Life in prison for Swedish sniper who targeted immigrants

Peter Mangs was found guilty of murder and attempted murder
Peter Mangs was found guilty of murder and attempted murder
Share this article
Have your say

A SWEDISH court has sentenced a serial sniper who preyed on immigrants with a high-powered pistol in the city of Malmo to life imprisonment for murder and attempted murder.

Peter Mangs was impassive in the dock yesterday as he was sentenced for three murders, five attempted murders and three cases of aggravated illegal threats. He was also ordered to pay £94,000 in compensation to surviving victims.

Malmo district court had earlier judged Mangs to be sane. He was arrested two years ago after Sweden was rocked by the sniper attacks on people of immigrant background. Two men, aged 23 and 66, were shot dead in 2003 and a further 12 were sniped at over the following years.

He used a high-powered Glock pistol, and many of his victims were seriously injured.

Mangs, 40, pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in Sweden’s most ethnically diverse city. There was tight security throughout the proceedings, which went on for nearly seven months, and the defendant sat behind bulletproof glass as the details of his crimes were laid out.

Chief prosecutor Solveig Wollstad told the court detectives had found a gun equipped with a silencer hidden under pillows in Mangs’ flat. He said that Mangs changed the barrel of the gun between shootings, thus giving a different “signature” to each bullet fired, confusing police into thinking they were dealing with more than one shooter.

His trial bore echoes of the Anders Breivik case in Norway, where an ultra-right gunman killed nearly 80 people in Norway last year in an act he said was designed as a “wake-up call” to his country over immigration and multi-culturalism.

The first two killings in the Mangs case occurred in the summer of 2003, when two men were shot on the same street – one in his flat, the other as he was leaving for work – within seven weeks.

Six years passed before the next killing in October 2009. The victim in that case, Trez West Persson, 20, was sitting in the front of a parked car with a young man, Xhafer Dani, when prosecutors say Mangs fired several shots at them, killing Ms West Persson and seriously wounding Mr Dani.

There were seven more shootings between New Year’s Eve 2009, when an Islamic centre was fired on, and August 2010, when the owner of a fast-food kiosk was shot at.

Three more shootings were reported in October 2010. All together, there were four shootings in 2009 and eight in 2010.

An anonymous tip-off about the “immigrant hating” Mangs led police to mount a telephone tapping operation at his flat. When his home was stormed on 6 November, 2010, police found the gun, along with a silencer, ammunition, mask, a large knife and a combat vest.