For members


What do we know about the ‘Tove’ murder that has shocked Sweden?

Two young women, 18 and 20, were charged on Friday for luring a 21-year-old woman home and then strangling her to death after an argument at a nightclub. Here's what we know about the so-called 'Tove' case.

What do we know about the 'Tove' murder that has shocked Sweden?
Police forensic technicians at the place where the body of the 21-year-old Tove was found, near Vetlanda. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

What happened? 

Tove, 21, went out to the Nöjet nightclub in Vetlanda on the night of October 15th, and then spoke to her boyfriend at 2am the following morning, after which she went missing.

Her disappearance was reported to the police later the next day, after which a search was launched in the surrounding forests, with hundreds of people from Sweden’s Missing People voluntary organisation taking part. 

While at the nightclub, she had had a fight or disagreement with the 20-year-old now charged for her murder, with locals saying that the two had been in conflict for some time. 

The 20-year-old and the 18-year-old were seized and held by police a few days after Tove went missing, initially on suspicion of kidnapping. 

Then two weeks later, on November 2nd, the body was found near a forest track about 10km outside Vetlanda, after police tracked the movements on the 20-year-old’s phone. 

In early January, after more than two months in custody, the 20-year-old finally admitted to killing Tove, but claimed it was an accident and that the two had intended to punish her, but not to kill her. 

Then, a month later, the 18-year-old also admitted to involvement in the crime, but she claims to have been asleep or unconscious when the murder took place, and only to have helped dispose of the body. 

The two had somehow convinced Tove to come back to the 20-year-old’s apartment, despite the fight earlier in the night, and it was there that she died.  

A security camera picture of Tove leaving the nightclub on October 16th. Photo: Police

What are the two women being charged with? 

The prosecutor in the case, Adam Rullman, on Friday charged both women for both murder and desecration of a corpse, with the prosecution agency saying in a press statement that they were being charged for “together and in agreement carrying out the acts”. 

In the charge document, he said that he believed the 20-year-old had strangled Tove, while the 18-year-old had held her down. 

“They had a conflict which has been described in different ways by different people. It’s hard to get a decent grip on it,” he said, but he said understanding the motive had “a limited significance, if any at all”. 

After the two had hidden Tove’s body in the forest, the 20-year-old set fire to the body, returning a day later along with Tove’s bag, jacket and shoes in a black plastic sack. She then poured flammable liquid over the body and the bag and ignited it again. 

What do they say? 

The 18-year-old denies any involvement in the murder. 

“She has not played a role in any murder. She was not even in the room when it happened,” Mikael Svegfors, he lawyer, told TT. “She felt forced to help move the body, and she did do this, but nothing else.” 

The 20-year-old has admitted to strangling the victim, but said that it took place during a fight at the same time as the victim had been trying to strangle her, and that she had died by accident. 

“My client admits that, in a fight with the victim, and after the victim put her hands around my client’s neck, she responded by for a short time seizing the neck of the victim,” Clea Sangborn, her lawyer said. 

She said that her client also denied committing murder, “partly because the strangle grip in itself cannot have led to the death, and partly because she had no intention of killing the victim”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Sweden’s ‘snippa’ rape case to go to the High Court

When Sweden's appeals court threw out a guilty verdict in a child rape case over the meaning of 'snippa', a child's word for a vagina, it caused a scandal in Sweden. Now, the Swedish Supreme Court wants to hear from the Court of Appeals about its decision.  

Sweden's 'snippa' rape case to go to the High Court

Attorney General Petra Lundh criticised the appeals court for “a number of serious miscarriages of justice” in the way it dealt with the case. 

The man had been sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2021 after the district court heard how he, in the prosecutor’s words, had “by sticking his hand inside the plaintiff’s shorts and underwear, holding his hand on the the girl’s ‘snippa’ and having a finger inside her ‘snippa’, performed a sexual act” on her. 

The girl’s testimony was found to be credible, in part because she had told her mother about the incident on their way home.

But in February this year, the appeals court threw out the conviction, arguing that it was unclear what the girl means by the word snippa, a word taught to Swedish children to refer to female genitalia.

Despite agreeing with the district court that the man had touched the girl between her legs and inserted his finger into her snippa, the court found that it could not be determined whether the girl was referring to her vulva or to her vagina.

If the man had inserted his finger into her vagina, that would have met the standard to be classified as rape. Because the girl said that his finger was “far in”, but could not state exactly how far, the appeals court found that it could not establish beyond doubt that the man had inserted his finger in her vagina and not her the vulva.

Because no lower-grade charges, such as sexual abuse or molestation, had been filed against the man, the appeals court could not consider other offences.

This week, the Attorney General lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court against the appeal court’s decision. Now the Swedish Supreme Court has given the appeals court until April 12 to explain its decision-making in the case.

The Supreme Court has not decided whether it will hear an appeal against the decision to clear the man of rape charges.