Decision in the investigation into the murder of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme
Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson today, Wednesday 10 June, decided to discontinue the investigation into the murder of the former prime minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, which dates back to 28 February 1986 on the grounds that the "suspect is deceased”.
Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson announced his decision during a digital press conference together with the Swedish Police Authority on Wednesday morning. According to Petersson, the killing is believed to have been performed by the lone perpetrator, Stig Engström.
“As the person is deceased, I cannot bring charges against him and have decided to discontinue the investigation. In my opinion, Stig Engström is the prime suspect. My assessment is that, after oveer 34 years, it is difficult to believe that any further investigation would provide us with any new details and therefore I believe we have come as far as one could expect”, says Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson.
In the investigation, testimonies, statements and witness interviews were all analysed. To a large extent, we have been at the mercy of the police investigative work that was performed closer to the time of the crime. The current Palme investigation has not been able to repeat such investigative work.
“This concerns, among other things, the descriptions provided of Stig Engström which correspond well with several witness statements. His own statement concerning his actions during the period of time the crime was committed does not reconcile with statements provided by others. The evidence strongly suggests he was at the crime scene, but in a completely different role than the one he wished to present. All in all, there are a number of circumstances that point to Engström. Had the current Palme investigation group been in charge 34 years ago, Stig Engström would have been remanded in custody had he been unable to provide satisfactory explanations for his movements and actions. My assessment is that there would have been sufficient evidence to have him detained in custody”, says Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson.
“At one time we had a reasonable chance of securing the murder weapon as well as other evidence, and to investigate whether he had acted as part of a wider conspiracy. Now this is not possible”, Krister Petersson concludes.
Head of Investigation Hans Melander, who also attended the press conference, says that the Palme investigation is one of the world's largest investigations.
“It is by far Sweden's largest criminal investigation and is sometimes compared with the murder of JFK and Lockerbie bombing. It has been ongoing since 1986 and contains 22,430 different points of interest. 90,000 people are included in the preliminary investigation of which 40,000 are named. More than 10,000 people have been interviewed, many of them several times. More than 4,000 vehicles were investigated. And 134 people have confessed to committing the murder, including 29 directly to the police”, says Head of Investigation Hans Melander.
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