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Why prosecutor dropped probe against Swedish couple 'who isolated children for years'

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Why prosecutor dropped probe against Swedish couple 'who isolated children for years'
Police spokesperson Ewa Gun Westford said that the case could be reopened if the children start to speak against their parents. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
12:55 CEST+02:00
A Swedish prosecutor closed a police investigation into two parents who had isolated their children after she was unable to show they had committed a crime, local police have confirmed.
Ewa-Gun Westford, press spokesperson for the police's Southern Sweden region, said the social services in the municipality of Ystad had filed four police reports about the parents, one for each of their four youngest children. 
 
"We had a meeting with the authorities in Ystad and the prosecutors, and decided that we had to move further on with our investigations," she told The Local. "But she couldn't find that any crime had been committed against the children." 
 
The case shocked Sweden on Monday when a series of articles in the Sydsvenskan newspaper described how the family's house in the countryside of Skåne had been raided in August last year, and four of the five children taken into care, after the local schools chief realized they were not receiving an education. 
 
According to the articles, the house appeared abandoned from the outside and while neighbours sometimes heard the voices of the children, they never saw them.
 
The parents had claimed to be educating the children using a US online school, but this turned out not to be the case. 
 
 
Westford said that it was up to the social services and not the police to act against the couple for failing to send their children to school and isolating them socially. 
 
"Our responsibility is real crime: if they had hit them or sexually abused them," she said. "Now the children are in new families, and perhaps later on if they start to tell stories, then we can reopen the investigation again." 
 
Westford stressed that as far as she knew the reporting of the case in Sydsvenskan had been "very correct". 
 
The parents, however, claim that their family and style of parenting has been unfairly portrayed.  
 
"They think everything is lies against them, so they have gone to court. They are very angry of course," Westford said. 
 
"This is very, very unusual. They have lived under the radar for so many years, and it's very strange." 
 
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