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Serious Attack Exposes Limited Psychiatric Care

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Serious Attack Exposes Limited Psychiatric Care

Police

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

A man is seriously injured after being repeatedly hit in the head with a hammer by his brother-in-law on New Year’s Eve, Vísir reports. He remains in intensive care. The assailant has been sentenced to four weeks in police detention.

The attack took place outdoors in the eastern part of Reykjavík shortly after midnight. The victim suffered multiple skull fractures, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. The assailant, who is in his twenties, was arrested at the scene. Due to the severity of the attack, he will remain in police custody until January 27.

His sisters say the attack was unprovoked. The two men are friends, but their brother has mental problems, due to long-term drug abuse. After excessive drug consumption in the past two weeks, a lack of sleep and nutrition, he believed his brother-in-law was trying to kill him. Such delusions had not been uncommon in recent years.

“We’ve battled the psychiatric ward for two years,” one of his sisters told Vísir. He has gone there, both on his own and with us, but he’s always sent back, because he is in this condition, under the influence.”

Another sister stated the police can’t do anything either, because the doors of the psychiatric ward are closed. “We’ve been waiting for this to happen for two years. It’s like watching a traffic accident slowly happen for two years.”

The youngest sister watches over her husband, who is in intensive care. The sisters told Vísir that due to their brother’s periodic psychosis, the family feels vulnerable, helpless and constantly worried.

“I’m not justifying his actions,” one of the sisters commented, but we want to step forward, because if this can help any other person, then I’m at ease. Only if someone out there won’t come to closed doors.”

Police have told the sisters that the only option for their brother when he suffers from psychosis is to be imprisoned. The sisters said it’s clear that a prison sentence awaits him. “But that’s not the worst part; at least he will be safe in prison.” They concluded, “There is no safety out here, neither for him nor those who are around him.”

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