Cannibal locked up after threats

A cannibal who last year was granted permission to spend extra nights away from his secure hospital is believed to have sent threatening letters to academics and journalists in southern Sweden.

The man is now back under lock and key after the letters were received by four people in Malmö and Lund. Police and prosecutors are examining evidence to establish a link between the cannibal and the letters.

Among those threatened were Joakim Palmkvist, crime correspondent at the Sydsvenskan newspaper and Professor Anders Piltz, a Catholic priest and academic at Lund University.

The letters, which were received before Christmas, contained quotes in Latin from classical texts.

The missive sent to Anders Piltz contained a reworked quote from Roman comic dramatist Terence, which translates as: “Everything which is human is alien to me.” The original line from Terence is: “Nothing which is human is alien to me.” The letter also quoted Horace, saying: “There will be no traces left behind.”

“The line comes from a fable and means that if you come close to the lion’s den you will be eaten,” said Piltz, who taught the man Latin in the early nineties, and says he recognizes elements of his teaching in the letters.

The letter received by Joakim Palmkvist was of a similar nature. It was Palmkvist who first revealed last November that the cannibal, age 57, was being given extra time out.

The man was convicted of killing his girlfriend in Malmö and eating up her body parts in 1979. He was sent to a secure institution after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and Aspergers Syndrome.

Since 1992 the man has been granted permission to spend “several nights” a week in the Malmö apartment in which he killed his girlfriend. He was granted an extra 24 hours leave per week last November by a Malmö court.

The latest letter is not the first of its kind received by Anders Piltz.

“I received a much more threatening letter three years ago, in which he threatened to cut off my head and place it on a cupboard.”

Piltz says he reported both the latest incident and that which took place three years ago to the police.

“I think it’s outrageous that he was out on release – it’s a scandal,” he told The Local.

When the cannibal was out on release he was unaccompanied by medical staff or police, although he was told to follow doctors’ orders. Piltz, who visited him at home in the early nineties, says that at that time “he was quite free to come and go.”

The man is believed to have visited Lund University Library in the autumn. The library is just 100 metres from Piltz’s office.

Piltz says he decided to speak to the press to “awaken the authorities.” He claims he is not afraid, as he is an old man.

“I don’t fear for my life, but it’s not very pleasant.”

The cannibal has now been taken back into Malmö’s secure hospital while police investigate the threats.