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OFFBEAT

Murder suspect sent 10,000 texts from jail

A 31-year-old man recently convicted of stabbing a man to death used a smuggled mobile phone to send more than 10,000 text messages from inside his cell in a Swedish jail.

Murder suspect sent 10,000 texts from jail

“I have never heard of anything like this, it is startling,” said district prosecutor Anna-Karin von Schoultz.

The 31-year-old was not allowed any contact with the outside so he couldn’t jeopardise the preliminary investigation into a gruesome stabbing that occurred in Växjö last autumn.

Yet during his time in custody the man sent an average of 90 text messages per day. The personnel at the remand facility noticed nothing.

“We received information as early as during the preliminary investigation that the man was able to communicate with the outside world,” von Schoultz told local paper Smålandstidningen.

The police then started mapping the phone traffic and their investigation shows that the man started using the mobile about a month after he was taken into custody.

The calls and texts only subsided when one of the witnesses testified that he had been in contact with the man.

According to Smålandstidningen the man was in regular contact with several key witnesses in the murder investigation and sometimes spoke on the phone for up to an hour.

In order to get to the bottom with the matter the man was transferred to another jail. His cell was searched repeatedly but no phone was found.

However, police were able to see from the mobile phone traffic that he managed to bring the phone with him both to the new holding facility in Jönköping and back again.

The allegations are grave against the two prisons in Växjö and Jönköping.

Joakim Ringek, regional head of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården), did not want to comment on the ongoing misconduct investigation.

“But hypothetically speaking it is very serious if a detained individual have been able to communicate with the outside world,” said Ringek.

Since the investigations were initiated the man has undergone body searches and police have repeatedly searched the cells he have been detained in. No phone has so far been found.

The man was convicted to 12 years in prison by Växjö District Court in February but has appealed the verdict.

The case will come up in the Court of Appeal next week. The man remains adamant he is innocent.

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CRIME

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

A court has sentenced the far-right extremist Theodor Engström to psychiatric care for the knife attack he carried out at the Almedalen political festival this summer.

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

The Gotland district court found the 33-year-old Engström guilty of murdering the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren, but did not agree that the murder counted as a terror attack.

It did find him guilty, however, of “planning a terror attack”, for his preparations to murder the Centre Party’s leader, Annie Lööf. 

“The murdered woman had a significant role [in society], a murder is always serious, and this had consequences both for Almedalen Week and for society more broadly,” the judge Per Sundberg, said at a press conference. 

The judge Per Sundberg announces the sentence on Theodor Engström on December 6th. Photo: Karl Melander/TT

But he said that the court judged that Sweden’s terror legislation was too restrictively drafted for her murder to count as a terror offence. 

“Despite Ing-Marie Wieselgren’s well-attested position within psychiatry, the court considers that her position as national coordinator at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions is not such that her murder can in itself be considered to have damaged Sweden. The act cannot as a result be classified as a terrorist crime on those grounds.” 

The court ruled that Engström’s crimes deserved Sweden’s most severe sentence, a life sentence in prison, but found that due to his disturbed mental state he should instead receive “psychiatric care with a special test for release”. 

In its judgement, the court said that an examination by forensic psychiatrists had found both that there were “medical reasons” why Engström should be transferred into a closed psychiatric facility and that “his insight into the meaning of his actions and his ability to adjust his actions according to such insight were at the very least severely diminished”. 

It said that under Swedish law, a court could send someone to prison who was in need of psychiatric care only if there were “special reasons” to do so. 

“The court considers that it has not been shown that Theodor Engström’s need of psychiatric care is so limited that there is a special reason for a prison sentence,” it ruled. 

Lööf wrote on Instagram that the judgement was “a relief”. 

“For me personally, it was a relief when the judgement came,” she wrote. “Engström has also been judged guilty of ‘preparation for a terror attack through preparation for murder’. This means that the the court is taking the threat towards democracy and towards politicians as extremely serious.”

The fact that the court has decided that Engström’s care should have a “special test for release” means that he cannot be discharged from the closed psychiatric hospital or ward where he is treated without a court decision. 

The court must rule both that the mental disorder that led to the crime has abated to the extent that there is no risk of further crimes, and that he has no other mental disorders that might require compulsory psychiatric care. The care has to be reassessed every six months. 

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