Sweden cuts sentence for doctor who held woman in bunker

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Stockholm (AFP)

A Swedish doctor who drugged and kidnapped a woman he planned to keep in a soundproof bunker for years had his prison sentence reduced on appeal Thursday, from 10 to eight years.

"The Court of Appeal found that there are also mitigating factors, such as the (doctor's) psychological disorder," the judges explained in a statement.

Martin Trenneborg, a 38-year-old general practitioner, had claimed to be depressed and suffering from suicidal thoughts.

A court-ordered psychiatric exam confirmed his mental condition, which was found to be a mitigating factor and led to a reduced sentence, the court ruled.

Trenneborg has been compared to Josef Fritzl, the notorious Austrian father who held his daughter captive for 24 years and raped her repeatedly in a basement.

The Swedish doctor had passed himself off as an American when he met the woman for the first time on September 2015 at her Stockholm apartment, after making initial contact online for a date.

Two days later, he returned to her place with champagne, strawberries and fruit juice laced with sedatives. Once she was unconscious, he rolled her in a wheelchair to his car which had fake licence plates and drove her to his home near Kristianstad in southern Sweden, 550 kilometres (340 miles) away.

Trenneborg then locked the woman into what the prosecution described as an above-ground "bunker" he had built in his yard, which resembled a garden shed from the outside.

She remained captive for six days.

After the woman was declared missing, Trenneborg took her to a Stockholm police station and ordered her to tell officers she was fine and nothing suspect was going on.

Police found the couple's behaviour odd and when they questioned the woman alone, she broke down and told them what had happened. The man was subsequently arrested.

Trenneborg acknowledged the kidnapping in court, but he denied raping the woman and was acquitted of the charge in the first trial and on appeal for lack of evidence.

The identity of the victim has not been made public and her face was concealed during the trial. She was awarded 180,000 kronor (19,700 euros or about $22,000) in damages by the court.