Friday, 7 March 2008

'Impressionable' model jailed for hitman plot

Wanted policeman to murder witnesses: Charlotte Lindstrom

The New South Wales Supreme Court has sentenced Swedish socialite Charlotte Lindstrom to nearly four years in jail for soliciting the murder of two witnesses in a drugs case against her boyfriend.

Lindstrom met an undercover police officer on the steps of Sydney's Town Hall in May last year and confirmed she wanted the two witnesses in a cemetery, not a hospital.

The 23-year-old model pleaded guilty to soliciting murder and faced a maximum penalty of 25 years' jail.

But Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rothman discounted her sentence by 60 per cent today, taking into account her guilty plea and assistance to authorities.

Justice Rothman said Lindstrom's boyfriend "callously manipulated" her misplaced loyalty for him and she had nothing to gain personally from the crime.

During sentencing, he described Lindstrom as "vulnerable" and "impressionable", and said she was "a cog in a criminal machine" driven by fear and manipulation.

Lindstrom cried after she was sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail, with a two-year non-parole period.

She will be eligible for release on parole in May 2009.


Swedish socialite to do less time

THE Swedish socialite Charlotte Lindstrom could leave prison in little more than a year after her sentence for soliciting the murder of crown witnesses was reduced because she had helped police while facing death threats.

Justice Stephen Rothman said Lindstrom was manipulated by her former fiance - who is threatening to kill her - and that her judgment was impaired by a cocktail of legal drugs for her anxiety, including Valium and Stilnox.

In the Supreme Court yesterday, Lindstrom, 23, wiped away tears as he sentenced her to a maximum of almost four years in jail and a minimum of two. Taking into account the time she has already served, her earliest release date will be May next year.

Her "rare, exceptional and perhaps unique" co-operation with police meant Lindstrom would have to go into witness protection when she leaves jail, and the rest of her life would be spent "looking over her shoulder", Justice Rothman said.

Lindstrom is being held in solitary confinement in an unnamed men's prison to protect her. "Were this regime imposed for reasons other than her own safety, it would amount possibly to a form of torture," he said.

When asked about his response to the sentence, Lindstrom's father, Hans Lindstrom, told the Herald: "I think it's not fair."

However, her lawyer, Philip Stewart, said the defence team was pleased with the outcome.

Lindstrom met her former fiance - who is 18 years her senior - during a working holiday to Sydney. She told psychologists that she quickly fell in love.

"It was different, exciting, he made me feel important and special, he fascinated me, he knew so much about everything, and he was manly. I felt really safe with him," she said. He introduced her to drugs, and she began to use cocaine.

From prison, her fiance enlisted her to have two crown witnesses in his drug trial killed.

Justice Rothman said Lindstrom's former fiance callously manipulated her "misplaced loyalty and devotion".

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