OSLO (REUTERS) - A Norwegian man went on trial on Monday (April 12), accused of hijacking an ambulance and attempting to run over and kill seven people, including two police officers and twin toddlers, during a high-speed chase through an Oslo neighbourhood in 2019.
Prosecutors said Nicolai Kaupang, 33, stole the vehicle at gunpoint from ambulance workers responding to a traffic accident in which he was involved, leading to a pursuit by police as he sought to escape. Kaupang was carrying a significant quantity of illegal drugs, said police, who have ruled out any political motives.
He pleaded not guilty in court to the charges of attempted murder and of threatening two police officers. He pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated robbery, drug possession, making aggravated threats and carrying a firearm in a public place, according to news agency NTB.
Kaupang drove the ambulance onto a pavement at high speed, aiming it at pedestrians with an intent to kill, according to the charges, injuring an eight-month-old girl when the vehicle struck the buggy she shared with her twin brother. Her injuries were not life-threatening and the boy escaped unhurt, as the children's mother had almost managed to pull the carriage out of harm's way before the vehicle struck, prosecutors said.
The five other victims, including the mother and the police officers, managed to dive for cover, narrowly avoiding the speeding ambulance, prosecutors said. Kaupang hit several cars during the chase, which lasted around five minutes according to a timeline provided by prosecutors. Police fired multiple shots at the ambulance before it came to a standstill in a narrow street.
Under normal circumstances, the crimes Kaupang is accused of carry a prison term of up to 21 years. But prosecutors said they may also seek an additional custodial sentence, making his eventual release conditional on rehabilitation.