Trial of Swedish sniper resumes

2012-05-15 16:27

Stockholm - The trial of a man charged with a series of sniper attacks in the southern Swedish city of Malmo resumed on Tuesday with details of a 2009 shooting which killed a woman and left a man seriously injured.

The 2009 murder of 20-year-old Trez West Persson is one the three counts of murder defendant Peter Mangs is charged with.

Prosecutor Solveig Wollstad told the court how Persson and the young man, who was on temporary leave from prison, had met up and were sitting in a car when the defendant "by accident" passed them.

Persson was hit by three bullets, including one to the head that was fatal, Wollstad said, while the young man was hit in the arm, chest and head. He was due to testify later on Tuesday.

At the opening of the trial on Monday, Mangs denied 18 of the 20 counts against him, which include three counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder during 2003 to 2010.

"There is no (trace of) DNA and no fingerprints that link Mangs to any of the crimes," his attorney Douglas Norking told the court on the opening day.

Almost all victims immigrants

The prosecution had showed the Malmo District Court a special vest that Mangs allegedly used, containing a knife, gun silencer and ammunition.

Wollstad has earlier said investigators had "not been able to establish a singular motive" for the shootings, "but there was a certain extent of xenophobia" and also "hostility against people who had criminal records."

Almost all the victims were immigrants, with the exception of Persson, but Mangs' lawyers said he was "not a racist".

The charges of attempted murder included shots fired through windows of apartments, shops and a mosque. Mangs was also charged with attempting to pervert the cause of justice.

The 40-year-old was arrested in November 2010.

The trial was held amid tight security. Visitors had to pass through metal detectors and some streets near the building were cordoned off, local media reported.

The trial was set to run until mid-July.