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SHOOTING

Danish police gather hundreds of witness accounts in Field’s investigation

An unusually large volume of witness accounts and other material will be drawn upon during ongoing investigations into the lethal armed attack at Copenhagen shopping mall Field’s in July this year.

Danish police gather hundreds of witness accounts in Field’s investigation
Police officers at the Field's shopping mall in Copenhagen following its reopening on July 11th. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

A long list of witness testimonies, along with texts and weapons discoveries are among evidence to be scrutinised by police, it emerged during a hearing to extend the detention of the suspect on Thursday.

The suspect was remanded in police custody for a further four weeks following the hearing at Copenhagen City Court.

Three people were killed and several wounded when a suspected 22-year-old shooter attacked the Field’s shopping mall at Ørestad on the outskirts of Copenhagen on July 3rd.

The victims included a young man and woman, both aged 17, and a 46-year-old Russian national with Danish residency. Four people were critically injured but survived and a further three suffered bullet wounds. 20 people were injured while fleeing the area.

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The man has been detained at a secure psychiatric unit and will now remain there until at least December 1st.

Unlike earlier hearings, Thursday’s proceedings did not take place behind closed doors, allowing some information about the police investigation to be released to the public.

The 22-year-old suspect was present at the hearing.

Police prosecutor Søren Harbo said that 254 witness statements had so far been gathered. Four additional witnesses, including a child, are still due to provide accounts to investigators.

During searches of the suspect’s home, a number of texts have been found which could indicate that the shooting was planned. These include tactical manuals related to carrying out shootings, news wire Ritzau reports.

The man had also bought ammunition and magazines prior to the attack. They were discovered on his person when he was arrested.

A pistol was meanwhile discovered in one of the toilets at Field’s’ cinema, where the shooting attack started according to the prosecution authority. Police tests found the pistol to be defective and not loaded.

Police have now pieced together a reconstruction of the events after four months of investigation of the mass shooting, an extremely rare occurrence in Denmark which resulted in national shock.

The prosecution will review a police video sequencing the events and witness material as part of its ongoing work with the case, Harbo said.

“It is very comprehensive because many places in Field’s have been investigated,” he said.

Defence lawyer Luise Høj said “the whole case will revolve around [the suspect’s] mental state at the moment the crime was committed”.

The suspect has, according to both prosecution and defence, recognised the factual circumstances of the attack.

He denies charges citing paragraph 16 of Denmark’s criminal law, which is related to a lack of culpability based on mental illness.

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CRIME

Denmark jails IS ‘wife’ for three years

A 35-year-old Danish woman was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for entering Syria and promoting the Islamic State (IS) group's activities, prosecutors in Denmark said.

Denmark jails IS 'wife' for three years

During the mother of five’s trial, the prosecutor had argued that wives were a key part of IS.

“Even if you did not actively participate in the fighting, we assert that you can support the terrorist organisation by shopping in its supermarkets, by taking care of the children, by being a housewife,” prosecutor Trine Schjodt
Fogh said.

The woman, who pleaded guilty, was convicted of “having promoted the activities of IS, in particular by acting as the housewife and wife of a person who was active in the terrorist organisation,” the prosecution authority said in a statement.

She was also found guilty of having “entered and resided in al-Raqqa district in Raqqa province and Deir al-Zour province in Syria, which were defined as conflict zones during the period”.

The  woman, who is originally from the west of Denmark, arrived in Syria eight years ago, a journey she “bitterly” regrets, her lawyer Mette Gith Stage told news agency Ritzau.

“The last few years have been difficult for her, first in the caliphate, then in a prison camp and now in prison. She misses her children terribly and is eager for the case to end so that she and her children can move on,” the
lawyer said.

In October 2021, Denmark removed three women and 14 children from the Kurdish-controlled Roj camp in north-eastern Syria in a joint operation with Germany.

The three women were arrested on arrival in Denmark and have since been in detention and the trial that just ended marks the first of three.

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