Cases such as this were common; to murder a child was a common method used by many suicidal people. The reasons for this were religious. The contemporary religious belief was that suicide would send the soul to hell; however, an executed person who confessed and repented his/her crime was believed to go straight to heaven. Children were not just ideal victims because they were easy prey due to their disadvantage in size and strength, but also because they were believed to be free of sin and, thus, did not have to receive absolution before death in order to go to heaven. In 18th century Sweden, the wish to commit suicide was the most common reason for murdering a child, second only to unmarried women suffocating their newly-born infants after their secret birth.
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