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CRIME

Police suspect arson at Norwegian murder suspect’s home

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 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
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. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

KONGSBERG ATTACK

Dane pleads guilty to killing five in knife attack in Norway

A Danish man pleaded guilty at his trial Wednesday to having stabbed five people to death and having fired arrows at others in an attack in Norway last year.

Dane pleads guilty to killing five in knife attack in Norway

Espen Andersen Brathen, a 38-year-old Dane living in Norway, allegedly used a bow and arrow inside and outside a supermarket before stabbing to death five other residents in the southeastern town of Kongsberg in October.

 Brathen entered the pleas when asked to respond to the charges of murder and attempted murder at the court in the town of Hokksund. “Everything, I admit everything,” he said, at the start of his trial.

While Norwegian police had initially suspected some kind of terror attack, they quickly believed it was the work of an unbalanced individual.

Brathen had been living for years in Kongsberg, home to about 25,000 people some 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the capital Oslo, and authorities have said he has a medical history, although details have not been made public.

The Norwegian security services PST, which are responsible for counter-terrorism, also said the man had been on their radar.

He was arrested 35 minutes after the first reports of an attack and was swiftly moved to a medical institution.

Three experts who observed him concluded that the suspect was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Both the prosecution and the defence argued that he could not be held criminally responsible and advocated a psychiatric commitment rather than a prison sentence.

According to the prosecution, Brathen was armed with a bow, 60 arrows and four knives on the day of the attacks. His victims were four women and one man aged from 52 to 78.

The trial is scheduled to last until June 17, with a verdict expected in the following weeks.

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