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CRIME

Prison sentence for axe attacker on Norwegian woman in Sweden

A man who almost killed a woman after attacking her with an axe in Sweden and subsequently threatened her husband has been handed a six-year prison sentence.

Prison sentence for axe attacker on Norwegian woman in Sweden
File photo of an axe not related to the story. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The incident, which occurred in Töcksfors near the Swedish border with Norway last November, saw the elderly Norwegian woman narrowly escape death after the attacker threw an axe at her head, only for the blunt side to connect.

“She was extremely lucky. If it had rotated half a turn it would have connected with the sharp edge,” Värmland police officer Christer Magnusson said at the time.

She and her husband had been driving through the town when a car approached and tried to overtake them. Instead, it drove into a lamppost, and after the couple stopped, a man emerged from the crashed vehicle, asked to be handed weapons from a woman he was travelling with, then attacked the elderly pair.

The Norwegian woman fled and was chased into a nearby candy store, where the attacker threw an axe at her. She turned her head just before the axe connected, meaning it struck her in the back of the skull rather than the front. In questioning, she said she thought her ability to keep walking after being struck was the only reason she was not killed by the man, newspaper Göteborgs Posten reports.

He then turned his attention to her husband, threatening him with a knife several times after he ran into the store to help. The attacker eventually fled in the couple's car, which was later found partially destroyed.

The 46-year-old, a resident of Kungälv in western Sweden, claimed that he had crashed his car into a streetlight because the Norwegian couple failed to signal at a turn.

Värmland district court sentenced him to six years in prison for attempted murder, attempted aggravated assault, unlawful threats and negligence in traffic.

He will also have to pay around 130,000 kronor ($14,417) in damages to the Norwegian couple.

During the investigation it emerged that the man, along with the woman he was travelling with, had been living at a youth hostel in Töcksfors around the time of the crime.

The woman who gave him the axe was cleared of all charges because according to the district court, it was not possible to prove that she knew what the man would do with the weapons.

CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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