German woman sentenced to life for killing toddlers

15th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

The court agreed with the prosecution that the woman acted out of jealousy in her attempt to harm her ex-boyfriend and his new partner.

Stockholm -- A German woman was sentenced to life Tuesday for the beating deaths two toddlers in Sweden in March and attempted murder of their mother.

In addition to the life sentence, the district court in Vasteras 100 kilometers west of Stockholm also ruled that Christine Schuerrer should be permanently deported from Sweden.

The court ordered her to pay damages of almost 600,000 kronor (84,000 dollars), mainly to the mother of the children.

In its 36-page ruling, the court concluded that the victims -- a three-year-old boy, a one-year-old girl and their mother -- had been "subjected to repeated beatings to the head."

Forensic investigations suggested the attacks were likely made "with an ordinary hammer or a tool like a hammer," the court said.

The court said it did not take into account testimony from the 23-year-old mother, who sustained severe injuries, because it believed her to not accurately remember details of the attack.

The defense had questioned the ability of the mother to remember events, citing testimony from expert witnesses.

The court concluded that Schurrer had been in Arboga in central Sweden on March 17, the day of the attack.

The court also agreed with the motive of jealousy presented by the prosecution as fueling her desire to harm her ex-boyfriend and his new partner.

The 32-year-old student has denied she attacked the children and their mother but the court said there was a sufficient circumstantial evidence to convict her.

The accused was extradited to Sweden at the end of April and the lengthy trial opened in July with more than 50 witnesses summoned. The prosecution relied on witnesses in the case due to a lack of forensic evidence, a murder weapon and DNA linking the accused to the crime scene.

The mother's lawyer, Marie Fredborg, told reporters the ruling had been "expected."

Schuerrer and her Swedish lawyer had said prior to the ruling that they plan to appeal. An appeal must be filed by Nov. 4.


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