Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

S&M Session Turns Deadly in Swedish ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Murder

Map of Sweden with Umea marker.

The case has been compared to Fifty Shades of Grey, but unlike in the bestselling book, the sex slave dies.

The case involves an unnamed 32-year-old Swedish defendant and his victim, a German exchange student who died from suffocation after the defendant had struck her 123 times with a presentation pointer and subjected her to other abuse. An undisclosed object placed in the 28-year-old student’s mouth blocked her breathing, which the coroner determined was the principle cause of her death. The defendant is on trial for aggravated assault and manslaughter. The trial is expected to continue through next month, the Swedish newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren reported.

According to trial testimony, the couple met in Sweden when the German victim came to the country as a student. After returning to Germany, the defendant and victim remained in contact by email and Skype. The defendant also visited the young woman at least two times in Germany.

The defendant claimed that their relationship was mainly platonic, but that the victim had romantic intentions that he did not share.
“We spent time together as friends, but I think she wanted more out of the relationship,” the defendant told the court.

He claimed the woman drove to Umea, Sweden in September from Germany to visit him as a girlfriend and not just as a friend. The man also claimed that the sex games they played were completely consensual and that he was the master of a willing sex slave. However, investigators later uncovered a diary entry the woman had written that was entered into evidence, indicating that she may not have been a willing S&M partner like the defendant claimed.

“You said once that you did not want me to suffer,” she wrote, referring to the defendant. “I may be submissive, but I’m not a masochist.”

In October, the man made a frantic call to the Swedish equivalent of 911 to report that the woman was not breathing and believed her to be dead. The man was instructed over the phone how to perform CPR and attempted to resuscitate her until help arrived. When the paramedics came, they found the victim lying on the floor and bound with stockings and condoms. Her face had turned blue, which was consistent with how the man had described her condition over the phone. The paramedics were able to resuscitate her eventually and she was admitted to the intensive care unit at a local Umea hospital. However, doctors took her off life support when it was determined that she had suffered irreparable brain damage after being deprived of oxygen for too long. She died three days later.

The man was arrested after the victim was taken to the hospital and blood tests indicated that he had been drinking heavily during the incident. The coroner’s report also revealed scathing details about the abuse the victim suffered shortly before her death at the hands of the man prosecutors believed she thought was her lover. Besides the 123 blows the victim suffered by being beaten with a presentation pointer, she was also struck in the head with a blunt object. She had ingested a cocaine substitute the defendant had purchased over the Internet. However, the autopsy revealed that the physical trauma the woman suffered was not life threatening and that the victim’s blocked airways was ultimately the cause of her death.  She was suffocated with an object that prosecutors believe the defendant stuffed in her mouth.

Prosecutors said that the defendant had plied the woman with the cocaine substitute, before engaging in the S&M session with the victim. Prosecutors also said the woman was in love with the defendant, who only considered her as an S&M sex partner, according to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

“My opinion is that the defendant is responsible for the victim’s death,” Åsa Jonsson, the prosecutor, told the court.

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