Vetlanda stabbing suspect to face trial in Sweden

Vetlanda stabbing suspect to face trial in Sweden
Police at the scene of one of the attacks. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT
A 22-year-old man who is accused of stabbing seven people in the southern Swedish town of Vetlanda is set to face trial.

The man was arrested shortly after the attacks, which took place on five different locations close to Vetlanda’s railway station in the afternoon of March 3rd.

At least two of the male victims were stabbed several times, according to the charge sheet. Four received life-threatening injuries, reports the TT newswire, but none of the injuries were fatal. The seven men were aged between around 35 and 75.

A psychiatric evaluation carried out ahead of the trial showed that the man may have been suffering from serious mental illness at the time of the stabbing, and it is likely that he is going to have to undergo a more thorough psychiatric examination as part of the court process.

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“The suspected perpetrator has only had vague memories of the incident when questioned by police, but has admitted that he attacked at least some people with a knife. He has not been able to provide a reasonable or more detailed explanation for his actions,” said prosecutor Adam Rullman on Friday, adding that the man had been feeling increasingly unwell in the period leading up to the incident.

“Nothing has emerged during the investigation that indicates that it was planned. There is no connection between the victims and the suspected perpetrator. Everything indicates that the victims were chosen at random,” the prosecutor added in a statement.

The 22-year-old holds a previous conviction for a minor narcotics offence, for which he was fined. He arrived in Sweden in 2016 to seek asylum, and at the time of the Vetlanda attack he was waiting for a decision on his application to extend his residence permit.

He now faces charges on seven counts of attempted murder, and the prosecutor has urged the court to permanently deport him from Sweden. The trial is set to start next Friday at Jönköping District Court.

The attacks grabbed international headlines in March after police in the early stages of the investigation classified them as a suspected terror incident. However this was later changed to attempted murder.


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