Norwegian woman ‘lucky’ to survive Swedish axe attack

UPDATED: Swedish police have arrested two people after an elderly Norwegian couple were attacked in Värmland near Sweden's border with Norway. Police said the woman was lucky to survive a blow to the back of the head with an axe as it connected with the blunt side.

Norwegian woman 'lucky' to survive Swedish axe attack
A file photo of an axe not related to the story. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“The woman was extremely lucky. He threw the axe full force, with both hands from six meters away and hit her on the back of the head. If it had rotated half a turn it would have connected with the sharp edge,” Värmland police duty officer Christer Magnusson told news agency TT.

Police describe the incident as entirely coincidental. The couple were driving through Töcksfors in Värmland when a car approached from behind and tried to overtake them on the inside. Instead of passing them, it drove straight into a lamppost.

The couple stopped and a man rushed out from the crashed car, opened the door of their vehicle, and began to attack the driver. The Norwegian woman fled her vehicle and was chased into a nearby candy store, where one of the attackers threw an axe at her.

Her husband subsequently ran into the store and was threatened with a knife several times.

The three attackers, two men and a woman, then took took the Norwegian couple’s car and disappeared from the scene in the direction of Norway. The couple escaped without any serious injuries.

“They (the attackers) never drove over the border. Norwegian customs claim they didn’t cross the border, so we’re looking for them,” duty officer Magnusson explained on Tuesday morning.

Later in the afternoon police confirmed that they had arrested two people and were still looking for the third.


Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.