Swedish teenager sentenced to eight years for police murder

The 17-year old attending the court hearing earlier on November 8th. Johan Hallnäs / TT
A 17-year-old youth has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Sweden for killing a police officer, after investigators found his DNA on clothes and a gun found near the crime scene.

“The court is unanimous. It is important to note that the 17-year-old was not identified by an individual,” said the judge, Göran Lundahl, at a press conference after the sentence was announced. “The sentence is built on circumstantial evidence.”

The prosecutors built their case around security camera footage, and the youth’s DNA, which was found on weapons, clothes, and face mask discovered, together with an electric scooter, 700 metres from the crime scene. The face mask also held large amounts of gunshot residue from the murder weapon.

Andreas Danman, a policeman, was shot while rushing on his police motorcycle to the site of another shooting in the troubled Gothenburg district of Biskopsgården. 

As he reached a crossroads, two shots were fired at him from a submachine gun, one of which hit him. He later died of his injuries, in a rare police killing that has shocked Sweden. 

Klas Johansson, regional police chief of western Sweden, described Danman at the time as being in his early 30s and relatively new to the profession. 

According to Gothenburg court, the shooting was part of a gang conflict, and it was unclear whether the teenager had realised that he was shooting at a policeman.

“It has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the 17-year-old knew that Danman was a police officer when he fired the shots,” Lundahl said. “Our conclusion is that he must have mistaken him for someone else.” 

In its judgment, the court nonetheless ruled that the 17-year-old had had intent to kill, noting that the teenager had previously been sentenced for the attempted murder of a slightly older teenager, who was also part of this investigation. The older teenager was shot just before Danman, alongside two friends.

“This is an incident carried out in a gang environment and as part of a gang conflict,” Lundahl said.

The 17-year-old denies being involved in the incident, claiming to have been with acquaintances playing games in Frölunda, on the other side of Gothenburg, at the time the murder occurred. He was, however, unable or unwilling to describe these acquaintances other than providing their first names.

CORRECTION: Article edited to clarify a quote by the judge about circumstantial evidence.

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