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Police suspect arson at Norwegian murder suspect's home

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Police suspect arson at Norwegian murder suspect's home
Emergency workers respond to a car crash that was caused by a fatal knife fight. Photo: Fritz Hansen/NTB scanpix
14:07 CET+01:00
A fire over the weekend in the apartment of a man accused of murder appears to have been arson, Norwegian police said on Monday.
Police believe someone tried to burn the apartment of a 23-year-old man who is charged with the murder of a 21-year-old earlier this month in Nordland county. 
 
The suspect was not in the apartment at the time, as he has been in police custody since November 2nd, one day after 21-year-old Martin Bjørge Liebraaten was found murdered and a 20-year-old man was found with stab wounds. 
 
Police suspect, however, that the arson attempt is connected to the murder case. 
 
“We believe the fire was set,” chief investigator Jostein Kroken of the Narvik police said. 
 
“At the time the fire occurred, the apartment had been released by police after being cordoned off in connection with technical investigations related to the [murder] case,” Kroken added. 
 
Police have spoken to a number of nearby residents and Kroken said that investigators are looking into three concrete tips. 
 
The fire was reported at 5.20am on Saturday and firefighters were on the scene within ten minutes. Two residents who were in another apartment in the building escaped unscathed and unassisted.
 
The apartment's owner, the 23-year-old murder suspect, has claimed that he stabbed Liebraaten in self defence in the November 1st incident. The suspect testified that he picked up 21-year-old Liebraaten and an unidentified 20-year-old in Ballangen in Nordland county and the three of them then drove toward Narvik, some 40 kilometres west. 
 
En route to Narvik, the suspect ran his car into the mountainside. Liebraaten was found dead and the 20-year-old was seriously injured and flown via helicopter to receive emergency treatment.
 
According to his lawyer, the suspect maintains that an altercation over money broke out while he was driving and he stabbed Liebraaten in self defence. 
 
The suspect was charged with one count of bodily injury resulting in death and one count of bodily injury and plead guilty to both at a November 2nd court appearance. 
 
Police said that there are currently no suspects in the arson at the 23-year-old man's home. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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