Man in Sweden faces retrial for 26-year-old murder after DNA test

A man freed 25 years ago for murdering a 16-year-old schoolgirl will now face trial again after a forgotten blood sample matched a DNA test.

Man in Sweden faces retrial for 26-year-old murder after DNA test

Sweden’s Supreme Court on Monday gave the go ahead for a retrial in the murder case of 16-year-old Malin Lindström, who was brutally murdered in the village of Husum, north of Örnsköldsvik in 1996. 

“When it’s a question of a retrial to the disadvantage of someone has previously been found innocent, more decisive new material is required,” said Stefan Johansson, one of the five judges who approved the retrial.

“This new evidence doesn’t give any answers as to how and when the girl lost her life. On the other hand, it conveys that there is a very strong support for a connection between the girl and the person who was previously freed.”

A young man was found guilty of murdering her at the district court, but was later freed by the high court, which judged there was insufficient evidence to tie him to the murder. 

In 2020, improved DNA-testing technology has enabled police to create a DNA profile for the killer from a drop of semen found on Lindström’s trousers. 

But at first, it was little use, as all of the samples taken from the man during the 1997 investigation had been thrown away, and Sweden’s High Court refused a police request to take new tests. 

However, police this year discovered an old, forgotten blood test, taken from the man in 1997, leading the prosecutor to request a retrial from the Supreme Court. 

Sweden’s Prosecutor-General Petra Lundh said in a statement she had applied for a retrial as she judged that the new evidence was sufficiently strong that “it was likely that the Supreme Court would have found the man guilty”. 

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Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.