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CRIME

German woman charged for murder of Swedish toddlers

A 32-year-old German woman suspected of murdering two Swedish toddlers and the attempted murder of their mother has been charged at Sweden's Västmanland district court, Swedish news agency TT reported on Wednesday.

German woman charged for murder of Swedish toddlers
A memorial at the home of the murdered toddlers. Photo: DPA

The Hannover woman, identified as Christine S. by German daily Hannoversche Allgemeine was charged with the murder of three-year-old Max and his two-year-old sister Saga, as well as the attempted murder of their mother, Emma Jangestig, in Arboga, Sweden on March 17.

The criminal filings submitted to Västmanland district court explained how the woman “repeatedly beat the children and their mother on their heads and bodies with a hammer or hammer-like instrument.”

The children and their 23-year-old mother were found bloody and beaten in the family home in Arboga on March 17, about 100 kilometres west of Stockholm. The children later died in the hospital, but the mother eventually recovered from her injuries.

The charges confirmed reports that there is no DNA evidence which links Christine S. to the the house in Arboga.

“But the body of evidence which exists means that there are a raft of circumstances that are particularly compromising,” said prosecutor Frieda Gummesson in a press conference on Wednesday morning.

The children’s father was arrested for the double murder a couple of hours after the discovery of their bodies. He was released two days later and police suspicions soon turned to Christine S., who is a former girlfriend of Jangestig’s current partner, Torgny H.

Christine S. was confirmed to have been in Arboga that night. She left Sweden shortly after via Nyköping Skavsta Airport and was later arrested in Hannover, Germany.

The charges detail that the 32-year-old suspect admits to being in Arboga on the night of the murders but she claims that she was there to look for a rune stone. She has however been unable to confirm the route she took. Details have also emerged that indicate that she was so keen to make the journey to Arboga that she had borrowed money from a friend.

Several witnesses have confirmed that they saw a woman fitting Christine S.’s description in the area of the young family’s home in the days prior to the crime as well as immediately before the murders were committed.

The prosecutor, Frieda Gummesson, does not believe that the suspect’s explanations are realistic and contends that the murder was planned, TT reported.

Christine S. and Torgny H. met on vacation in Greece in June 2006, according to the Hannoversche Allgemeine. Their long-distance relationship failed in January 2007, and friends have said that Christine S. suffered greatly from the break up, trying numerous times to win Torngy H. back – and even feigning pregnancy. She moved to Sweden in March 2007 and enrolled at a Stockholm university, all the while trying to contact her former sweetheart. The murders happened just a few weeks later.

Christine S. has kept a diary detailing her feelings about the journey to Sweden and for her former boyfriend. The diaries confirm that the break up from her former boyfriend had left her feeling emotionally unstable. German news agency DPA also reported on Wednesday that investigators had found suspicious emails and notes on her computer.

Swedish daily Expressen revealed quotes from her diary earlier this week. “I hate what he did to me. Took from me. It is difficult to describe. I have never felt this way before, but he has broken something inside me. I feel like he has chewed me up and spat me out,” she wrote. “It feels so terrible and I don’t want to feel this way for the rest of my life. I love you. I miss you. I dream about you but even then you don’t talk to me. That makes me so unhappy. But how can I change it? I have no idea…You can carry on playing with your little family. I do what is best for me.”

Christine S. denies all charges and her lawyer Tanja Brettschneider has criticized the publication of her diary entries. “They contain notes that should never be made accessible to a third party,” she told the paper on Monday, adding that the entries should be regarded as a typical feelings after a break up, which means they should not be used to incriminate her client.

CRIME

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

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