June 30, 1976 |
|Conviction(s)||Double murder, attempted murder|
Christine Schürrer (born June 30, 1976, in Hanover) is a German citizen who is convicted of murdering two Swedish children and seriously injuring their mother with 15 blows to the head with a hammer after attacking them in their home in Arboga, Sweden, on March 17, 2008. The motive for the murders has been identified as jealousy, since Schürrer had dated the children's stepfather while he was on holiday on the Greek island of Crete in 2006 where she was working at a local hostel.
Schürrer's case became the most noted and most followed criminal case in Sweden in 2008, along with the crimes of Anders Eklund.
Schürrer was born in Hanover, Germany. When she was 11 years old, her father left the family for good; Christine and her father had very little contact afterwards. Christine went to New York as an exchange student and lived with relatives in Manhattan. During her stay in the United States she also studied in Oklahoma. After she moved back to Germany she settled in Göttingen where she studied history for the next six years before traveling to Athens, Greece. In Athens Schürrer got a job at a hostel and also worked as a historian during that time. After one year she once again moved back to her hometown in Germany to work but she was soon back in Greece again, this time on the island of Crete, where she met and had a romantic relationship with a Swedish man, the stepfather of her future victims.
Murders and arrest
Christine had arrived in Sweden during the summer of 2007 where she settled in Södermalm, in central Stockholm. She later found a new apartment in Skarpnäck, a suburb of Stockholm. During this time Christine tried for a third time to commit suicide. She was admitted to Södersjukhuset hospital and was later released with only minor cuts on her arms. She had earlier tried to commit suicide as a result of feeling betrayed by the Swedish man leaving her after a two week romance in Greece. Police believe that Christine arrived in Arboga by train on the afternoon of March 17. She went to the victim's house and knocked on the door. When the mother, 23-year old Emma Jangestig, answered the door, Schürrer snuck inside and struck her over the head 15 times with a hammer. She then attacked the woman's two children, 3-year old Max and 1-year old Saga, causing fatal trauma to their heads. Schürrer had visited Arboga two times before on March 12 and March 14, possibly to get more information on where to locate the mother who she would attack days later. The mother's ex-boyfriend, the father of the two children, was arrested, but he was released the day after as it was established he was not the killer. Schürrer was arrested in Germany on March 22, 2008, but was released again the same day. On March 24, German police sent DNA samples from the suspect to Swedish police for testing. The mother had begun to wake up from her coma in a hospital around that time, and she could identify Christine as the attacker. Swedish investigators also examined a surveillance camera from the railway station in Arboga and a witness identified Christine, which proved that she had been in Arboga on that day during the time of the murder. She left Sweden and headed home to Germany on March 18 where she was arrested by German police on March 30, the day after an arrest warrant had been signed. She was later transferred to Sweden for the trial.
Trial and sentence
On August 26, 2008 Schürrer was found guilty of the murders and assault on the mother. Schürrer underwent a psychological evaluation to see if she was fit to be sentenced to prison or receive psychiatric treatment. She refused to cooperate in the tests so it was not possible to make a correct assessment on her psychological health. On October 14, 2008 she was sentenced to life in prison as the evaluation showed that she suffered from no mental illness (as defined in Swedish law). If - or when (life sentences are typically commuted after 10–15 years in Sweden) Schürrer is released from prison she will also be forced to leave Sweden and barred from entering the country for life. Schürrer's defense attorney said that he would take the case to the court of appeals. The case received extensive coverage from both the Swedish and other world media.
In September 2008, the Swedish media reported that the public preliminary investigation protocols concerning Schürrer's murder trial had been made available through a torrent on The Pirate Bay, a Swedish website providing magnet links. In Sweden, preliminary investigations become publicly available the moment a lawsuit is filed and can be ordered from the court by any individual. The document included pictures from the autopsy of the two murdered children, which caused their father Nicklas Jangestig to urge the website to have the pictures removed. The Pirate Bay refused to remove the torrent. The number of downloads increased to about 50,000 a few days later. On 11 September 2008, the website's press contact Peter Sunde participated in the debate program Debatt on the public broadcaster SVT. Sunde had agreed to participate on the condition that the father Nicklas Jangestig would not take part in the debate. Jangestig ultimately did participate in the program by telephone, which made Sunde feel betrayed by SVT. This caused The Pirate Bay to suspend all of its press contacts the following day.
“I don’t think it’s our job to judge if something is ethical or unethical or what other people want to put out on the internet,” said The Pirate Bay’s spokesperson Peter Sunde to TV4.
Schürrer appealed to the Svea Court of Appeal for a new trial. Schürrer's sentence was finalised on February 16 when her appeal was rejected. Schürrer was transferred to a women's prison in Vechta, Germany in March, 2012 to serve out the remaining time of her sentence. Schürrer is the seventh woman in Swedish history to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
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