The first victim of the Stockholm truck-ramming attack – carried out by a failed asylum seeker – was a Belgian psychologist who worked helping failed asylum seekers avoid deportation, it has emerged.
The remains of Maïlys Dereymaeker, 31, were so mangled by the force of the truck—she was the very first person to be run over—that it took more than two days to identify her through DNA, the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported.
Dereymaeker worked for several years as a psychologist in the Belgian Immigration Service’s detention centers, helping illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers under threat of deportation.
Het Nieuwsblad quoted one of her friends as saying that she “was always seeking meetings with these people to create a common understanding and to build bridges.”
She was waiting for friends from work on the corner of Drottninggatan and Olof Palmes gata when the refugee-terrorist Rakhmat Akilov struck.
She was the first victim to be hit by the speeding truck and died instantly at the scene. Akilov, a 39-year-old from Uzbekistan, had his asylum claim in Sweden rejected last year.
The Expressen newspaper reported that Akilov had been in contact with an ISIS controller calling himself Abu Fatyma via the online messaging service WhatsApp just prior to the attack.
According to screenshots of the WhatsApp messages published by Expressen, Akilov told Fatyma he was trying to build a bomb.
“How do I make explosives? Tomorrow I want to find a car and run it into a crowd,” he wrote.
“Do not waste time in vain,” Fatyma replied.
After hijacking a truck as it waited at a restaurant near Queen’s Street, Akilov drove it at high speed and crashed it into the Ahlens department store, killing four people and injuring 15 others. Roughly an hour after the attack, Akilov reported to Fatyma: “I ran over 10 people in the center of Stockholm, now I have to get out of here.” Fatyma responded: “Allahu Akbar, my brother, I cry, I love you.”
He then asked Akilov to send a video of the scene, which appears to have been his last WhatsApp message before he was arrested.
Akilov had been ordered to leave Sweden in December. He was given four weeks to leave, but disappeared from his last known address.
He had earlier told the Swedish Migration Board that he had been arrested during a demonstration and was subsequently tortured by police for nine days.
However, a medical examination showed that torture had not taken place.
Investigators concluded that his identity could not be confirmed as he had used several aliases when applying for asylum.