Police found homemade weapons in the Bergen prison cell of the 31-year-old man accused of triple murder on a bus near Årdal last November. It emerged on Friday several crude weapons had been found during spring, but not all of them were believed to belong to the defendant.
The south Sudanese man stabbed three people to death on the Valdresekspressen bus last year, the day before he was due to be deported after having his asylum claim rejected. He took a knife and sledgehammer onto the bus, and has been charged with premeditated murder.
The man had been under a strict security regime at the Bergen prison since he was transferred there in April after three months of psychiatric observation, reported newspaper Aftenposten. Shortly after he arrived, officers searching his cell found several sharpened wooden sticks concealed in the base of a cabinet.
A few days later, prison staff found a hard, triangular shard of plastic and a cord from his sweatpants. The man admitted it was his property, and said he perceived the prison officers as soldiers and would use the tools to protect himself if necessary.
Leif Waage from western region Correctional Services said management was extremely concerned at first, but after investigating the case concluded it was highly unlikely the inmate knew about the wooden shivs. He did however have to justify how the weapons could have been left in the cell of a man considered extremely dangerous.
“There is high occupancy at the prison, and many go through the various cells,” Waage explained. “There are many way to hide such things. After total deconstruction of the cell, as well as thorough procedures, we are now confident that we have good control.” Waage said the man was considered so high-risk that he was checked frequently and thoroughly, no one was allowed to be alone with him, and officers wear stab-proof vests when they examine him.
Limited communication heightened the security situation. “This is blamed on major language problems, and that we know very little about his background, level of psychological function and contact ability,” he said. “This makes it difficult to catch any warning signs of acting out.” He said officers were trying to establish a stable environment and build safe relations with the accused.