Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Accused of Necrophilia, ‘Skeleton Lady’ Wants Bones Back

One of the photos found on CD in "Skeleton Lady's" apartment.

One of the photos found on CD in "Skeleton Lady's" apartment.

A 37-year-old woman on trial in a Swedish court for necrophilia and other related charges after police found over 100 human skeletal remains in her apartment has petitioned the court for the return of her macabre collection, claiming that she has done nothing wrong.

Known in the Swedish media as the “Skeleton Lady,” whose identity remains undisclosed, the court released the woman on her own recognizance following her arrest in September and subsequent trial. The court is expected to reach a verdict in December.

Besides admitting to illegally owning a handgun, her attorney has argued that prosecutors lack evidence proving that she had sex with human remains, which is a crime in Sweden, the Göteborgs-Posten reported.

Police found the first of many skeletal remains in her apartment when they responded to a complaint that gunshots were fired from her flat. A subsequent search revealed six skulls, at least one full-body skeleton, and an assortment of other bones. Some of the bones, including skulls, were stored in her freezer.

The search also revealed a hidden cache in which body bags, a drill, and various tools including a hammer and crowbar were hidden.

Other items found in her apartment included a large knife collection, documents stored on CD with such titles as “My Necrophilia and “My First Experience,”  about having sex with bones; and photos of her licking a skull. In forum posts, she allegedly wrote about “finding happiness” with a man regardless of whether he is “dead or alive” and sought to sell her bone collection. She also had access to a morgue, though it is unclear if she ever used it. One witness, a nurse, claimed that the defendant had inquired about gaining entry to a morgue in the retirement home where the nurse worked.

Besides admitting to illegally possessing a firearm and harboring human bones in her apartment, the so-called “Skeleton Woman” claims that she is not the author of the documents found on CD about necrophilia. The woman claimed that she cut and pasted the content from forum posts. The defense also argued that she cannot be prosecuted for having used dead body parts for sexual gratification since the statute of limitations has passed since the acts were allegedly committed.  The photos and documents were created over five years ago, which, the defense argued makes them inadmissible as evidence in court.

Even if the evidence were not barred for use because of the statute of limitations, the photos of the woman in lewd poses with human skulls, forum posts, and other evidence is  inconclusive, the defense argued. She collected and kept the bones for “historical interest” and did not use any of the remains as sex toys or for other sexual purposes, the defense said.

The woman claims that she collected skeleton parts and knives as part of a study of bones, sexology and history, and that she planned to write a book about it.  She also claimed to be interested in forensic science.

“I am interested necrophilia but am not sexually drawn to it,” she said in court, according to Göteborgs-Posten. “I want to write a book about it.”

A professor of forensic medicine at the Karolinska Institute testified that the bones found in her apartment were about 59- to 62-years-old. While the bones are possibly of Scandinavian origin, they could also have originated from Russia or other Northern European countries, he said.

While the woman faces two years in prison for having sex with dead body parts, she will likely be sentenced to one year of probation, which will include psychological counseling, meetings with occupational therapists, and routine drug tests, the Göteborgs-Posten reported.

Swedish Woman Arrested for Necrophilia

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