Man held for hammer attack on pastor

A 24-year-old man has been remanded in custody on suspicion of attempted murder and unlawful threats after attacking a female priest with a hammer and reportedly shouting "I am going to kill you".

The attack happened on Tuesday afternoon at a parking lot adjacent to a church in the Södermalm district of Stockholm.

The 24-year-old had come by the church on Monday to speak to the priest. He asked her if she had previously worked in Tumba, a southern Stockholm suburb, a source told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The priest replied that she had not worked in Tumba. However, on Tuesday, the man returned and asked to see her again.

The priest thought the man seemed unpleasant and was afraid he would be waiting for her outside the church. She therefore asked a colleague to accompany her to her car after finishing work.

The priest and her colleague could not see the man and so she walked up to the car alone.

When she was about to unlock the car door, the 24-year-old appeared from behind and hit her in the head several times with a hammer

“I am going to kill you!” he is reported to have shouted.

The priest’s colleague and several passers-by managed to overpower the attacker and contained him until police arrived to arrest him.

According to Aftonbladet, the 24-year-old allegedly had been looking up people from his childhood in Tumba and by chance found the female priest. However, she says she has not encountered him before.

The priest spent Tuesday night in hospital.

“She is of course affected by the events and does not feel well. Hopefully she has not suffered any permanent physical injuries,” the priest’s legal counsel told the paper.

On Friday, the 24-year-old was ordered remanded in custody. His trial is expected to commence on November 1st and the district court has determined that he should undergo a psychiatric examination.

He is previously known by the police but has never been charged for any serious crime.

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Where are the new ‘specially vulnerable areas’ in Sweden’s cities?

Biskopsgården in Gothenberg, Gottsunda in Uppsala and Seved in Malmö have all left the list of Sweden's most troubled districts, while Hovsjö in Södertälje, outside Stockholm, has joined it. Here's a breakdown of the changes.

Where are the new 'specially vulnerable areas' in Sweden's cities?

Four new districts have joined the Sweden’s National Police’s list of “specially vulnerable areas”, “risk areas” and “vulnerable areas”, six have left the list entirely, three have been downgraded from the “specially vulnerable” category and one has joined it. 

In total, Sweden has 59 districts classed as troubled in some way, which is two fewer than in 2021, the last time the list was updated.

“The clearest trend that we see happening is a stagnation,” the police wrote in its biannual update on the areas.

“The number of areas judged to be vulnerable has stayed stable through the years. Compared to 2022, three-quarters of the areas have developed in a negative direction or been unchanged, while the rest have had a positive development.” 

The police define an “especially vulnerable area” as being “characterized by social issues and a criminal presence which has led to a widespread disinclination to participate in the judicial process and difficulties for the police to fulfil their mission”.

The “vulnerable” category is defined as “a geographically defined area characterized by a low socio-economic status where criminals have an impact on the local community”. 
“Risk areas” sit somewhere in between the two categories.  

Seved in Malmö has been removed from the list of “specially vulnerable areas”. This picture shows a street in Seved cordoned off after an attempted murder in 2022. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

Which areas have improved? 

Biskopsgården, Gottsunda and Södra Sofielund (Seved), have been downgraded from “specially vulnerable” to “risk area”, while Karlsund in Landskrona has been downgraded from being a “risk area” to just a “vulnerable area”. 

Police said that these reevaluations had generally followed “changes in the level of open drug-dealing, threats, violence and abuse of police personnel, falls in violent crime, or changes in the criminal groups, for example following the detention of leading criminals.  

Six areas, Älvsjö/Solberga, Östberga, Edsberg and Termovägen in Stockholm, Lagersberg in Eskilstuna, and Charlottesborg in Kristianstad, have left the list of troubled areas entirely. 

Police said that these areas had left the list because they had seen “a positive development for a considerable length of time”, which was judged to be “stable”. 

“Local police officers now describe these areas in the same way as they describe other non-vulnerable areas,” the report said. “Violent crime and open drug dealing has reduced at the same time as police can operate in the area without any problems.”  

Three specially vulnerable areas, Rinkeby/Tensta and Husby in Stockholm, and Hjällbo in Gothenburg, were judged to have improved, but not to the extent that a change in category was warranted. 

Which areas have got worse? 

Hovsjö in Södertälje, outside Stockholm, was the only new area to join the “especially vulnerable” list.

Saltskog, also in Södertälje, joined the “vulnerable” list for the first time, as did Hagalund in Stockholm, Årby in Eskilstuna and Hageby in Norrköping. 

Police judged that the situation in Rosengård, Malmö, Fittja in Stockholm and Hässleholmen in Borås had deteriorated, with the three areas still in the “specially vulnerable category”. 

The situation had also deteriorated in Tureborg in Stockholm, but not to the extent that it needed to be upgraded from “risk area” to “specially vulnerable area”. 

Of the areas which already classed as “vulnerable” in 2021, only Jordbro in Nynäshamn and Skogås, Storvreten and Vårberg in Stockholm had moved in a negative direction.