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CRIME

‘Machete man’ jailed after ruthless rampage

The man who went on a wild rampage through Sundsvall in March, wielding a machete as his weapon, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday for the series of attacks in which he hijacked a minivan and caused one woman to lose an eye.

'Machete man' jailed after ruthless rampage

He was found guilty of a number of charges, including attempted murder, illegal threats, and animal cruelty, reported local media.

On top of the lengthy prison sentence, the man is to pay 139,000 kronor ($19,700) to the attacked woman, as well as 170,000 kronor to 13 other victims.

“His actions were exceptionally ruthless, and have caused the woman mortal fear and anxiety. We’ve concluded that her presence of mind during the attack, as well as another person rushing over, saved her from even graver consequences,” said Tomas Sandström of the Hudiksvall district court in a statement.

The 33 year-old man’s violent outburst began on the afternoon of 15 March, as he slashed the woman repeatedly in the knee and the face with his knife, causing her to lose an eye.

Leaving the bleeding woman behind, the man made his getaway by car, but soon thereafter crashed it into a ditch.

When a minivan full of high school students and teachers stopped to help, he continued his attack, putting his machete against the throat of one of the teachers, and knifing a dog found inside the van.

Forcing the passengers to get off, he then hijacked the van and sped off once more.

Police finally caught up with the man when he crashed his getaway car once more.

However, police were forced to fire a warning shot and shower the man with pepper spray before he gave up and the police could make their arrest.

Initially the man was believed to have been suffering from psychiatric illness when he went on his rampage, as he had been in and out of psychiatric wards since 2010.

However, the psychiatric assessment showed that he was not psychotic at the time of the attack, meaning his eight-year sentence will be spent in prison rather than in psychiatric care.

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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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