A court in Larvik sentenced a 21-year-old man to 16 years in prison on Friday after his own failed suicide attempt resulted in murder charges. The 21-year-old chose to crash his car into an oncoming car at high speed, killing its driver and badly injurying the other drivers’ family members who were passengers.
The court’s verdict was in line with what prosecutors had requested, in a case that had no previous legal precedent in Norway. The defendant had refused to accept responsibilty for the consequences of his decision, while drunk, to drive onto a highway and straight into the oncoming headlights of another car. Prosecutors claimed that amounted to murder.
The defendant has claimed he didn’t mean to kill anyone else and “just wanted to die” himself, but he survived the crash that instead killed a 47-year-old man who was driving his family home from Oslo’s airport to Skien on New Year’s Eve, after returning from a family holiday in the Canary Islands. The man’s wife and five-year-old daughter were critically injured, while their seven-year-old boy and an infant son escaped serious injury.
The 21-year-old immediately appealed his sentence on Friday, subjecting the surviving family members to another trial. They had also been awarded more than NOK 1 million in compensation. The defendant’s attorney claimed there was no evidence proving that his client planned to take others’ lives along with his own, and that he was merely negligent for not realizing that the impact of the crash could harm others.