Sweden's news in English

Editions:  Europe · Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Lund car rampage: Driver 'heard voices' telling him to hit pedestrians

Share this article

Lund car rampage: Driver 'heard voices' telling him to hit pedestrians
The man was found guilty by Malmö District Court of putting people in danger. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
08:50 CEST+02:00
A court has ordered an Afghan man to undergo psychiatric care and then be deported after he took a car and attempted to run over ten cyclists and pedestrians during an attack of mental illness.
Malmö District Court sentenced the man, who came to Sweden as a 16-year-old at the height of refugee crisis in November 2015, to compulsory forensic psychiatric treatment followed by deportation to Afghanistan. He would then be banned from returning to the country until 2029.
 
The man began his rampage on New Year's Day after seizing another man's car after the pair had had a dispute.
 
Finding the keys still in the ignition, he drove from Malmö to Lund, where he proceeded to drive into people on pavements and cycle paths before being stopped by police three hours later. 
 
"It has emerged during the court psychiatric examination that [the man] was suffering from a serious psychiatric illness, both at the time of the act and more generally," judge Karin Mårtensson Telde wrote in her verdict, which has been seen by The Local. 
 
But she ruled that he was nonetheless guilty of "aggravated unlawful threats", "causing danger to another person", and "unlawfully seizing a vehicle".   
 
"In Sweden you can be responsible for your actions even if you are found to be suffering from a serious psychiatric illness," Mårtensson Telde explained to The Local. "Even though we can't sentence him to prison, he has still been found guilty of a serious crime." 
 
 
Court psychiatrist Christian Möller found that the man was suffering from "paranoid delusions", with "hallucinations of commanding voices" and "serious depression" at the time of his rampage.  
 
But he judged that the man had nonetheless retained "the ability to understanding the significance of his actions", even though he had found himself unable to act on this understanding due to "a pronounced death wish". 
 
In her judgement, Mårtensson rejected the prosecutor's call for the man to be sentenced for attempted murder, arguing that as he had only driven the car at speeds of between 30 and 40 km/h, it could not be proven that the victims had been at a real risk of death or serious injury. 
 
Nobody was injured and only one person, who said he first thought a bicycle had run into him, was hit by the car.
 
In an interview, the man maintained that "he had never intended to kill, injure or threaten anyone", and that driving into the pedestrians was something "his inner voices had commanded him to do". 
 
 
In coming to its decision that the man should be deported, the court said it had taken into account the man's weak links to Sweden. 
 
It noted that his temporary residence permit had ended on April 15th 2019 and that he had made no effort to renew it. 
 
The investigation, it continued, had shown that the man has suffered from "unsatisfactory social contact" and "deficient and empty living conditions", and also lacked "adequate support from the authorities and health services". 

Perpetrators of serious crimes can be expelled from Sweden as part of their punishment if they do not hold Swedish citizenship, depending on both the seriousness of the crime and the strength of their connection to Sweden. If the perpetrator has been resident in Sweden for at least five years, Swedish law dictates the court must find that there are "extraordinary reasons" for ordering a deportation.
 
 

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.