Former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme
Former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme

34-year-old murder mystery of Swedish PM Olof Palme put to rest

ANI | Updated: Jun 10, 2020 22:39 IST

Stockholm [Sweden], June 10 (ANI): Sweden on Wednesday laid to rest the 34-year-old mystery of who killed the former Prime Minister Olof Palme on the night of February 28, 1986.
"As the person is deceased, I cannot bring charges against him and have decided to discontinue the investigation. In my opinion, Stig Engstrom is the prime suspect. My assessment is that, after over 34 years, it is difficult to believe that any further investigation would provide us with any new details. Therefore, I believe we have come as far as one could expect," said Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson during a digital press conference along with the Swedish Police Authority.
He said that the current Palme investigation could not do an investigation as the department was to a large extent "at the mercy of the police investigative work that was performed closer to the time of the crime".
"This concerns among other things, the descriptions provided of Stig Engstrom which correspond well with several witness statements. His own statement concerning his actions during the period of time the crime was committed does not reconcile with statements provided by others. The evidence strongly suggests he was at the crime scene, but in a completely different role than the one he wished to present," said Petersson.
"All in all, there are a number of circumstances that point to Engstrom. Had the current Palme investigation group been in charge 34 years ago, Stig Engstrom would have been remanded in custody had he been unable to provide satisfactory explanations for his movements and actions. My assessment is that there would have been sufficient evidence to have him detained in custody," he said.
"At one time, we had a reasonable chance of securing the murder weapon as well as other evidence and to investigate whether he had acted as part of a wider conspiracy. Now, this is not possible," he said while concluding the press conference.
The mystery over the murder of Palme had gripped the nation for three decades. During this period it gave rise to numerous speculations over the assassin and their motive and produced innumerable conspiracy theories.
Palme was shot dead while he was on a late-night stroll after watching a cinema in central Stockholm with his wife, Lisbet.
Speaking about the case, CNN quoted Hans Melander, head of the investigation, as saying, "90,000 people are included in the preliminary investigation, of which 40,000 are named. More than 10,000 people have been interviewed, many of them several times. More than 4,000 vehicles were investigated. 134 people have confessed to committing the murder, including 29 directly to the police."
Analysis of the two bullets found at the scene -- one of which killed the Prime Minister, while the other injured his wife -- was carried out by laboratories in Sweden and Germany as well as by the FBI in the United States, he said.
"Only a few traces were left on the .357 Magnum caliber metal-piercing bullets and it would be impossible now, given the passage of time, to match them to a specific weapon," he added.
It is by far Sweden's largest criminal investigation, Melander further said. (ANI)