Swede jailed for child rape 24 years ago in groundbreaking court case

A man has been jailed for attacking and raping an eight-year-old girl on her way home from school 24 years ago, after a law change in how police can use DNA linked him to the scene.

Swede jailed for child rape 24 years ago in groundbreaking court case
The man raped the girl in this forest near Gothenburg over 24 years ago. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

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.

READ ALSO: 'Sweden needs to do more to convict rapists': Amnesty report

Member comments

  1. 6 years? For raping a child? I am no conservative but that length of sentence is disgracefully short, even by Swedish standards.

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Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

The former politician has been charged on suspicion of murdering his colleague in an apartment south of Stockholm, after police found body parts in three different locations in the capital.

Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

According to the prosecution, the body parts found in plastic bags in central Stockholm came from a man in his 60s murdered in an apartment in Nyköping, south of Stockholm.

The man is said to have been killed by a pistol shot to the head, after which the 60-year-old charged with the murder dismembered the body.

The suspected murderer, who newspaper Expressen reports is a former Sweden Democrat politician, is said to have moved the body parts multiple times, eventually dumping them across the city.

In total, three body parts were found in two different locations – the Karlsberg canal and in the Djurgården park. Not all parts of the body have yet been found.

“We’ve carried out a comprehensive investigation into the victim and the suspect. We can, to some extent, show how and when the suspect moved the body parts,” prosecutor Marina Chirakova told TT.

The victim, who according to Expressen was also a former Sweden Democrat politician, had been friends with the suspected murderer for a number of years. Prosecutors did not comment on the motive behind the murder.

“That will be discussed in the main hearings,” she told TT.

The suspect was taken into custody in November last year after being arrested in Nyköping. He denies the charges, but accepts certain circumstances related to the case.

Upon his arrest, he resigned from his political obligations and his membership was frozen by the Sweden Democrats.

“I don’t want to comment on his stance on the charges or anything he has said,” she further told TT.

The murder is suspected to have taken place between August 30th and September 16th last year.