A Norwegian man who stabbed and killed an off-duty Greek police officer in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in the early morning hours of Thursday has been indicted on charges of homicide, attempted intentional homicide and illegal possession and use of a weapon.

The 44-year-old stands accused of fatally stabbing the 32-year-old police officer after the latter tried to intervene in an altercation that broke in a bar between the assailant and the victim’s best man. The bar in question is located directly next to the riot police headquarters in Thessaloniki.

According to media reports, the defendant’s lawyer, Theodoris Karagiannis, acknowledged the charge of homicide but emphasized the need to investigate the exact circumstances of the deadly incident. The alleged perpetrator was told about the fatal incident late in the afternoon by his lawyer due to an extreme state of intoxication, reports state.

“My client’s fundamental position is that he had no intention to kill. He was not aware that he had killed him. I informed him at 6:30 p.m. about the fate of the victim. What is not disputed is the fact that there was a homicide. What is disputed and subject to investigation is the lack of intention to kill, as well as the conditions related to his state of intoxication, mental health, and the exact circumstances that led to the fatal blow,” the defense counsel said.

An investigation is ongoing with witness testimonies being collected. Additionally, the quantity of alcohol consumed by the foreign national is under scrutiny.

According to reports, the alleged assailant had been a permanent resident of Greece and was a frequent customer at the specific bar. The fatal incident occurred around 4:30 a.m.

According to reports in the Athens daily “Ta Nea” and the Mega television station, the suspect lived in Greece for the last nine years after first arriving as a tourist and was the recipient of a monthly stipend extended by the Norwegian state due to “mental illness”.

Following a verbal dispute, the Norwegian stabbed the victim’s best man in the leg. The 32-year-old officer, who was off duty and present at the same bar, intervened and was subsequently attacked with the same knife.

The police officer suffered a fatal injury with a “push dagger” type of knife in the left torso.

According to Norwegian media, the Norwegian embassy in Greece has been briefed about the involvement of the 44-year-old in the police officer’s murder.