Year in review: 27 people have been killed in Norway this year

PolicePhoto: Marit Hommedal / NTB

A total of 27 people were killed in Norway during the year. In five murder cases with a total of nine victims in 2021, the perpetrators are considered possibly criminally insane.

The corona year started unusually peacefully compared to the gloomy statistics the year before, when 31 people were killed, and seven of the murder cases took place during the first three months of the year. In 2021, there have been no murders in the first quarter. From April to the end of the year, there have been a total of 21 murder cases with a total of 27 victims.

Murders committed by people with a mental disorder characterize the overview. In April, the well-known defense lawyer Tor Kjærvik was shot and killed in his own home on Røa in Oslo. The murder was committed by Kjærvik’s son, who, after arrest, was transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

Bow and arrow attack in Kongsberg

What started as a quiet evening on October 13, developed into a nightmare and a national disaster when 38-year-old Espen Andersen Bråthen went out into the city center streets in Kongsberg. 

He fired arrows at people and buildings with a bow and arrow before throwing his weapon away and then attacking unsuspecting people in several houses in Hyttegata with a stabbing weapon.

Five people, four women and a man, became Bråthen’s victims before he was arrested. The national terror alert had been triggered, but the police who questioned Bråthen concluded that the case was related to mental health and not an ideological conviction. 

Bråthen acknowledged what he had done but did admit criminal guilt. After a day in a prison cell, Bråthen was transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

NAV attack

The horrific killings in Kongsberg happened less than a month after a 39-year-old NAV client attacked two women for no reason during a meeting at NAV Årstad in Bergen. He attacked 57-year-old Marianne Amundsen and her 29-year-old colleague with a knife.

Amundsen died shortly after in hospital from the injuries she sustained. The colleague survived with minor injuries. The NAV office in Årstad was closed until December 27.

Also in this case, forensic psychiatric experts had to assess whether the perpetrator may have been insane at the time of the crime. On December 13, the Hordaland District Court ruled that the 39-year-old should be subjected to compulsory psychiatric observation.

Could have been prevented

With these three cases, and several others, as a background, the National Commission of Inquiry into the Health and Care Service (Ukom) in December presented a report in which the conclusion was that several murders committed by psychotic people could have been prevented if the police and health care services had better cooperation.

The conclusion in the Ukom report on the murders committed by psychotic perpetrators is that the police and the mental health service interacted too poorly. Psychotic patients with an increased risk of violence should have been better cared for. 

“These events can often be described as disasters with warning signals. Different actors have different understandings of reality and relate to different parts of reality. Nobody sees the big picture,” Pål Iden said when he presented the report.

Family killed

2021 has also been marked by many murders where the perpetrator was related to the victims. The most talked-about has probably been the fire in Svelvik on December 6, where a family of four was reported missing after a dramatic and extensive house fire. It was first considered a tragic accident, but the case changed status after the police started investigating the cause of the fire.

The deceased included a 43-year-old man, his 42-year-old cohabitant, and their children, a twelve-year-old girl, and a ten-year-old boy. A few days after the fire, the deceased’s family father was charged with murder, probably with a firearm found on the plot, and arson.

Shooting episodes

The autumn of 2021 was marked by many shooting episodes in Oslo. In the course of ten weeks, eight people were shot. Many of the cases involved young people all the way down to the criminal age of 15, but thanks to an effective health service, the vast majority were saved after being shot.

On October 7, however, 20-year-old Hamse Hashi Adan was shot at Lofsrud school in Mortensrud in Oslo late in the evening. The next day he died of his injuries. After an intense investigation, a 40-year-old man was charged with complicity in Adan’s murder and remanded in custody two weeks later. In addition, two brothers convicted of terrorism from Bærum have been charged in the case.

The last sighting of them was at Gardermoen on Saturday, October 9, when they took a flight to Pristina in Kosovo. Both are wanted internationally but have denied having anything to do with the murder via their lawyer.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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