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Prime Minister’s Killer Could Have Been Caught, Witness Claims

April 10, 1994

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Prime Minister Olof Palme’s murderer could have been caught within minutes if police had answered an emergency phone call, a witness told Swedish radio Sunday.

The witness, Leif Ljungqvist, broke his silence about his fruitless attempts to reach police that February night in 1986, when Palme was assassinated after leaving a theater in central Stockholm.

Ljungqivst said he saw Palme as the prime minister lay dying. Next to his bleeding body, Palme’s wife, Lisbeth, was on her knees. Ljungqivst said the killer watched nearby and made no attempt to run away.

Ljungqvist grabbed his cellular phone and dialed Sweden’s emergency number.

″Murder on Sveavagen,″ he said.

″Talk to the police,″ the operator replied, and transferred his call.

But no officer answered, Ljungqvist said. After about another minute and a half, Ljungqvist hung up. By that time, the killer had started running away.

Police have investigated the slaying for eight years, but without success. Ljungqvist contends the murderer could have been caught within minutes had the police answered his call.

The Stockholm police force has been criticized severely by media and private investigators for not performing better on the night of the murder. Palme was assassinated on one of the city’s busiest streets on a Saturday night, when police are normally on alert.

The Swedish government has said it will name a commission to study the police investigation.

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