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Serial killer applies for second retrial

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Serial killer applies for second retrial
11:41 CEST+02:00
Convicted serial killer Thomas Quick, who recently retracted confessions for eight murders, has formally petitioned the Svea Court of Appeal for a retrial in the case of the murder of nine-year-old Norwegian girl Therese Johannessen.

Quick argues that new evidence has emerged in the case and that his confession has been shown to be unreliable, with reference to police interviews conducted in March and April 1996 in which Quick's lawyer Tomas Olsson claims his client submitted clearly erroneous information.

The conviction of Quick for the murder of the Norwegian schoolgirl in 1988 was in part based on an ocular inspection of bone particles recovered from the crime scene.

The Local reported in April that a fresh analysis by the National Laboratory of Forensic Science (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium – SKL) concluded that the bone particles were in fact pieces of wood and glue mixed with other synthetic materials.

In the trial at Hedemora district court in 1998, two respected professors, Per Holck and Richard Helmer, 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."

Osteologist Ylva Svenfeldt, an independent researcher specialising in the analysis of cremated Iron Age skeletal remains, was deeply critical of the testimony provided against Quick by the two professors.

"If you've worked with burned bone material you can immediately see that this is not bone. I can only interpret this as scientific fraud," she told newspaper Aftonbladet.

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

Thomas Quick, who has since changed his name to Sture Bergwall, 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 and has stated his intention to seek to get his convictions overturned.

The request concerning Therese Johannessen is the second submitted by Quick through his lawyer Tomas Olsson. 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.

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