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Swede convicted of double murder after DNA match 16 years later

A Swedish court convicted a 37-year-old man on Thursday over a 2004 double murder that went unsolved until police matched his DNA on a popular genealogy website.

Swede convicted of double murder after DNA match 16 years later
Daniel Nyqvist who has been convicted of double murder in Linköping 2004. Photo: Polisen/TT

Daniel Nyqvist confessed killing an eight-year-old boy and a 56-year old woman shortly after his arrest in June.

Nyqvist, who was found to have “committed the acts under the influence of a severe psychological disorder” was sentenced to psychiatric care.

The two victims, unrelated to each other, were stabbed one morning in the quiet town of Linköping.

Investigators struggled to come up with either a suspect or a motive, despite finding the suspect's DNA at the scene, the murder weapon, a bloody cap and witness descriptions of a young man with blond hair.

Police even called upon the FBI for help, but to no avail. Over the years, the case file grew to become the second biggest in Sweden's history, after that of the 1986 murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme.

The case was finally cracked when new legislation in January 2019 allowed police to search for DNA matches of not only the perpetrator but also family members.

After exhausting the police's own DNA database they started looking on commercial genealogy websites, which are popular among Swedes seeking long-lost relatives.

“We received a match almost immediately. And several months later, the suspect was arrested. His DNA was taken and matched 100 percent,” police said in a statement the day after his arrest.

Aged 21 at the time of the murders, Nyqvist has spoken about having obsessive thoughts about killing and said that he chose his victims randomly.

The young boy was selected as Nyqvist saw him as an easy target and after stabbing the child he went after the woman, who had been passing and had witnessed the attack.

An unemployed loner who liked to play computer games, Nyqvist seldom ventured out of his parents' house, where he was living at the time of the murders.

According to investigators, he continued to live a secluded life near Linköping since the killings.

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CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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