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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 10:15 GMT
Lindh killer on trial in Sweden
Mijailo Mijailovic
Mijailovic confessed to police last week
The self-confessed killer of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh has pleaded not guilty to murder at the start of his trial in Stockholm.

Mijailo Mijailovic's lawyer said his client admitted stabbing Lindh, but he did not intend to kill her.

Mr Mijailovic has said that an inner voice told him to attack the popular politician, but the prosecution argue it was premeditated murder.

Lindh's death last September prompted a public outpouring of grief in Sweden.

Confession

"He admits that he attacked Lindh with a knife and that he caused her death but he denies intending to kill her," defence lawyer Peter Althin told the packed Stockholm courtroom as he sought to have the charges reduced from murder to manslaughter.

Mr Mijailovic, 25, wearing a dark jumper and dark trousers, sat beside him, facing the panel of judges.

Anna Lindh
Anna Lindh: A top politician in her prime
Chief prosecutor Agneta Blidberg told the court that she would prove Mr Mijailovic had every intention of killing Anna Lindh.

The foreign minister, one of Sweden's most popular politicians, was stabbed as she was shopping in a Stockholm department store on 10 September last year. She died in hospital the following day.

The trial was delayed by several minutes due to tight security checks at the court. People had queued overnight to try to get one of just nine seats open to the public.

Dozens of journalists filed through metal detectors to get into court to cover the proceedings.

The trial is also being broadcast live on Swedish radio, with millions of people expected to tune in.

Mr Mijailovic, a Swede of Serbian origin, was arrested on 24 September and initially denied the killing.

Lindh, a leading pro-Euro campaigner, was killed just days before a divisive referendum in Sweden on whether to join the single European currency.

But Mr Mijailovic's defence team has insisted there was no political motive.

Assessment

Mr Mijailovic, who had been receiving treatment for schizophrenia prior to the attack, gave a rambling confession to police last week, saying Jesus had told him to stab Lindh.

Reports pass through security at the start of the trial in Stockholm
Reporters go through court security to cover the case
The police case against him includes information from DNA tests on the murder weapon which were carried out by a forensic laboratory in the UK.

Mr Mijailovic is expected to take the stand during the day.

If convicted of murder, he faces a life sentence, which in Sweden is usually around 15 years.

At the end of the trial early next week, Mr Mijailovic is expected to under go four weeks of psychiatric assessment after which a verdict can be passed.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby
"Mr Mijailovic told police he was prompted to attack Mrs Lindh by voices in his head"



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