Stockholm subway station explosion was a hand grenade, police confirm

An explosion at a suburban Stockholm subway station which left a man dead was caused by a hand grenade, police confirmed on Tuesday.

Stockholm subway station explosion was a hand grenade, police confirm
The station where the explosion took place. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT

The victim, a man in his 60s, died in hospital on Sunday afternoon after he picked up an object at the Vårby Gård station southwest of the city centre, and it exploded. A 45-year-old woman was also injured in the blast.

Police had earlier said they suspected that the object had been a hand grenade, and on Tuesday afternoon a spokesperson confirmed that this was the case.

“Our technicians on the scene have now been able to confirm that it was a hand grenade,” police spokesperson Lars Byström told the TT news agency. He said police did not yet know how the grenade exploded, adding that anyone with information should come forward to them.

Police earlier said that the man who died was unlikely to have been purposely targeted by whoever left the explosive at the station.

Vårby gård is one of 61 areas across Sweden considered to be 'vulnerable', and defined as “a geographically defined area characterized by a low socio-economic status where criminals have an impact on the local community”.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Sweden's vulnerable areas 

A map showing the location of the subway station, in a southwestern suburb of the capital.

Sweden’s Justice Minister Morgan Johansson has called for an amnesty of the weapons and tougher laws in order to get hand grenades off Sweden’s streets.

Speaking at a government press conference on Tuesday, Johansson said: “It won’t be an amnesty that ultimately breaks down this type of crime, but it prevents such accidents in the future.”

Sunday’s incident has put the spotlight on hand grenade crime, which appears to be on the increase in Sweden over the last few years. Figures provided by the Dagens Nyheter daily last year showed that there were 27 instances of grenades exploding in Sweden during 2016, compared to 10 in 2015.

Johansson said that a harsher weapons law which came into force at the start of this year should help to reduce this kind of criminality. Among the measures introduced was a change in the minimum punishment for aggravated weapons crime and aggravated crime against compulsory licensing for explosives, which was increased from one to two years' imprisonment.

READ ALSO: Sweden's new laws to watch out for in 2018

The minister had already raised the possibility of a hand grenade amnesty — which would be the country's first — in October last year. At the time, he said the proposal for an amnesty between October 2018 and January 2019 would be brought to the parliament in February this year.

While he said that the most effective crime-fighting measures was to deal with the perpetrators themselves, Johansson said on Tuesday: “It can also be a good idea to take in these hand grenades or other explosive goods to get them away from society. The more that are out there, the greater the risk that they go off.”

READ ALSO: Why Sweden has more fatal shootings per capita than Norway or Germany


Victims in Malmö school attack were targeted at random, court hears

The 18-year-old student at Malmö Latin who has admitted to killing two female teachers at the school told a court on Tuesday that he attacked at random.

Victims in Malmö school attack were targeted at random, court hears

“I was going to do everything at random,” said the attacker, who has not been named.

“The idea was to just attack the first person I saw. Of course, there were certain people I was hoping not to meet,” he told the court.

The 18-year-old has admitted to attacking and killing two teachers at Malmö Latin school on March 21st.

The attacker said he first began thinking about carrying out an attack the day before, on March 20th.

He told the court he had previously considered taking his own life but that a setback in his bid to get a driving licence pushed him to take action.

After he found out he couldn’t take his driving test the next year he locked himself in his bedroom in Trelleborg on the south coast of Sweden.

“That’s when I decided I can’t go on living like this. I’ve wanted to kill myself for a long time. I decided I need to put myself in a situation where there’s no turning back,” he told the court.

That evening he took the decision to carry out a random attack at his school the next day, the student said. He recorded three “farewell” videos that he later deleted.

Attacked ‘at random’

At the end of the school day, the attacker locked himself in a toilet cubicle.

He changed clothes and took weapons – an axe, knives and a hammer – out of his backpack.

He put on a mask, scarf and ear protectors, which he explained were used so he wouldn’t be able to see and hear his victims so clearly.

When a person in the next cubicle came out, the 18-year-old attacked.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t be someone I knew,” he said. “I saw it was my old maths teacher, I stopped, short-circuited.”

The teacher only managed to say “you gave me a fright!” before he inflicted the fatal blows.

He then chased another teacher who witnessed the violence down the corridor and attacked her. She later died of her injuries.

‘I wanted to show that I am a monster’

The attacker then locked himself in the bathroom and called the police before handing himself in.

When the prosecutor asked why he hadn’t sought psychological help he said: “I didn’t think it would help, I don’t deserve to talk to someone. Asking for help was out of the question.”

“I wanted to show that I am a monster,” he said.

The court hearing in Malmö will continue throughout the week.

As the minor mental examination already carried out on the 18-year-old has concluded that he may be suspected of having a serious mental disorder, his lawyer Anders Elison expects that his client will undergo a major forensic psychiatric examination before being sentenced.