Mental illness common in murders

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Of the 132 murders occurring in Norway during the past five years, fully a third of the murderers showed signs of mental illness. Psychiatric problems played a major role, according to an analysis delivered to the government this week.

The state report studied murders committed in Norway between 2005 and 2009. In addition to showing that 38 of the perpetrators were mentally ill, the report also indicated that 40 per cent of the murders, a total of 49,  were carried out by people with substance abuse problems.  Schizophrenia and paranoid psychosis accounted for another 23, writes newspaper Dagsavisen.

Six out of every 10 murders in the sample were carried out while the killer was intoxicated. Drunken brawls accounted for 29 per cent of killings. Jealousy was the motive in 19 per cent of the cases.

The killer and victims were strangers in only 16 of the 132 killings whereas the killer and victim were related in about half of all cases.

The report shows that the typical killer is a 38-year-old unemployed male who stabs someone he already knows while intoxicated.

“The various public services could cooperate more effectively to help the mentally ill,” county adminstrator Ann Kristin Olsen told newspaper Aftenposten. She headed the research committee behind the report. Olsen believes that the police, medical and social services are afraid to talk about patients, for fear they’ll break the patient’s right to confidentiality.

The government-sponsored report also concludes that it is not possible to predict accurately who is likely to become a killer, writes newspaper Dagsavisen.

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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