Lund car rampage: Driver ‘heard voices’ telling him to hit pedestrians

A court has ordered an Afghan man to undergo psychiatric care and then be deported after he took a car and attempted to run over ten cyclists and pedestrians during an attack of mental illness.

Lund car rampage: Driver 'heard voices' telling him to hit pedestrians
The man was found guilty by Malmö District Court of putting people in danger. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
Malmö District Court sentenced the man, who came to Sweden as a 16-year-old at the height of refugee crisis in November 2015, to compulsory forensic psychiatric treatment followed by deportation to Afghanistan. He would then be banned from returning to the country until 2029.
The man began his rampage on New Year's Day after seizing another man's car after the pair had had a dispute.
Finding the keys still in the ignition, he drove from Malmö to Lund, where he proceeded to drive into people on pavements and cycle paths before being stopped by police three hours later. 
“It has emerged during the court psychiatric examination that [the man] was suffering from a serious psychiatric illness, both at the time of the act and more generally,” judge Karin Mårtensson Telde wrote in her verdict, which has been seen by The Local. 
But she ruled that he was nonetheless guilty of “aggravated unlawful threats”, “causing danger to another person”, and “unlawfully seizing a vehicle”.   
“In Sweden you can be responsible for your actions even if you are found to be suffering from a serious psychiatric illness,” Mårtensson Telde explained to The Local. “Even though we can't sentence him to prison, he has still been found guilty of a serious crime.” 
Court psychiatrist Christian Möller found that the man was suffering from “paranoid delusions”, with “hallucinations of commanding voices” and “serious depression” at the time of his rampage.  
But he judged that the man had nonetheless retained “the ability to understanding the significance of his actions”, even though he had found himself unable to act on this understanding due to “a pronounced death wish”. 
In her judgement, Mårtensson rejected the prosecutor's call for the man to be sentenced for attempted murder, arguing that as he had only driven the car at speeds of between 30 and 40 km/h, it could not be proven that the victims had been at a real risk of death or serious injury. 
Nobody was injured and only one person, who said he first thought a bicycle had run into him, was hit by the car.
In an interview, the man maintained that “he had never intended to kill, injure or threaten anyone”, and that driving into the pedestrians was something “his inner voices had commanded him to do”. 
In coming to its decision that the man should be deported, the court said it had taken into account the man's weak links to Sweden. 
It noted that his temporary residence permit had ended on April 15th 2019 and that he had made no effort to renew it. 
The investigation, it continued, had shown that the man has suffered from “unsatisfactory social contact” and “deficient and empty living conditions”, and also lacked “adequate support from the authorities and health services”. 

Perpetrators of serious crimes can be expelled from Sweden as part of their punishment if they do not hold Swedish citizenship, depending on both the seriousness of the crime and the strength of their connection to Sweden. If the perpetrator has been resident in Sweden for at least five years, Swedish law dictates the court must find that there are “extraordinary reasons” for ordering a deportation.

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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.