A 44-year-old father of two claims that he acted in self-defence when inflicting the injuries that put his 49-year-old neighbour in hospital for six months, Svenska Dagbladet reports.
The 49-year-old has a criminal record and a history of trouble with the neighbours. On the day before the incident in question, which took place two years ago, he is said to have attacked the 44-year-old from behind. Witnesses reported that he struck the younger man and threatened him with a knife.
Whe the 49-year-old parked his tractor outside his neighbour’s house on February 15th 2005, the 44-year-old says that he was terrified and left the house with a hammer in his back pocket.
The 44-year-old then claims that, for the second day running, the older man went on the attack with a knife in his hand, threatening to “rip apart” his neighbour and his children.
But when police arrived at the house on the Stockholm island of Ingarö it was the older man they found lying in the snow in a pool of blood 30 metres from the house.
The 44-year-old sat on a nearby snow drift. He was clutching a hammer and had a single cut wound to his left hand.
The 49-year-old spent the next six months in hospital. He lost his right eye, developed epilepsy and had twelve operations for injuries that were initially life-threatening.
Another complicated operation awaits in February.
“They’re going to try to screw me together. I’m getting a new forehead, a new nasal root, a new eye socket, and titanium in the whole right side of my face,” said the 49-year-old.
The 44-year-old risks being sentenced to between one and ten years in prison. But he maintains that he acted in self-defence.
While he admits to striking the older man with a hammer he adds that the 49-year-old soon got back up after the initial tussle.
“He wouldn’t give up. He came at me again, roaring like a bull. Then I knocked him back down again,” said the 44-year-old.
The defendant’s lawyer, Bengt Hasselberg, says that his client had good reason to fear for his life.
“If you are attacked you are allowed to act in self-defence. My client’s children were at home, so he felt that it was not just he that was under threat,” said Hasselberg.
The 49-year-old, who has since changed address, is not looking forward to his day in court.
“I would like not to see the perpetrator again. But I can’t really avoid it,” he said.