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CRIME

Eminent Swedish psychiatrist killed in Almedalen knife attack

The Swedish psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren was named on Wednesday evening as the victim of the knife attack at the Almedalen political festival.

Eminent Swedish psychiatrist killed in Almedalen knife attack
Ing-Marie Wieselgren, photographed in Stockholm. Photo: Simon Rehnström / SvD / TT

Wieselgren, 64, worked as National Coordinator for Psychiatry at The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR), and was stabbed in the chest on Wednesday at 2pm as she was on the way to a seminar on children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses such as ADHD and Autism. 

She was given CPR until an ambulance arrived, and taken to the Visby hospital, but died shortly afterwards. 

Wieselgren had worked throughout her life to communicate with the public on mental health and psychiatric issues, contributing several times to the Thought of the Day slot on Swedish state broadcast SR, and recording videos on YouTube.  

Hours before her death, she recorded and published a video clip in which she said, “However well we do in building our society, some people will have difficulties. Sometimes life is not so simple, it is not so nice to us”. 

Wieselgren’s death was officially confirmed in a press release from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions on Thursday morning. 

“SKR has lost an appreciated and much-loved employee, her colleagues have lost a good friend, and Sweden as a whole has lost one of the strongest voices for psychiatric health and psychiatric care,” said the organisation’s chief executive Steffan Isling. “She was a strong voice for those who are otherwise not heard in the national debate.”

Sweden’s health minister, Lena Hallengren, said in a statement on Twitter that Wieselgren had been for her “an important source of knowledge and inspiration in the work against psychiatric ill-health.” 

“The message that Ing-Marie Wieselgren has died in this horrific attack in Visby has left me in dismay,” she said. 

According to the Sweden’s Expressen and Aftonbladet tabloid, the 33-year-old attacker, who is being held on suspicion of murder, has links to the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR), and had expressed support for the far-Right Alternative for Sweden party. 

According to the anti-extremist magazine Expo, the man signed up for so-called “support membership” of NMR in 2015, and wrote several articles for the organisation’s Nordfront newspaper. 

He also took part in at least four of the organisations demonstrations between 2017 and 2018, after which it is unclear if he was still actively engaged. 

According to Expo, the man attended the Almedalen festival in 2014, at which he wore a Sweden Democrat t-shirt, but he told a representative for the neo-Nazi Svenskarnas party, that he also supported them. 

“I sympathise with the Sweden Democrats, but I also support you,” he said, the magazine reported. “You are the spearhead of the nationalist movement.”

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ALMEDALEN 2022

Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden. 

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