German woman takes stand in the case of the slain Swedish toddlers

6th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

She says it is ‘terrible’ to be accused of the crime.

Stockholm -- A German woman charged with beating to death two toddlers in Sweden in March and injuring their mother said it was "terrible" to be accused of the crime when she took the stand in the Koping district court west of Stockholm on Tuesday.

At times she declined to answer questions concerning her personal notes or emails she sent to her former boyfriend, the partner of the mother of the slain children, aged one and three.

She wrote that he had fathered a child she had given up for adoption, but declined to answer where she gave birth to the child.

The woman described her movements on March 17, the day of the attack in the small town of Arboga in central Sweden, and said she had visited an archaeological site near the town.

Other questions - put in German and translated into Swedish - touched on an alleged suicide attempt where the accused had sought the help of her former boyfriend and on her relationship with him.

The woman, a 32-year-old student who has studied archaeology and Nordic languages, said she "did not remember" when the prosecutor asked why she seemed to smile or laugh when for instance the mother of the slain toddlers was questioned.

The woman, who was extradited to Sweden at the end of April, denies the charges against her in the trial that opened last Wednesday.

The prosecution has said her motive for the attack was jealousy. The woman had refused to accept that her former partner had begun a new relationship with the mother of the children, Prosecutor Frieda Gummesson has told the court.

The court earlier also heard testimony from the children's parents and their mother's current partner, who described his brief relationship with the German woman after they met in Crete in 2007. He said he broke off the relationship in early 2007.

The 23-year-old mother has testified that the accused is the same person who stood outside her door in March, saying she recognized her "face, dark features, dark hair" as well as her "voice."

But prosecutors have not been able to present DNA evidence linking the woman to the scene and will summon 56 witnesses to back their case.

Legal experts says a key issue is how the court assesses the mother's account and how her memory may have been affected by the attack.

The mother still suffers from impaired vision and hearing.

The prosecutor said the accused had planned the act and used a hammer or similar tool to repeatedly hit the children and their mother.

Police have not found the murder weapon. Gummesson, in her opening statement, told the court that the woman’s former landlady in a Stockholm suburb had discovered that a hammer was missing.


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