Muslim convert charged with killing 5 in Norway bow-and-arrow attack handed over to health services for assessment, prosecutor say

A police prosecutor says the Norway bow-and-arrow attack suspect is being assessed by psychiatric experts after he was charged with the murder of five people. He was known to police and mental health services.

On Friday, police lawyer Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet that Espen Andersen Brathen, 37, had agreed to be handed over to the health services for an assessment of his mental wellbeing; the process began on Thursday. 

The accused will be observed and assessed by two psychiatric experts to clarify whether Brathen was in a fit mental state at the time when the killings took place on Wednesday night. Brathen has already confessed to the deadly attack. 

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A police technician enters a building in the town center after a deadly attack in Kongsberg, Norway October 14, 2021 © NTB/Terje Bendiksby via REUTERS
Norway bow-and-arrow attacker who killed 5 had converted to Islam; police had prior concerns over signs of radicalization

If the experts conclude that he was not sane, his sentence would include compulsory psychiatric care. If he is considered sane, the prosecution can raise the danger that Brathen may offend again in the future.

On Thursday, police said that there was a probable terrorist motive for Brathen’s actions. The Danish citizen, who had converted to Islam and showed signs of radicalization, rampaged through the town of Kongsberg on Wednesday night, killing five and injuring two. 

He was known to police for “several different issues” and had been “in contact with… the health service several times.” He had also shown signs of radicalization.

All of the suspect’s victims were between 50 and 70. According to local media, the attack started in a supermarket.

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