Wednesday 26 April 2017

Stockholm suspect 'admits crashing truck into pedestrians'

Police with automatic weapons guard the entrance to Stockholm District Court in Sweden (Fredrik Sandberg/TT via AP)
Police with automatic weapons guard the entrance to Stockholm District Court in Sweden (Fredrik Sandberg/TT via AP)

A 39-year-old Uzbek man has confessed to ramming a stolen truck into a crowd in Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15, his lawyer said.

Briton Chris Bevington, 41, was among those killed in the incident.

Mr Bevington lived in Stockholm with his family and worked as a director with music streaming service Spotify.

The Stockholm District Court ruled that police could detain Rakhmat Akilov for a month after he admitted in court that he drove the stolen beer truck into a crowd outside an upscale department store in central Stockholm on Friday afternoon.

He was detained by police hours later and arrested early Saturday.

Police have not given a motive for the attack and no extremist group has claimed responsibility.

Police said Akilov was known to have been sympathetic to extremist organisations but that there was nothing to indicate he might plan an attack. His Swedish residency application was rejected last year.

After the court hearing, his lawyer, Johan Eriksson, said Akilov is "pleading guilty" to Friday's attack but said he was not allowed to say more about the case.

The four people killed also included two Swedes and a Belgian woman. Eight of those injured, two seriously, are still being treated in hospital.

The prosecutor's office said on Tuesday that it will revoke the arrest of a second man police had detained on Sunday because they suspected he was involved in the case.

According to the prosecutor, "the suspicions have weakened" against him, and there were no grounds to apply for a detention order.

The statement said he would not be set free but instead "be taken into custody due to a previous decision that he shall be expelled from Sweden".

Friday's attack shocked Swedes who pride themselves on their open-door policies towards migrants and refugees.

In 2015, a record 163,000 asylum-seekers arrived in the country - the highest per capita rate in Europe. The government responded by tightening border controls and curtailing some immigrant rights.

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