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CRIME

Man sentenced for ‘executing’ ex-girlfriend

A 37-year-old Swedish man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend with a bolt pistol normally used for anaesthetizing livestock.

An August 26th of last year, Martin Hensvold lost a prolonged custody battle with 24-year-old Frida Stenberg over the couple’s two-year-old son and four-month old daughter.

Three hours after being awarded custody and with her infant daughter in tow, Stenberg drove out to pick up her son from a farm owned by Hensvold’s parents in the village of Smedsbyn outside of Luleå in northern Sweden.

Before leaving with her son, however, Stenberg asked the boy’s father to go fetch some shoes and socks for the 2-year-old.

Hensvold returned from his car with the requested items as well as a bolt pistol he kept handy in order to put down animals on the farm should the need arise.

He then placed the cattle pistol against the back of Stenberg’s neck and fired a fatal shot as the couple’s children looked on, the Expressen newspaper reported.

Prosecutor Karin Hansson had urged the district court in Luleå to sentence Hensvold to life in prison for the murder.

She argued that the ex-boyfriend had had time to collect his thoughts when he went to his car to get the bolt pistol.

“We’re talking about a straightforward execution,” Hansson told the court.

In its ruling, the court found that Hensvold knew from his experience using a bolt gun to kill livestock that one shot to the neck would be fatal.

The court also found that Hensvold, who had made partial confessions to the crime during a police investigation in August, was directly responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s death.

A psychiatric evaluation conducted during the investigation in September revealed that Hensvold wasn’t suffering from any mental illnesses at the time of the killing.

However, his mental condition deteriorated throughout the autumn, with a later examination showing that following the crime Hensvold had started to suffer from a deep depression with symptoms of psychosis and was in need of psychiatric care.

The Luleå District Court asserted that it wasn’t uncommon for people to be afflicted by serious, but temporary mental disturbances once they begin to realize the consequences their criminal acts will have on their lives.

The court therefore ruled that a long prison sentence, rather than time in a psychiatric care facility, was the most appropriate punishment for Hensvold and that his mental health needs can be met within the framework of those provided by the Swedish prison service.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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