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Swedish Police Close Former Prime Minister’s Murder Case

Swedish prosecutors have named the man who they say killed former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in 1986, ending years of mystery.

They said it was Stig Engstrom, a graphic designer known as “Skandia Man” who killed himself in 2000. As a result they were closing the investigation into Palme’s death, Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson said.

Palme was shot in the back as he walked home from the cinema with his wife in Stockholm. He had already dismissed his security team for the day. The assassination took place on Sweden’s busiest road and more than a dozen witnesses saw a man fire the shots before fleeing the scene.

Palme’s son Marten told Swedish radio that he believed prosecutors had reached the right conclusion and were right to close the case.

Thousands of people have been interviewed over Palme’s death. A petty criminal was convicted of the killing but the verdict was later dismissed.

“The person is Stig Engstrom,” Mr Petersson told a news conference. “Because the person is dead, I cannot bring charges against him and have decided to close the investigation.”

The murder weapon has not been found and no new forensic evidence has been uncovered, but prosecutors examining Engstrom’s statements to police concluded that his version of events did not add up. “How he acted was how we believe the murderer would have acted,” Mr Petersson added.

Stig Engstrom had not initially been a focus for the investigation, the prosecutor said, but when investigators looked into his background they found he was accustomed to using weapons, having been in the army, and was a member of a shooting club. In his local area he was also part of a circle of critics of Palme’s policies and relatives said he had a negative view of the prime minister.

Engstrom also had long running financial problems and a growing problem with alcohol.

However investigators still did not have a “clear picture” of Engstrom’s motive for killing Palme, Mr Petersson said.