This overturns an earlier ruling by Lund District Court, which had sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Judges hearing the appeal were split in their decision. The two lay judges on the panel thought that he should remain in jail, whereas the three legally trained judges concluded that evidence from psychiatrists was strong enough to send him to a secure hospital.
The murders both took place in 1989. In March of that year Olsson abducted, raped and murdered Helén Nilsson, from Hörby in Skåne. Five months later, in August, Olsson murdered Jannica Ekblad from Malmö.
Psychiatrists giving evidence at the appeal were divided on Olsson’s diagnosis.
Sten Levander, the first psychiatrist to examine Ulf Olsson, said that he is a transsexual who committed the crimes on impulse while affected by strong sexual and aggressive tendencies.
But another psychiatrist, Marianne Kristiansson, who was brought in by the prosecution, disagreed with the methods that Levander had used. She said that Olsson had a personality disorder caused by his autism.
The two experts agreed, however, that Olsson suffered from a serious mental illness and needed care, although they disagreed about the type of care.
The lower court had cited this disunity when it sentenced Olsson to prison, arguing that too much time had passed to make a judgment on his mental state.
But the appeals court pointed out that both experts agreed that he was suffering from mental illness when he carried out the crimes.
Prosecutors had asked the appeals court to uphold the prison sentence passed down by the district court.
Prosecuting counsel Pär Andersson said that the decision was “not completely unexpected”. But he told Dagens Nyheter that neither of the psychiatrists could explain why the illness broke out when it did.
“They both just say that one can assume that Ulf Ollson was ill, given the problems he had during his childhood,” he said.
Andersson has now passed the case to the Prosecutor General, who will decide whether the Supreme Court should consider the case.
Sources: Dagens Nyheter,