Man Non Compos Mentis in Heiðmörk Murder Skip to content

Man Non Compos Mentis in Heiðmörk Murder

Reykjanes District Court ruled yesterday that Axel Jóhannsson, who is 25, was incapable of controlling his actions due to mental illness when he murdered the mother of his child in the Reykjavík outdoor recreation area Heiðmörk in May 2011.


Heiðmörk. Archive photo by ESA.

The man was deemed non compos mentis but for the benefit of public safety and due to the nature and severity of his illness he was sentenced to security confinement at an appropriate institution, Morgunblaðið reports.

The man was charged with having attacked his partner, strangling her with his hands and a car seat belt. She was 21. According to Fréttablaðið, their young son was sleeping in the car at the time.

Afterwards the man drove the boy to his brother’s and the body of his partner to the Landspítali hospital where he pointed it out to staff in the trunk of his car.

In their evaluations psychiatrists conclude that the man suffers from a serious form of schizophrenia and has had symptoms of psychotic disorder for many years. It was stated that he had heard voices telling him to kill his partner.

Fréttablaðið reports that the man had often heard voices before asking him to harm himself and others. Shortly before the murder he discharged himself from the psychiatric ward of a hospital. He could do so because he had admitted himself voluntarily. He told his physician that he had stopped taking his medication and was feeling better.

According to the verdict, the man is also to pay their son ISK 6.2 million (USD 52,000, EUR 39,000) in damages, his partner’s parents ISK 3.5 million (USD 30,000, EUR 22,000) and cover legal costs.

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