Swedish police arrest mother who ‘locked up son for decades’

A 70-year-old woman has been arrested in Sweden’s capital on suspicion of holding her son captive at home for up to three decades, police and a prosecutor say.

The man in his 40s was found in the apartment by a relative on Sunday in a wounded state, Stockholm prosecutor Emma Olsson told Reuters on Tuesday.

It is thought the man might have been held for nearly 30 years.

Various Swedish media, citing a relative who found him, said the man was discovered lying on a blanket on the floor, toothless, unable to speak and covered in sores and injuries.

“He’s now in hospital … I know that he needed surgery,” said Ms Olsson, who gave no more details of his condition.

Expressen newspaper and others said the son was taken out of school aged about 12.

He was found next to two almanacs from 1995 and 1996 on the wall in an apartment packed with clutter, the relative was also quoted as saying.

Expressen said the man was found after the relative went to the flat when she learned the mother had been admitted to a hospital.

She found the main door unlocked and entered it. She told the newspaper that there was “urine, dirt and dust” all over the place and “it smelled rotten”.

The woman heard a noise from the kitchen and found the man sitting on blankets and pillows.

According to the account in the paper, the man’s speech was slurred.

“He spoke very fast and a little incoherently, but he was not afraid of me,” the woman said.

Ms Olsson said the man’s mother had denied charges of false imprisonment and grievous bodily harm.

Neither mother nor son have been named.

Police tape is fixed on the door of the apartment in Haninge. Photo: AFP/Getty

There was no immediate explanation of why the son had been held. Reuters was unable to contact family members for comment.

Alerted to the case by hospital staff treating the man, police cordoned off the apartment in the southern Stockholm district of Haninge for investigations.

“We are looking into how long the son may have been imprisoned, but we assume it’s been a long period of time,” a police spokesman said.

-with agencies

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