United Kingdom

Man 'held captive in Swedish apartment by his mother' is freed after 28 years

A mother has been arrested and accused of keeping her son imprisoned for 28 years at her flat in Sweden. 

Medics were called to the apartment, in Stockholm, on Sunday after a suspicious relative broke in and found the woman's son, now 41, locked inside.

The man was severely malnourished, had sores and open wounds covering his legs, almost no teeth, and was struggling to walk and talk, Swedish media reports.

A 70-year-old mother has been arrested and accused of keeping her son imprisoned for 28 years at her apartment in Stockholm (pictured)

The man was taken to hospital where he had to undergo surgery, though medics say his wounds are not life-threatening.

Meanwhile the hospital contacted police who opened an investigation, and then placed the mother under arrest.

Officers have since cordoned off the flat, south of Stockholm, and could be seen collecting evidence on Tuesday.

It is thought the mother has kept the son a virtual prisoner in the apartment since pulling him out of school aged just 12, in 1984, Expressen reports.

Sources told newspaper Aftonbladet that the mother was 'very overprotective' of her son due to a 'family incident' that had happened some years before.

A relative discovered the woman's son, now 41, inside the 'filthy' apartment on Sunday after becoming suspicious and breaking in

Neighbours said the mother kept her apartment in a dilapidated state, with an advent candle standing in one window for around 30 years.

But they added that she often stopped to chat with them in public, usually about banal subjects such as the weather.

Whenever she was asked about her son, they said, she would respond that he was 'fine' and change the subject.

One neighbour reported seeing the son while out shopping over the summer, and said he approached and told her: 'I know who you are, you're my neighbour.'

But most claimed never to have seen the man, or to have realised he was living in their apartment building until after officers arrived.

The discovery was made by one of the woman's relatives, who had long held suspicions that she was controlling the boy's life - but was unaware to what extent.

In early November, it is thought the mother went to hospital where she was kept while receiving treatment for an unknown condition. 

On Sunday, the relative managed to get into her flat, and discovered the son lying on a blanket on the floor of the kitchen.

The relative described the flat as filthy, saying it had not been cleaned in many years and stank of rotting food and urine.

There was so much rubbish piled up in the hallways that it was difficult to walk through, the person said.

The son was found with sores covering his legs, barely able to speak, and with pus leaking from open wounds. 

The man was found on  blanket in the kitchen that was covered in pus from open sores on his legs, had no teeth left and was also struggling to talk and walk, sources said

He was severely malnourished, having been left with a cheese sandwich, a can of mackerel and a bowl of chips to survive on. 

An old TV had also been left on in the flat, which was otherwise completely silent.

The relative said she had not seen the man for over 20 year, but he recognised her and kept whispering his name over and over. 

'The mother is suspected of illegal deprivation of liberty and causing bodily harm,' Stockholm police spokesman Ola Osterling told AFP.

He said the man had been 'locked up for a very long time' in the apartment in the southern Stockholm suburb of Haninge. 

'The man is in hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening,' he added.

The mother has denied the crimes, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said.

Doctors at the hospital had alerted police to the case. 

'I'm in shock, brokenhearted, but at the same time relieved. I've been waiting for this day for 20 years because I figured out that she was totally controlling his life, but I never imagined the extent of it,' the relative said.

'I'm just thankful that he got help and is going to survive.'

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