Suspected New Year's Eve homicides lead to arrests

PPA logo and hi-vis vest.
PPA logo and hi-vis vest. Source: PPA

New Year's Eve in Estonia passed off relatively peaceably, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) says, though a suspected homicide was reported in Tallinn, and another in Tapa.

The PPA received a call-out early morning on January 1, to Rahumäe tee, south of Tallinn city center.

On attending the scene, the PPA found a deceased 50-year-old woman, along with an injured 37-year-old man, who was taken to hospital. The man's condition was described as "serious", as the result of wounds inflicted by a sharp implement.

The PPA arrested a 40-year-old man at the scene. The suspect was reportedly under the influence of alcohol, while the exact circumstances of the incident will be clarified in the course of criminal proceedings.

In another case, PPA officials in Tapa attended an apartment crime scene where the body of a 54-year-old man was found. A 58-year-old man was arrested at the scene, who was also reportedly under the influence of alcohol, PPA operations manager Tago Trei said.

In Tartu, two incidents involved weapons – in one case, an individual was threatened with a "weapon-like object" the PPA reports, while in the other, shots were fired in a public place from what appeared to be a starter pistol.

Twenty-three drink drivers were apprehended; this figure is likely to rise, Trei added.

The PPA also had to respond to domestic violence incidents, and cases of those incapacitated by alcohol.

Rescue Board: Over 60 callouts overnight December 31-January 1

Meanwhile, the Rescue Board (Päästeamet) responded to over 60 call-outs on New Year's Eve, one of which included a fatality early on in the evening, in Pärnu-Jaagupi, in southwestern Estonia.

Rescue Board fire truck. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Three other non-fatal house-fires were also reported, though the bulk of the Rescue Board's call-outs related to fireworks which had not been properly extinguished.

This brought the total number of fire fatalities for the year to 49, Viktor Saaremets, head of the board's prevention department, said.

Saaremets told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" that:  "From the point of view of first responders, I believe that this was more or less a standard New Year's Eve. Our colleagues at the emergency room also had various call-outs overnight, and although the help of the Rescue Board was not needed in these cases, I am aware that during the night, three people were also injured during the setting off of fireworks, with the main factor being, as can be expected, reckless mishandling of fireworks."

These incidents were in Rakvere, Suure Jaani and in Rapla County; in the latter case, a 10-year-old child was injured by fireworks.

While the number of fires in residential buildings fell, from 584 in 20201 to 546 in 2022, fire-related fatalities rose by 10 on year, the board says.

The emergency number in Estonia is the European standard 112.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

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