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A Swedish court on Friday sentenced an Eritrean man to life in prison for fatally stabbing two people with kitchen knives in an Ikea store after his asylum request was denied.

Abraham Ukbagabir, 36, had gone to the Ikea store in Vasteras, about 100 kilometres west of Stockholm, on August 10 with an Eritrean friend “to meet God,” he told investigators.

Two weeks earlier, Ukbagabir had received a deportation order to return to Italy, under the Dublin convention which requires asylum seekers to have their requests processed in the first EU country where they arrive.

At Ikea's kitchenware section, he grabbed two knives and attacked his two victims at random, a 55-year-old mother and her 28-year-old son, who both died at the scene.

Ukbagabir then stabbed himself in the stomach, sustaining serious injuries and remaining in a coma in hospital for several days.

His friend was initially suspected of participation in the crime but those suspicions were later dropped.

Ukbagabir was found to be sane and was therefore judged responsible for his actions.

At the end of his sentence, he will be deported.

In Sweden, a life sentence is usually commuted after 10 years, with most life sentences lasting between 18 and 25 years.

AFP