“I stole the telephone because I needed money to eat,” the 28-year-old man said through an interpreter as he sobbed in court, his face shielded by a white towel, according to the TT news agency.
The 38-year-old victim of the attack, referred to in the Swedish media as Johnny, was returning home after a drunken night out on the town with his friends when he fell down on the tracks at the Sandsborg metro station south of Stockholm.
Shortly thereafter he was robbed of all his valuables and left on the tracks before being run over by an oncoming train.
Following the incident, Johnny had half of his left foot amputated and his right knee has been damaged to a point where he’ll need a prosthetic in future.
Sitting in a wheelchair with a yellow blanket over his legs, Johnny was on hand for Monday’s hearing, facing his attacker in person for the first time.
Prosecutor Maria Gylder played surveillance camera footage from the September 8th incident, the same footage which prompted outrage among Swedes when it was broadcast on TV3’s “Efterlyst” (‘Wanted’) television programme last month.
The footage shows the suspect harassing and then robbing Johnny as he lay on the tracks before the 28-year-old calmly walked out of the station.
Clea Sangborn, the suspect’s defence lawyer, said that the event was tragic, adding that everyone wishes that her client had helped the 38-year-old victim.
“But that’s not what is being examined from a legal perspective; rather it’s the crime that took place on the tracks. One must differentiate between what is legally wrong and morally wrong,” she said.
The 28-year-old tried to explain his actions further during the hearing at the Södertörn District Court.
“I’m unemployed and have tried to find work without any success,” he told the court.
He added, speaking quietly, that he needed money for medicine due to problems with his feet.
The courtroom gallery was filled with spectators and journalists for the much anticipated trial, which comes one month after the 28-year-old was arrested in the north Stockholm suburb of Stockholm following an intense manhunt.
The man is on trial on two counts of aggravated theft.
Johnny said he doesn’t remember anything from the incident at the subway station. His last recollection is from just outside the Stockholm pub where he had been celebrating earlier that night.
“I’m not even sure what I was doing in the subway. I usually take a taxi home after a night of partying,” Johnny told the court.
“You wonder how this could happen. I wish he’d told the station attendant that I was lying there; that he’d saved me.”
During Monday’s hearing, the 28-year-old suspect repeatedly asked for forgiveness, explaining he feared he would be blamed for the fact that Johnny had fallen on the tracks, when in fact, the 38-year-old fell without being pushed.
“In my home country, when you help someone who has been injured you can be blamed for having injured him,” he said.
The 28-year-old said he regretted what he had done, calling the robbery “a stupid idea”.
“If I’d known there were cameras, I wouldn’t have stolen from him, but instead would have helped him,” he said, adding he feared the 38-year-old would accuse him of pushing him onto the tracks.
When prosecutors asked the suspect how much money he took during the theft, he burst into tears.
He was then asked if he’d stolen on other occasions than the two to which he’s admitted, he answered no.
“I really apologize. I’ve really feel guilty for having robbed him. I’m sorry and remorseful,” he said