered with Interpol in an effort to make the stolen goods impossible to sell.

“There are some media reports that we have found the stolen goods but I cannot confirm that,” Dangardt added. “We are continuing to work with the information that we have, and continuing the investigation.”


The stolen items. Photo: Polisen/Livrustkammaren

Several Swedish media reported that police have carried out house searches in an area north of Stockholm, but Dangardt could not confirm this. He said no arrests had been made and no evidence had been found.

However, he said forensics experts had made progress in their investigation of the crime scene, which was closed off on Wednesday. Dangdardt told The Local that the forensic team had found “traces” both in and outside the church, but said it was too early to say what kind of evidence these might be, or what exactly the traces were. 

The revelation follows an earlier report from Swedish daily Aftonbladet, which said it had received information that police had found traces of blood in the cathedral.

The crowns were made for the burial of Kind Charles IX and his wife Christina, and date back to the early 1600s. A royal orb was stolen along with them, and the gold jewels are decorated with silver and pearls.

It's not the first royal heist in the area around Lake Mälaren. In 2013, a crown and sceptre used in the funeral of Sweden's King Johan III were stolen from nearby Västerås. They subsequently turned up in two large rubbish bags at the side of a highway following a tip-off to police.

 

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POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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