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CRIME

Five family members jailed for axe attack

Five members of the same family were found guilty on Friday of involvement in a vicious axe attack against a 47-year-old man last spring near Haparanda in northern Sweden.

Five family members jailed for axe attack

The two sons in the family were sentenced to six years each in jail for acting as an accomplice to attempted murder. Luleå District Court also ordered the men to pay the victim a joint sum of 230,000 kronor ($29,000) in damages.

Their 73-year-old father, two sisters and a friend of the family were awarded six to eight month sentences for harbouring a known criminal.

A third son was requested to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after the court found that he too had been involved in the attack.

The 47-year-old victim was seriously injured in May when he was attacked with an axe in the village of Vojakkala, north of Haparanda.

The man had previously resided in the village, and was in the area on a visit when he was assaulted by his former neighbours.

The neighbouring family charged in the attack has been involved in an ongoing feud with their neighbours which has come to a head during the past year.

Besides the axe attack, the feud has also featured stone throwing, assault, and gunfire.

A key piece of evidence for the prosecution was a film clip of what happened in connection with the attack against the 47-year-old.

The recording was made with a camera the victim had placed on the roof of his car when he visited his former home.

The attack landed the victim in hospital with life threatening injuries.

In addition to widespread skeletal injuries, the 47-year-old’s right eye was so badly damaged that it had to be surgically removed.

The victim had moved to Vojakkala in 2001, and three years later things started to heat up between him and his neighbours.

The feud resulted in several complaints to the police from both sides, with the 47-year-old being convicted of verbal threats lodged against the sisters of the neighbouring family.

CRIME

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to forced psychiatric care

A court has sentenced the far-right extremist Theodor Engström to forced psychiatric care for the knife attack he carried out at the Almedalen political festival this summer.

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to forced psychiatric care

The Gotland district court found the 33-year-old Engström guilty of murdering the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren, but did not agree that the murder counted as a terror attack.

It did find him guilty, however, of “planning a terror attack”, for his preparations to murder the Centre Party’s leader, Annie Lööf. 

“The murdered woman had a significant role [in society], a murder is always serious, and this had consequences both for Almedalen Week and for society more broadly,” the judge Per Sundberg, said at a press conference. 

The judge Per Sundberg announces the sentence on Theodor Engström on December 6th. Photo: Karl Melander/TT

But he said that the court judged that Sweden’s terror legislation was too restrictively drafted for her murder to count as a terror offence. 

“Despite Ing-Marie Wieselgren’s well-attested position within psychiatry, the court considers that her position as national coordinator at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions is not such that her murder can in itself be considered to have damaged Sweden. The act cannot as a result be classified as a terrorist crime on those grounds.” 

The court ruled that Engström’s crimes deserved Sweden’s most severe sentence, a life sentence in prison, but found that due to his disturbed mental state he should instead receive “psychiatric care with a special test for release”. 

Lööf wrote on Instagram that the judgement was “a relief”. 

“For me personally, it was a relief when the judgement came,” she wrote. “Engström has also been judged guilty of ‘preparation for a terror attack through preparation for murder’. This means that the the court is taking the threat towards democracy and towards politicians as extremely serious.”

The fact that the court has decided that Engström’s care should have a “special test for release” means that he cannot be discharged from the closed psychiatric hospital or ward where he is treated without a court decision. 

The court must rule both that the mental disorder that led to the crime has abated to the extent that there is no risk of further crimes, and that he has no other mental disorders that might require compulsory psychiatric care. The care has to be reassessed every six months. 

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