Convicted serial killer sees charges dropped

A prosecutor has dropped the charges of murder against convicted serial killer Thomas Quick for the 1988 slaying of an Israeli tourist. Quick has recently retracted earlier statements in which he claimed to have killed more than twenty people.

Quick was convicted in six trials of the murders of eight people and claimed involvement in many more killings. But in 2008 he retracted all his confessions and put in his first request for a retrial. Last year the Court of Appeal granted him the right to a retrial for the murder in 1988 of Israeli tourist Yenon Levi.

Chief prosecutor Eva Finné had the option of either attempting to secure a fresh conviction or dropping the indictment. Quick interpreted Finné’s decision to drop the charges due to a lack of evidence as vindication for his attempts to clear his name.

Commenting on microblogging website Twitter under the name he now uses, Sture Bergwall, he wrote:

“CLEARED!! I’ve been cleared of the murder of Levi – fabulous feeling and very important for the remainder of the process.”

The prosecutor’s decision in effect means that Hedemora district court’s guilty verdict is no longer valid. The district court can now turn to both Quick and the family of the murdered tourist to see if either of the parties wish to pursue the case further. For Quick, such a course of action would allow him to seek a formal verdict of not guilty in the district court.

Quick has also recently applied for the cessation of his treatment at a secure psychiatric facility. He has also called on the national welfare board’s legal council to carry out an independent investigation into his mental health with an eye to overturning a diagnosis set by the chief physician at Säter Hospital.

”This was the decision we considered most likely but you an never be sure until you get it in your hand,” said Bergwall’s lawyer Thomas Olsson. “Sture Bergwall and I are happy and relieved to have achieved our goal”.

Claes Borgström, who was Bergwall’s lawyer for the Levi murder trial, also commented on Friday’s decision.

“I can only say that, since Quick sought a retrial and claims to be innocent, it is very good and fortunate for him that the indictment has been withdrawn. He previously admitted to the crime.”

Quick has also appealed for a retrial for the murder in 1988 of Norwegian girl Therese Johannessen and has revealed plans for further appeals. But Christer van der Kwast, the prosecutor who pushed for Quick’s conviction in the Levi case, said he was disappointed by the outcome of the appeal.

“Quick was convicted on proper grounds and was granted leave to appeal on improper grounds. I think media pressure has had its part to play in the decision to backtrack,” he told news agency TT.

Falun district court said it would now attempt to contact Yenon Levi’s family in Israel to see if they wished to proceed with the case.

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Swedish ‘serial killer’ cleared of two murders

A Swedish man originally convicted of eight murders saw two more of the killings wiped from his record when the prosecutor's office announced Tuesday it was dropping charges in a retrial.

Swedish 'serial killer' cleared of two murders

The decision leaves Sture Bergwall — for many years known as Thomas Quick and long considered Scandinavia’s worst serial killer — with just one murder on his record.

The prosecution said on Monday it would not prosecute Bergwall, 63, for the deaths of a Dutch couple, Marinus och Janni Stegehuis, who were found stabbed to death at a highway rest stop in Appojaure, in northern Sweden, in 1984.

He was convicted of their murders in January 1996 after confessing to the crime. But he later retracted his testimony, and a retrial was ordered.

The prosecution authority said in a statement it was dropping charges in a retrial “since there is not sufficient evidence that Sture Bergwall committed the crime.”

The Bergwall case has sparked a controversy in Sweden, because of the ease with which he was found guilty of the eight murders, which occurred between 1976 and 1988.

Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask vowed last year to conduct a review of how the courts could have convicted him.

During therapy for an armed robbery conviction, Bergwall confessed to all eight murders along with more than 20 others committed in Sweden, Norway and Finland — for which he was not tried — often describing how he butchered his victims and in at least one case ate the body parts.

In December 2008, however, he suddenly withdrew all his confessions, saying he had been craving attention at the time and had been heavily medicated by doctors.

He has since been acquitted in three cases, had the charges dropped in four cases, and has been granted a retrial in the remaining case.

Bergwall is serving a life term in a psychiatric institution.

AFP/The Local/dl

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