Sunday 19 November 2017

Swedish terror attack victim had worked to help failed asylum seekers

A woman lays flowers in front of the department store in Stockholm that was hit by the truck in the terror attack. Photo: AP
A woman lays flowers in front of the department store in Stockholm that was hit by the truck in the terror attack. Photo: AP

James Rothwell Stockholm

A Belgian psychologist who worked with asylum seekers facing deportation was among the victims of the Stockholm truck attack, it emerged yesterday.

Mailys Dereymaeker (31) was named by Belgian newspaper 'Nieuwsblad' as one of the four people who were killed when failed asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov is alleged to have ploughed a truck into a crowd in central Stockholm.

Ms Dereymaeker, who was the mother of an 18-month-old child, used to work as a psychologist in several Belgian immigration detention centres, 'Nieuwsblad' reported.

In a bitter twist of irony, the newspaper said she often worked with failed asylum-seekers.

Akilov, a 39-year-old from Uzbekistan, had his asylum claim in Sweden rejected last year. The Swedish authorities have been strongly criticised for failing to carry out his deportation order, and the government has said it is reconsidering its policy.

A British father, Chris Bevington (41), has also been identified as one of the victims. He worked in Stockholm as a director at the music streaming service Spotify. His family have described him as "a wonderful husband, son, father, brother and close friend to many".

It was also claimed yesterday that Akilov chatted with Isil supporters before and after the attack, boasting in one message that he had "run over 10 people".

The terror suspect had been in contact with an extremist calling himself Abu Fatyma via the online messaging service WhatsApp, Swedish newspaper 'Expressen' reported.

According to screen shots of the WhatsApp messages, Akilov told Fatyma he was trying to build a bomb.

"How do I make explosives? Tomorrow I want to find a car and run it into a crowd," he is said to have written.

"Do not waste time in vain," Fatyma replied.

After hijacking a truck as it waited at a restaurant near Queen's Street, Akilov is said to have driven it at high speed and crashed it into a department store, killing four people and injuring 15 others.

Just an hour after carrying out the attack, Akilov is reported to have told Isil supporter Fatyma: "I ran over 10 people in the centre of Stockholm, now I have to get out of here."

Fatyma responded: "Allahu Akbar, my brother, I cry, I love you."

He then asked Akilov to send a video of the scene, which appears to have been the suspect's last WhatsApp message before he was arrested. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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