Probe suggests mental illness triggered Norway attack: police

People paying tributes to the victims of a bow and arrow attack in Kongsberg  

A bow-and-arrow attack in Norway that left five people dead this week appears to have been motivated by mental illness, authorities indicated on Friday, as the perpetrator was ordered to be kept in a medical facility.

Espen Andersen Brathen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen who converted to Islam and is believed to have been radicalised, has confessed to the killings in police questioning.

He was on Friday held in custody in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation.

“The strongest hypothesis after the first days of the investigation is that illness is in the background,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt said on Friday, two days after the attack.

The psychiatric evaluation, which could take several months, is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

Brathen was known to police previously over fears he had radicalised.

Four women and one man were killed and three people injured, and police said a bow and arrows and two other undisclosed weapons were used before he was arrested.


The suspect was known to PST, which is in charge of Norway’s anti-terrorism efforts, but few details have emerged about why.

“There were fears linked to radicalisation previously,” police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud told reporters.

Those reports were before this year, and police said they had followed up at the time.

Norwegian media reported that Brathen was subject to two prior court rulings, including a restraining order against him regarding his parents after threatening to kill his father, and a conviction for burglary and purchasing narcotics in 2012.

Speaking anonymously, one of Brathen’s neighbours described him as a big person with a crew cut and a serious demeanour, who was always seen “alone”.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 8:09:06 AM |

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