Woman in Sweden denies locking up daughters 'for years'

A woman arrested in Sweden on suspicion of locking up her three daughters in an apartment for years denied the charges on Friday as prosecutors applied to remand her in custody. -- PHOTO: AFP
A woman arrested in Sweden on suspicion of locking up her three daughters in an apartment for years denied the charges on Friday as prosecutors applied to remand her in custody. -- PHOTO: AFP

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - A woman arrested in Sweden on suspicion of locking up her three daughters in an apartment for years denied the charges on Friday as prosecutors applied to remand her in custody.

"My client denies any crime. She has not in any way limited the plaintiffs' movements," her lawyer Thomas Ljungdahl told AFP.

According to tabloid Expressen, one of the now adult children - reportedly aged between about 25 and 30 - briefly left the small two-roomed apartment on Wednesday and told a neighbour she had been locked up for over a decade.

Police broke into the apartment and arrested the 59-year-old woman in the southern town of Bromoella Thursday and said she had restricted her children's freedom "for quite a few years".

An eyewitness to the arrests told newspaper Aftonbladet that one of the daughters was barely able to walk and had to be helped out of the apartment.

"The prosecutor has requested that the woman be remanded in custody," police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford said.

"The three adult women (daughters) have been taken in by social services," she added.

The woman reportedly moved her daughters around the country for almost 20 years in an effort to keep them away from their father following a divorce.

An education official in the northern ski resort town of Aare told Aftonbladet that they did not attend school despite being registered as living in the area for a decade from 2001.

"It appears that she had prevented the children from going to school in the past," Westford confirmed to AFP.

"We have to go back in time now and find out where they have been staying and under what circumstances."