A potter, an artist, a woman in her 50s and two pensioners were on Saturday named as the five victims of a man who attacked residents of a small Norwegian town with a bow and arrows in a rampage that united the nation in horror.
The names were released as Norway reels from the bloody episode, with questions being asked about the police’s handling of the situation.Gun Marith Madsen, 78, a local artist, was reportedly killed by Espen Andersen Bråthen with a machete in her bathroom after he broke in through her front door.He also broke into 56-year-old Hanne Englund’s home and killed her. She was remembered by neighbours as a skilled potter and pillar of the community.
Bråthen also targeted their neighbours, pensioners Liv Borge, 75, and Gunnar Sauve, 75, who were watching television together at home.
On Saturday it was unclear exactly where and when the last of the victims, Andréa Meyer, 52, was killed.Bråthen also fired arrows at people shopping in a local supermarket, before finally being apprehended.Criticism has been voiced over the slow police response to the attack.“34 minutes in Kongsberg is a very long time” said Kjetil Stormark, the author of two books on Norwegian terror attacks, and 15-year resident of Kongsberg.“It takes a few minutes to drive across town. So half an hour is far too long to stop a man on a killing spree. I think the police and others will agree on that.”
Questions have also been raised over whether the attack could have been prevented years ago, after it emerged that the Norwegian security services, PST, first received a tip about Espen Andersen Bråthen in 2015.Three years later, Espen released a threatening video on the internet. PST spokesperson, Trond Hugubakken, told the Telegraph there was not enough evidence to charge him at the time:“We had a conversation with him and felt he had a fairly good explanation for himself. He said sorry for posting it and that he didn’t mean what he said. He did not make us concerned about his radicalisation, though we were concerned about his mental state.”
Emilie Mehl, 28, the new justice minister who took office the morning after the attack, will now have to address these questions.
Ms Mehl is the country’s youngest ever justice minister and rose to prominence campaigning on rural issues in Norway.She’s also a regular reality show contestant. Two years before entering parliament in 2017, she won ‘Anno’, a show in which contestants attempt to live like Norwegians from the 1700s.
Ms Mehl also found the time during this year’s general election campaign to take part in ‘Kompani Lauritzen,’ a series in which competitors go through bootcamp style training.The new season will be broadcast early next year. Meaning that as the justice minister deals with matters of state, she will also appear on TV every Saturday night, pretending to be a soldier.
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