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Serial killer investigation 'a scandal'

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12:34 CET+01:00
The mother of nine-year-old Therese Johannessen has described the investigation into her daughter's death as scandalous, as an evidence controversy sheds doubt on the conviction of the Swedish serial murderer Thomas Quick.

The conviction of Quick for the murder of the Norwegian girl by a Swedish court in 1998 was based on an ocular inspection of bone particles recovered from the crime scene.

"Technology has developed over the 12 years and now shows that it is not bone," senior physician Björn Ericson told news agency TT.

In the trial at Hedemora district court in 1998, two respected professors gave testimony in which they claimed that the burned particles found at a location identified by Quick were "most probably from a human, probably from a younger person."

No DNA analysis was possible at the time as the samples had been destroyed by fire.

The conclusion that the bones were human was based on an ocular inspection, that is to say the professors analysed the material by only looking at it.

The National Laboratory of Forensic Science (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium – SKL) has now completed a further analysis of the remains and concluded that they are not human.

"This was one factor, among many, which secured the conviction of Quick for the murder. I would like to add that it was not without significance," Björn Ericson said.

Therese Johannessen's mother has slammed the Swedish police investigation as "a scandal" and argues that the police have been arrogant and not opened up the possibility that there could be further suspects other than Thomas Quick.

"This is a victory for me. It is now proved that these (the claimed bone samples) did not come from Therese. I have fought for this for a long time," she told the Norwegian newspaper VG.

She will now petition for the investigation to be re-opened and that the previous police work be placed under review.

"The most likely is that it was another man who killed Therese," she claimed.

Thomas Quick's lawyer Tomas Olsson has confirmed that they are close to completing an application for a retrial in the case of Therese Johannessen.

"It will be submitted to the Svea Court of Appeal by the end of March," Olsson has confirmed.

Thomas Quick has been convicted in six different trials for the murders of eight people. During police questioning, he has confessed to committing more than 20 murders, which he claims he committed in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

But in several programmes broadcast last year by Sveriges Television (SVT) journalist Hannes Råstam, Quick has taken back all of his previous confessions.

The Local reported in December that Quick had been granted a retrial in the case of the murder of 24-year-old Yenon Levi, an Israeli tourist who was found dead near the side of a deserted forest road in Dalarna in 1988.

Quick, who has since changed his name to Sture Bergwall, has since indicated that he will petition for retrials for each of the eight murders for which he's been convicted.

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