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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

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.

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