Espen Andersen Braathen, 38, has admitted to stabbing five people to death and trying to kill more during a bow and arrow attack in Kongsberg, Norway in October last year
Image: via REUTERS)
A man has admitted stabbing five people to death and trying to kill more in a bow and arrow massacre in Norway.
The rampage through Kongsberg, 40 miles west of the capital Oslo, lasted more than half an hour.
The attacker randomly targeted people in their homes, on the streets and in a store while narrowly missing others, prosecutors said.
The accused, Espen Andersen Braathen, 38, a Dane who has lived his whole life in Norway, suffered from mental illness at the time of the attacks and should be sentenced to psychiatric care, rather than prison, they added.
“I plead guilty to all the charges,” Braathen told the court on Wednesday.
Four women and one man, aged between 52 and 78, were stabbed to death in the October 13 attacks, while three were wounded by
Braathen’s arrows, according to the charges.
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Before the stabbings, Braathen spent about 15 minutes shooting his bow at people in a supermarket as well as outside, hitting an off-duty police officer, among others.
In addition to the murders and murder attempts, he stands accused of making aggravated threats against 13 people, and one
account of attempted bodily harm.
Investigators later seized a number of weapons, including knives, arrows, bows and a sword.
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Police had initially said the attack appeared to be “an act of terror” but later abandoned that theory and said Braathen had
suffered from mental illness for years.
He has been kept at a psychiatric facility since October.
“We hope that we will get answers,” prosecutor Andreas Christiansen told Norwegian private broadcaster TV2 before the
Proceedings in the Kongsberg trial are scheduled to last until June 22.
A witness previously described how panic had set in when she saw someone run past her terrace and then spied a man standing on a street corner with a quiver over his shoulder and a bow in his hand.
She said the armed man soon disappeared and she saw people running for their lives, including a woman cradling a child in her arms.
The suspect was arrested after he fled the scene and officers fired warning shots, said police.
“The man used a bow and arrow … for some of the attacks,” police chief Oeyvind Aas told reporters at the time.
The death toll was the worst of any attack in Norway since 2011, when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, most of them teenagers at a youth camp.
The October attacks took place over “a large area” of Kongsberg, a municipality of about 28,000 people in southeastern Norway.
Following the attacks, the police directorate said it had ordered officers nationwide to carry firearms.
Norwegian police are normally unarmed but officers have access to guns and rifles when needed.
“This is an extra precaution. The police have no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level,” the directorate said in a statement.