Investigative journalist and columnist Joakim Lamotte has reported a new story on his Facebook page, about a young woman, Angelica Wiktor, from Vittaryd in Småland, Sweden.
Lamotte writes that he started getting messages from people who knew the woman in June, after she had written on Facebook that she had been raped in the first week of March. The people contacting him, told him that she had committed suicide, after finding out the police had closed the investigation into her rape. Lamotte decides to investigate, and comes across her last message, posted this summer:
“Victims of rape! Those who do not want to know – don’t read this! He who raped me has gotten a chance here in Sweden. He lives next door to me and a friend of his was there that night. Everything happened in my own house. Late one evening the doorbell rang and I thought something happened to my neighbour, who is seriously ill with cancer, but no… I was trapped in my bedroom, where he raped me while his mate was standing in the hall.
Despite reports, interrogation, forensic investigation which found bruising/damage caused by rape, gynaecological investigation proving the same, technicians finding evidence in my home, etc. I still received a phone call from the police on my 30th birthday that he was released because of lack of evidence… His friend has been haunting me since that day, looking me up online under false names, and stalking me in real life. What does the police do? – NOTHING!!“
Lamotte continues: “In the reaction underneath the post, her friends write that she should rest and post hearts and tearful emojis. What exactly happened, is hard to understand, but when I leave Angelica’s profile, it’s impossible to stop thinking about her fate.”
Months pass and Lamotte checks up on the profile regularly, to see if any new information has been posted. After a while, the page changes to ‘memorial status’, as Facebook usually does when somebody has passed away. At that point, Lamotte contacts Angelica’s mother, Lisa Wiktor. She tells Lamotte, that on the day Angelica posted her last message on Facebook, she chose to end her own life by taking all the hundreds of pills she had access to at once. Lamotte:
“The last months had been difficult on Angelica’s parents. Lisa says that she has thought a lot about the rape and why the report has been retracted. She asks me to look into the case and tell her about her daughter. According to her mother, Angelica went through a couple of rough years with a disease of the pituary gland, eating disorders and drug abuse. After she was raped, the fact that the police dropped the investigation was, according to Lisa, the stroke that broke the camel’s back.“
Lamotte says that Angelica was raped in the first week of March, almost breaking her, and that she told her parents about the rape. They help her with reporting the crime to the police, and take her to the hospital to have her wounds documented. In order to be able to judge the case, Lamotte requests to be given the police investigation report, which formed the basis for the police’s decision to drop the case. The report is more than 70 pages long. In it, is the investigation’s interrogation of Angelica. During her interrogation, Angelica claims, according to Lamotte, that:
“her neighbour, Adnan, together with his friend Samir [not their real names], came to her appartement late one evening in spring. Because Angelica had taken sleeping pills, she is unsure about the exact timing, but she remembers Adnan pushing her into the bedroom, using violence to force her on her bed and holding her down and raping her. The experience is extra painful because Angelica has inserted a tampon, that is now pushed so far inside of her, that she can’t get it out normally the next day. While she is being raped, Samir is somewhere in the appartement.“
Angelica tells the police that she is a lesbian and had never been with a man before. She also tells them about flashbacks of Samir having sex with her a day later, after she took sleeping pills with alcohol and diazepam. She tells the police that she would never have let it happen, had she been in her right mind.
After Angelica reported the crime, the police decided to arrest Adnan and Samir. Adnan lived across the hall from Angelica and when the police entered the apartment, they found Samir on a mattress on the floor, while Adnan locked himself in the bedroom. The police break into the bedroom and arrests Adnan, whom they have to cuff and drag from the apartment kicking and screaming.
During interrogation, Samir, who has been in Sweden since 2015, admits that Adnan and he were in Angelica’s apartment one evening. According to him, he was in the kitchen, waiting while Adnan and Angelica were in the bedroom. Samir claims he didn’t know that Adnan raped Angelica, until she told him when Adnan left the apartment. Samir also said that Angelica told him that she couldn’t fight him off, because she had taken sleeping pills and fell into a shock. Samir told the police that he confronted Adnan later, telling him that rape is a serious crime in Sweden. Samir also says that a few days later, he had sex with Angelica himself.
Adnan, a Syrian citizen, denies everything. He says he has never seen Angelica, even though they are neighbours, doesn’t know who she is and has never been in her apartment.
