|Catrine da Costa. Image via the Telegraph.|
It is not unusual for street prostitutes to be murdered, but the mutilation made this case different. The case, known in Sweden as styckmordet (the ‘cutting up murder’), gave rise to an almost unprecedented public outrage. It has spawned four books, several television documentaries and countless newspaper and academic articles in Sweden over the years.
The discovery of the body parts, and the arrest of two seemingly respectable men for da Costa’s murder, provoked the women of Sweden to organise against male brutality. They marched through the city centres; circulated petitions; and appeared on television programmes protesting against the ill-treatment of women, particularly vulnerable females such as da Costa. The case was to lead to a change in the law on prostitution; men who pay for sex are now criminalised. Yet outside Sweden this dark and twisted tale has received little attention.