Norway bow and arrow attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

OSLO: A Norwegian court sentenced a man to psychiatric care on Friday (Jun 24) after finding him guilty of stabbing to death five people and attempting to murder 11 others with a bow and arrow.

Espen Andersen Braathen, 38, a Danish citizen who has lived his whole life in Norway, had pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him after his rampage in the small Norwegian town of Kongsberg last year.

Psychiatrists evaluating Braathen found that he suffered from mental illness, and prosecutors had recommended that he should be held in a medical facility rather than being sentenced to prison.

The Oct 13 attacks some 70km west of the capital Oslo lasted more than half an hour, as Braathen randomly targeted people in homes, on the streets and in a store, while narrowly missing others.

Four women and one man, aged between 52 and 78, were stabbed to death, while three were wounded by Braathen’s arrows. Among the weapons seized as part of the investigation were knives, bows and arrows, and a sword.

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.