The girl had been cycling home from school when she was assaulted and raped by a man in a forest in Billdal, Gothenburg, in September 1995.
It was only earlier this year, 24 years after the crime took place, that the 58-year-old was detained on suspicion of the rape. This followed a so-called 'family search' in the police DNA register, linking him to DNA found on the girl's jumper at the time.
This search was made possible after a law change that came into effect on January 1st this year. It means that DNA traces found at crime scenes can sometimes be used to track down close relatives of possible suspects, something police were previously unable to do.
In the first sentence of its kind since the change, Gothenburg District Court on Tuesday found the man guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced him to six years in jail, according to court documents seen by The Local.
The court wrote it found no reason to doubt that the 58-year-old, who denied the allegations during the trial, was the same rapist whose sperm was found at the scene of the crime.
It added that apart from two separate DNA analyses which both strongly indicated he was the perpetrator, his behaviour when initially approached by police was suspicious.
Police originally found more than 20 profiles that closely matched that of the perpetrator when they scoured their database for the DNA. When officers contacted the 58-year-old for a DNA sample in order to rule him out as a potential suspect he refused to let himself be tested.
A prosecutor then approved a search warrant, but when the man became aware that police were still looking for him, he brought his children to their mother's house and “made himself unavailable”, wrote the court.
“In an overall assessment, the district court finds it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is the perpetrator,” it added.
It wrote that the rape ruined the victim's life and gave her serious injuries, stating that the normal punishment would be eight years in jail, but reduced it by two years because of the length of the time that had passed since the crime was committed.
The man's lawyer did not immediately say whether or not they would appeal the verdict.