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Europe

Envy Seen as Motive as German's Murder Trial Begins in Sweden

A German woman stands trial in Stockholm for the deadly beating of two young children. The prosecution alleges that the woman's jealousy over her former partner's new relationship was the motive for the crime.

Photo of a crying child

Children are sometimes the victims of adult jealousies

The mother of two young children who were beaten to death in March took the stand Thursday, July 31, and said she recognized the German woman being tried as the attacker.

The mother told the district court in Koping, west of Stockholm, that the woman was the same person who had stood outside her door, saying she recognized her "face, dark features, dark hair" as well as her voice.

The trial opened Wednesday and prosecutor Frieda Gummesson said the attack was a crime of jealousy. The prosecutor said the woman had planned the act and used a hammer or similar tool to repeatedly hit the children, aged 1 and 3, and their mother, who survived the attack with injuries.

Jealousy the likely motive

The motive for the March 17 attack in the small town of Arboga appeared to be that the German woman refused to accept her former partner had begun a new relationship with the mother of the children, the prosecutor said as she outlined the case and evidence.

The 32-year-old student, who denies the charges, was represented by Swedish lawyer, Per-Ingvar Ekblad and was also accompanied in the court room by her German lawyer Tanja Brettschneider.

The suspect on Thursday closely listened to the testimony.

In addition to the children's mother, 23, the prosecutor was slated to question her new partner and the father of the two children.

DNA evidence lacking

The German suspect, not identified by name in a DPA news agency report, was extradited to Sweden at the end of April and has since been held in Vasteras, 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Stockholm.

The prosecution has not been able to present DNA evidence linking the woman to the scene, and will summon 56 witnesses to back up their case. Legal experts said a key issue is linked to what memories the mother has of the attack and how her testimony is assessed.

The mother still suffers from impaired vision and hearing. Police have not found the instrument used in the attack but the accused earlier rented a room in a Stockholm suburb and her landlady had, in January, discovered that a hammer was missing, Gummesson said in her opening statement.

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