1986 murder of Swedish prime minister ‘closer to being solved’

Rory Sullivan

The murder of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme is closer to being solved after more than three decades, the chief prosecutor in the case has said.

Palme was shot dead at close range in Stockholm on the evening of 28 February 1986, after leaving the cinema with his wife Lisbeth.

He was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1969 until his death, and twice served as the country’s prime minister.

Krister Petersson, the chief prosecutor in the murder case, said he was “positive about being able to present what happened and who is responsible for it”.

Mr Petersson told Swedish broadcaster SVT that he hoped to present a charge in the first half of this year.

“I am optimistic. We have worked hard, and we have leads in which we believe a lot,” Mr Petersson added.

Palme’s wife Lisbeth, who was injured in the shooting, identified the gunman as Christer Pettersson – a man whose name is remarkably similar to that of the chief prosecutor on the case.

Pettersson was later convicted of the murder, before the sentence was overturned and he was released in 1989. He died in 2004.

The crime shocked Sweden, a nation considered so safe that Palme sometimes walked around without bodyguards – as he did on the evening of his death.

Immediately after his death, thousands of Swedes placed red roses, a symbol of Palme’s party, at the scene of the crime.

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