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Engla Should Still Be Alive

Published torsdag 4 februari 2010 kl 19.57
The face of a killer

Police detectives in the picturesque region of Dalarna have been severely criticised by an internal investigation which concluded that a ten year old girl murdered by Anders Eklund in 2008 would still be alive today if they hadn't ignored a number of tip-offs in a murder investigation eight years before.

31-year-old Pernilla Hellgren was murdered by Eklund in Falun in June 2000. But despite a number of tip-offs about Eklund's involvement, he wasn't captured until eight years later and then only after a picture placed him near the scene of the murder of ten year old Engla Höglund who'd been cycling home after football practice. DNA evidence forced Eklund to confess to both killings and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

On Thursday, a report presented by the National Swedish Police Board cited unpreparedness, insufficient resources, and lack of experience as the main reasons behind the failure. The commission also pointed out that their police work was lacking in continuity, and that the police neglected the search for a culprit who did not know the victim.

The report described how Eklund's name appeared at least twice in connection with Hellgren's death - once in a list of potential culprits, and once after a tip came in. Neither incident was followed up on.

The National Swedish Police Board also wrote that the inadequacies in the Falun investigation were "by no means" isolated to that police force or that case. Similar observations have been made about other police agencies, especially smaller, regional ones.

The Board has in response set forth a number of recommendations designed to increase preparedness and effectiveness, including a national education course for violent crimes investigators and better computer databases.

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