Police investigation shows that Angelica has serious problems at this time. She has mental health issues and mixes drugs with alcohol and sleeping pills. She is very vulnerable, a state that someone who is so inclined, could easily abuse. Lamotte concludes that Angelica’s memories are fuzzy because of these issues, which forces him to infer what happened step by step. His reasoning goes as follows:
Firstly: we know that Angelica and Samir have testified that Adnan was in Angelica’s apartment on the night of the rape. Adnan denies this, but that is probably a lie. Furthermore, Adnan has recently been convicted of attacking a man in Ljungby, which implies that he’s not someone to shy away from violence.
Secondly: we know that Samir texted Angelica, writing that Adnan told him that he threw away the condom he used during the rape in the bin.
Thirdly: we know that the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) found bruises on Angelica’s body and that her injuries
“are consistent with injuries inflicted by another person, at least partly through gripping (for example on the left lower arm), while other injuries (…) are more indicative of a struggle.“
Fourthly: there is supporting evidence in the form of witness statements of people who have spoken to Angelica after the events. They state that Angelica told them, before the rape, that Adnan pushed himself on her, shortly after he moved to the area. And a neighbour said that he heard strange sounds coming out of Angelica’s bedroom, something he never heard before.
All this put together, makes Lamotte wonder if this is not enough for a court case:
“I continue to read the preliminary investigation and I remember that Angelica, in her last Facebook post, writes that there has been a gynaecological examination that secured proof, as well as technical evidence from her home. Even from the preliminary report, it is possible to read that Angelica has been to a gynaecologist and that a sheet and a pack of condoms have been retrieved from her bedroom. However, there are no results of the examination, or results from DNA tests on the bedding, although according to the police it should contain all the documents in the case.“
For Lamotte, this is a reason to ask extra questions: he decides to call the prosecutor, who was the pre-trial leader in the case. Her name is Yvonne Rudinsson. At first, she says that she doesn’t remember the case, despite being responsible for the police investigation. After a while, however, she appears to remember the case, and it turns out she knows Angelica is no longer alive. The burning question for Lamotte is:
“Why did you choose to shut down the investigation?”
Rudinsson:”I thought it was impossible to prove that a crime has been committed.”
Lamotte:”But it can be concluded that the suspect is lying, there is proof that Angelica is wounded. There is corroborative evidence. Isn’t it worth the trouble to try and take it to court?”
Rudinsson:”It is not enough to prove that someone is lying to convict him of a crime.”
Lamotte:”Angelica wrote on her Facebook page, just before she died, that there is a gynaecological examination that shows she had been raped and that technical evidence was found in her house. I can’t find the results of those examinations, nor that evidence, in the preliminary investigation. Where is that information?”
Rudinsson:”I don’t know.”
Lamotte:”Could it be that you have taken a decision without taking those results into account?”
Rudinsson:”I have taken my decision after consulting all the documents available to me, that’s all I can say.”
That is all the information Lamotte says he could get from her, leaving most of his questions unanswered. He does conclude from the information he has, that Angelica had a tumour on her pituitary gland and therefore had to take heavy medication. Moreover, during the period she was feeling very badly, and used a combination of alcohol and sleeping pills, and must have been in a foggy state of mind. According to her claims, during this time she was abused. If that is true, the abuse took place with a person that wasn’t mentally or physically capable of refusing or resisting.
Lamotte says that according to Swedish law, it counts as rape since the victim was abused during a fragile period. If Angelica’s story is correct, both Samir and Adnan took advantage of her state during that period.
When Lamotte calls Lisa Wiktor back, she says:
“It is terrible. I am Angelica’s mother, and I know her from before she was in such a bad shape. She would never lie about something like that. She had problems, but she wouldn’t lie. Why would she lie about it?“
Lamotte says Angelica’s parents are convinced Angelica was subjected to what she alleges and think the case should receive redress. Lamotte doubts he is able to give it to them with the article he wrote about the case.
Then again, he knows Angelica is not the only one whose rape case fell through. Swedish police, he says, is getting worse and worse at researching sexual crimes and 13 rape cases are closed without prosecution each day.
At the same time, Lamotte continues, a wave of stories have hit us in the last few weeks in the #metoo uproar. Different famous women have come forward, telling about their experiences and suspects. The majority of women raped do not have a platform which makes sure their voices are heard. For the most people who have their cases closed, Lamotte says, are left with their anger, not daring to speak about their experiences, because it is accompanied by so many feelings of guilt and shame.
“Angelica chose to take her own life, after having the courage to step forward and tell her story.
This account is published after consultation with Angelica’s family, in the hope that someone in the Swedish judiciary reads it and decides to look at the case again, to see if there are stones that have been left unturned.