Five months after a young Swedish woman working in a shelter for migrant children was killed by a fake child migrant, the company running the homes is finally rolling out their response – by ensuring that all staff have access to a panic alarm.
Twenty-two year old Alexandra Mezher was brutally stabbed to death in January by Somalian migrant Khaliif Nuur, who had been given refuge at the shelter in Mölndal for children by posing as a 15-year-old. He was later discovered to be at least 18 years old, and possibly in his 20s.
Ms. Mezher was working alone at the time of the attack despite rules being in place recommending staff work in pairs at all times. She was just half an hour from the end of a night shift when the attack came. Staff are said to have urged management repeatedly to ensure that they weren’t asked to work alone as they feared for their safety.
Now five months on from the attack, the home’s management company, HVB, has announced that staffing levels will be increased to ensure that two staff are present on night shifts – although only one of them will be required to be awake throughout the night. They hope to increase the ratio after a month to ensure that two members of staff are sleeping overnight at the shelter while another is on shift.
The staff on duty will also be given access to a panic alarm, while dangerous objects will be kept stored away to prevent further attacks. It is still not clear how Mr. Nuur accessed the knife used to stab Ms. Mezher in the back and thigh.
Management have further pledged to undertake more comprehensive risk-assessments on those applying to stay at the shelter, designed to accommodate 14-17 year olds in a block of ten flats.
However, this will likely be of little solace to Ms. Mezher’s family or the remaining staff at the shelter, as during a court investigation into Ms. Mezher’s murder it emerged that the shelter had been aware that he had “serious mental problems” before he was offered a place.
The court heard that the shelter had even been given extra funds to hire specialists to deal with him, having been initially reluctant to take him on, but failed to spend that money on specialist help.
During the hearing Mr. Nuur claimed he was unable to admit or deny murdering Ms. Mezher, saying he could “barely remember anything from the incident”. He may therefore be sectioned indefinitely as a risk to the public and himself.