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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 15:02 GMT
Lindh killer gets life for murder
Mijailo Mijailovic
Mijailovic's lawyer had sought a manslaughter verdict
The man who admitted knifing Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh in a Stockholm department store has been jailed for life for murder.

Mijailo Mijailovic, 25, had denied murder, insisting he carried out the attack because of "voices in his head".

But psychiatric tests declared he was sane when he carried out the attack last September.

A court in Stockholm ruled on Tuesday that he was guilty of murder, not manslaughter.

He held the knife with both hands... the location and the size of the stab wounds indicates that the intention was to kill
Court statement
The court said that Mijailovic knew what he was doing when he stabbed Ms Lindh repeatedly, noting the severity and violence of the attack.

"He used a life-threatening weapon. He held the knife with both hands when he delivered the blows... the force was powerful," the court said in a statement.

"The location and the size of the stab wounds indicates that the intention was to kill.

"It is beyond reasonable doubt that Mijailo Mijailovic intended to kill Anna Lindh."

He will serve at least 10 years before his sentence can be reviewed.

A law professor in Stockholm predicted that Mijailovic would remain in prison "a long time".

"In practice there are no rules. Since no explanations are required for pardons or rejected pardons, every case gets a different treatment," Josef Zila told the French news agency AFP.

Partial confession

Mijailovic, born in Sweden to Serbian parents, had confessed to repeatedly stabbing the popular minister while she was out shopping, but insisted he did not intend to kill her.

His lawyers had sought a manslaughter verdict and psychiatric care for him.

Anna Lindh
Anna Lindh was repeatedly stabbed in the arms and body
His defence lawyer attempted to challenge the psychiatrists' findings that he was sane, but the court rejected a review of the tests.

The defence has three weeks if it wants to file an appeal.

Mijailovic's lawyer Peter Althin said he would have to consult his client before deciding whether to do so.

Ms Lindh died of her injuries in hospital on 11 September, a day after the stabbing.

Initial reports of the attack suggested she was not badly hurt, but doctors found severe internal injuries and could not save her despite an all-night battle.

The murder shocked Sweden. She had been tipped as a possible future prime minister, and her death came as she helped campaign for a "yes" vote in Sweden's euro membership referendum.

The measure was defeated by a slim margin.

The case also reawakened memories of the killing of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986, a murder which was never solved.

Still haunted by that killing, Swedes are relieved that Anna Lindh's murderer was caught, and that he has now been sentenced, the BBC's Lars Bevanger in Stockholm says.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Zoe Murphy
"Psychiatrists said Mijailovic did not suffer from any serious mental illness"



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