Two men held over Gotland stabbing

A murder, a slew of firework injuries, assault, arson and domestic violence summed up New Year's Eve in many parts of Sweden.

In Visby on Gotland a man was stabbed a mere half hour into 2009. Police confirmed on Thursday afternoon that two men had been arrested in connection with the attack which has been classified as murder.

“We have arrested two men in their thirties who are previously known to the police. The development of the investigation during the night and this morning have enabled us to focus our suspicions in their direction,” said Fredrik Persson of Visby police to news agency TT.

The deceased man, confirmed to be in his thirties, was stabbed at 12.30am on New Year’s Day in Visby on the Baltic island of Gotland. He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance but was declared dead on arrival.

The new year started inauspiciously as reports of firework injuries, assault, arson and domestic violence filtered through from across Sweden on New Year’s Day morning.

A 12-year-old boy was injured by a firework in Gråska in Hallstavik north of Stockholm when his family let off a so-called fireworks chest in their back garden.

“The final rocket in the chest veered in the wrong direction and hit the boy in the eye. He was taken to hospital in an ambulance helicopter but was conscious and could be spoken to. It is as yet unknown how badly damaged his eye is,” said Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs at Stockholm police.

A teenage girl in Bromölla and a man in Karlshamn in southern Sweden were hit by fireworks as new year celebrations soured. The girl is reported to have sustained only minor injuries while the man is reported to have suffered burns.

More than 30 fires broke out in the southern province of Skåne during the night as fire-fighting resources were stretched to their limit. An apartment was destroyed in Ystad and a school building was burned down in the Malmö suburb of Holma.

“The remainder were mostly car fires, fires in skips and refuse rooms. We don’t yet know if the fires were caused by fireworks or general arson attacks and vandalism,” said Sofie Österheim at Skåne police.

The police have been inundated with reports of the careless and irresponsible use of fireworks and bangers.

“We have received masses of complaints. Among others a young girl was hit by a banger in Vårby, but without serious injury. There has also been a slew of domestic fights and fires in cars and on balconies,” said Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs at Stockholm police.