Norway: A Somali immigrant who wildly stabbed fellow passengers on board an Oslo tram 3 years ago is now seeking compensation from the state
He claims he never should have been released from psychiatric care just days before he went amok, and his victim's own mother agrees.
The man, an immigrant from Somalia in his 40s, killed one of the passengers and wounded four others in the bloody attack on board the #17 tram as it rolled by Bislett Stadium on an August afternoon in 2004.
He had been sitting quietly on the tram when he suddenly pulled out a large knife, which he'd just bought in downtown Oslo, and started slashing at everyone around him. The shocked driver of the tram brought it to a halt and frantically called for assistance.
By the time it arrived, the man had fled, hijacking the car of a passing motorist. One of his victims, a 23-year-old man who didn't hear the uproar around him because he was deaf, was stabbed to death.
The assailant was eventually captured later that day and has been committed to psychiatric care ever since. Newspaper VG reported Friday that he now claims the state is liable for turning him into a killer because he didn't receive the care he needed at the time.
His attorney wouldn't elaborate on the case, nor would the organization that promotes patients' rights in Norway.
State health authorities earlier criticized a doctor at Ullevål University Hospital for releasing the man from acute care without having a plan to follow up his treatment. An intern on duty had actually handled the release, but the doctor was viewed as being responsible.
The victim's mother, Karin Mjåland, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Friday that she understands why her son's killer is seeking compensation.
"I understand that he needs a confirmation (that the stabbings weren't entirely his fault) to get on with his life," she told NRK. "Living with the knowledge that you’ve killed someone and injured four others, must be terrible."
She and her family have also blamed Ullevål Hospital for the death of her son. "We feel they're responsible for the loss of our son," she said.
The state's real mistake was allowing him into the country in the first place.