Trio charged in wealthy Swede’s abduction

Three people were charged on Thursday with drugging and kidnapping a 25-year-old student from a wealthy Swedish family and holding him prisoner for more than a week in what one of the suspects said was a "prank".

Trio charged in wealthy Swede's abduction
The room where the 25-year-old victim was held

The 25-year-old student from Uppsala, who comes from a wealthy family, went missing on December 28th, 2011 and was found eight days later in a remote building in northern Sweden.

The three people suspected of the deed, two 26-year-old men and a 23-year-old woman, have now been charged with kidnapping.

In addition, one of the men and the woman have also been charged with attempted blackmail and attempted fraud.

One of the suspects has made a partial confession in the case, which once again hit Swedish media on Friday as news of the charges emerged.

Prosecutor Lars Hedvall reckons the abduction was a well-planned and calculated affair hatched by one of the men and the 23-year-old woman, according to the indictment.

Together with the other man, they acquired a building in Västerbotten in Sweden’s far north, as well as a car and a wheelchair to help carry out the kidnapping.

“The woman contacted the plaintiff a year ago. At the time, he considered her to be a friend,” Hedvall told the TT news agency.

According to the prosecutor, the plan was to blackmail the victim’s well-to-do family “of large amounts of money”.

When it came time to set the plan in action, the 23-year-old went home with the 25-year-old to his flat in Uppsala and offered him a meal and dessert.

“These contained sleeping aids,” said the prosecutor which meant that the victim quickly lost consciousness.

At the same time, the woman’s two male accomplices were standing by in the rented car.

The kidnappers then taped the 25-year-old’s arms and legs together and “put tape over his mouth and eyes” before placing him a wheelchair before whisking him away under the cover of darkness.

Tests on hair samples from the victim revealed high levels of a sleeping aid prosecutors believe was used in the scheme.

“There’s no other plausible explanation other than that he ingested it with the quiche he was served,” said Hedvall.

The trio then drove their gagged and bound victim north and placed him in a small room in a remote building in Västerbotten that lacked heat and electricity where he was held for the following week “under very austere conditions”.

The 25-year-old abductee was told he was “somewhere abroad and that there were guards and dogs outside the building” so that there was no point in trying to escape.

He was also told that his family would be attacked if he tried to flee.

The kidnappers also threatened to pull out the man’s teeth and scald his feed if he didn’t tell them what they wanted to know.

One of the men and the woman then allegedly drove to Linköping in central Sweden where they pilfered a storage space belonging to the man.

On their way back up north to commence with “contact phase in their blackmailing” they were arrested by police.

The 25-year-old man was found after a week in captivity, but prosecutors believe his kidnappers intended to keep him for a longer period of time.

Anders Norman, the defence attorney for one of the men who served as a lookout at the building where the 25-year-old was kept, told TT that his client has partially admitted to the crime.

“He was an accomplice,” Norman told TT, adding that his client was ready to confess to a lesser charge of kidnapping than what prosecutors are seeking.

The other man charged in the case has admitted to many of the facts of the case, but claims that it was “a prank, a bachelor party”, said Hedvall.

The woman, meanwhile, denies having participated in the kidnapping or drugging the 25-year-old.

The trial is scheduled to begin on April 12th in Uppsala.

TT/The Local/dl

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Austrian triathlete freed by kidnapper after complimenting orchids

A young Austrian triathlete kidnapped while riding her bike talked her way to freedom by complimenting her captor's orchids, a police source said Saturday, confirming press reports.

Austrian triathlete freed by kidnapper after complimenting orchids
Photo: AFP

Professional triathlete Nathalie Birli, 27, was struck by a car Tuesday and broke her arm while falling to the ground near Graz in southeastern Austria, the press reports said.

The driver then knocked her out with a piece of wood and took her to his isolated home.

“When I regained consciousness, I was naked and tied up in an armchair in an old house,” Birli told the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

The man forced her to drink alcohol and tried to suffocate her and drown her in a bathtub filled with cold water, Birli said.

However she managed to placate the man by complimenting him on the many orchids growing in his home.

Though he was initially “filled with hate,” the man suddenly became “nice to me” and confided that gardening was his passion before opening up about his troubled childhood, she said.





Einmal Glocknerkönigin (oder – Prinzessin ??) werden… #ziemlichnassesocken #aeroiseverything

A post shared by Nathalie Birli (@nathi_birli) on Jul 19, 2017 at 9:29am PDT

Nathalie Birli in an image posted on Instagram

Finally, he agreed to let her go and even took her home, along with her bicycle, which had a GPS system installed in it.

Police used the GPS record to track down the man and arrest him at his house, they said.

The police are now trying to determine if the 33-year-old man, who suffers from psychiatric problems, was involved in any previous kidnappings.