Swedish doctor on trial for keeping woman in bunker

STOCKHOLM -- A Swedish doctor went on trial on rape and kidnapping charges Monday after admitting to imprisoning a woman in a home-made bunker in what his defence lawyer said was a desperate attempt to find a girlfriend.

See Full Article

Prosecutors said the 38-year-old man had planned the crime for years and may have tried to capture other victims before sedating and abducting the woman during a date in Stockholm.

The victim, who is around 30, didn't suffer serious physical injuries during her weeklong abduction. But she was deeply traumatized by the ordeal and stressed about having to face him in court, said her lawyer, Jens Hogstrom.

"She's having a very hard time right now," Hogstrom told The Associated Press during a break in the proceedings. "She's got post-traumatic stress, flashbacks from what happened. She has nightmares."

The doctor, whose name wasn't published in Sweden in line with privacy rules, has confessed to almost everything in the indictment, but denies having raped the woman while she was unconscious.

In court documents obtained by the AP, he told investigators he abducted the woman on Sept. 12 in her Stockholm apartment during their second date. Pretending to be an American living in London, he gave her strawberries laced with a sedative and then drove 530 kilometres (330 miles) to his isolated countryside home in southern Sweden, giving her drugs intravenously during the journey to keep her unconscious.

The woman was terrified as she woke up in a soundproofed bunker that the doctor had spent years building inside a machine shed next to his house.

"I didn't know what would happen, whether he would torture me, kill me or rape me," she told investigators. "He just told me he would keep me there for a few years and then release me."

At one point she tried to attack him with a pair of screws she found in the bunker, but as she was still dazed from the drugs, he easily subdued her and warned her he would shackle her to the bed and feed her only bread if she tried it again, court documents show.

The defendant kept her in the bunker, except for brief occasions when he led her in handcuffs to his home. But on Sept. 18 he took her to a police station, allegedly to show police that she was fine and staying with him voluntarily. As soon as police took her aside for questioning, she "broke down" and told them everything, a police report shows.

"There is no simple explanation for this," defence lawyer Mari Schaub told reporters Monday. "This is a high-performing person who is unwell psychologically and has been longing for a life partner."

A psychiatric examination found he wasn't suffering from a severe mental illness. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

The victim is demanding 380,000 kronor ($44,000) in damages, which her lawyer said is high by Swedish standards. Damages are typically much higher in other countries, particularly the U.S.

Court documents show the defendant did his military service as a ranger in northern Sweden and studied medicine at Stockholm's prestigious Karolinska institute, which awards the Nobel Prize in medicine.

He worked as a doctor at several clinics in southern Sweden, said Bruno Malmlind, human resources manager of the local public health care administration.

"I'm shocked and surprised," Malmlind told AP. "He was appreciated by both patients and staff. There was no sign of any strange behaviour."

Prosecutor Peter Claesson told reporters that a parallel investigation was ongoing to find out whether the doctor had attempted to capture other women.

"That cannot be ruled out," Claesson said.

Police seized dozens of files from the defendant's computer with information on secret doors, locks and lists of construction material. One file labeled "Contract" listed "discounts" in years that "guests" could get by performing various sexual acts.

In transcripts of the police interrogations, the defendant said that he never intended to harm the woman. Except for the abduction, which he called a "little parenthesis," he said "I have treated her well, in my opinion."

Court officials are set to go to southern Sweden on Tuesday to inspect the defendant's home. Neither the defendant nor the victim is expected to take part.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Israel marks Holocaust remembrance day with sombre ceremony

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM - Israel is marking its annual Holocaust remembrance day in memory of the 6 million Jews systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. It is one of the most melancholy days on Israel's calendar. Source
  • Author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann shot in Kenya

    World News CTV News
    NAIROBI, Kenya -- The Italian-born author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann was shot at her Kenyan ranch and airlifted for treatment after herders invaded in search of pasture to save their animals from drought, officials said Sunday. Source
  • 'Party girl' stereotype played role in cabbie sex-assault case: professor

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The stereotype of the "promiscuous party girl" may have factored into the acquittal of a Halifax cab driver accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his car, a review of the case suggests. Source
  • What's next for the Montreal Canadiens?

    Canada News CBC News
    The Montreal Canadiens face a long summer filled with plenty of questions after last night's disappointing first-round exit. "It's a bitter disappointment," Carey Price said after losing 3-1 in Game 6. "We couldn't catch a break all series. Source
  • Some sex assault complainants turning to human rights tribunal to seek change

    Canada News CTV News
    The challenges of criminally prosecuting sexual assault cases have some complainants turning to human rights tribunals in an effort to bring about systemic change and seek restitution. The latest case involves a complaint by a woman against the University of Toronto that was filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario earlier this month. Source
  • Medical student accused of murder 'fully participating' in defence: lawyer

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The murder trial of a former Halifax medical student resumes Monday, with his lawyer calling him a "model client" who has been unusually involved in his defence. William Sandeson, 24, received special permission to use a computer while on remand at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax so he could review case material, said defence lawyer Eugene Tan. Source
  • 'Thoroughly disappointed': Leafs fan out $800 in apparent playoff ticket scam

    Canada News CTV News
    Playoff tickets across the country have been in high demand, but if you’re looking for a bargain, better beware of possible scammers looking to take advantage. Mike Michea doled hundreds of dollars to attend Game 6 of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Washington Capitals first-round playoff series, behind held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday. Source
  • U.K. reality TV star's ex-boyfriend arrested in nightclub acid attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — British police say they have arrested the ex-boyfriend of a reality TV performer sought in connection to an acid attack at an east London nightclub. Police said Sunday that Arthur Collins had been arrested late Saturday night on suspicion of attempted murder. Source
  • Sessions on Hawaii remark: 'Nobody has a sense of humour'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions says "nobody has a sense of humour anymore." That's his assessment after drawing ire for seeming to dismiss the state of Hawaii as merely "an island in the Pacific. Source
  • Former Calgary man Farah Mohamed Shirdon 1 of 2 Canadians added to U.S. terrorist list

    Canada News CBC News
    The U.S. Department of State has added two Canadians to its most-wanted global terrorist list. Farah Mohamed Shirdon and Tarek Sakr were named as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," according to a release from the State Department. Source