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Infamous Swedish 'serial killer' awaits final verdict

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Infamous Swedish 'serial killer' awaits final verdict
16:11 CEST+02:00
Sweden's most high-profile legal drama, centred around the convicted serial murderer Thomas Quick, nears its close Wednesday as prosecutors rule whether to drop the eighth and final murder charge against the self-confessed cannibal.

Sture Bergwall, better known by his previous name Thomas Quick, is currently detained in the high-security psychiatric facility in Säter, central Sweden.

The 63-year-old's legal team on Tuesday told the Expressen newspaper that they had asked a local administrative board to review whether Bergwall should still be considered mentally ill, and, crucially, whether he poses a risk to the public if set free.

The Svenska Dagbladet newspaper reported that the head doctor at Säter recently ruled that Bergwall was still ill - a ruling that is now being contested.

Bergwall was at one time convicted of eight murders - which included elements of a sexual and cannibalistic nature, according to his own testimony. In 2008, he withdrew all his confessions. In May, the Swedish prosecutor's office dropped the seventh of those murder charges.

As the prosecutor's office prepares to issue its final verdict on the eighth case - the 1976 murder of Charles Zelmanovits - top prosecutors Håkan Nyman, Björn Ericsson and Anders Perklev will also on Wednesday offer their analysis of the drawn out legal drama and its consequences for the future.

The case against Bergwall unravelled after one police officer involved in the cases and the journalist Hannes Råstam dug into inconsistencies in the murders that he had confessed to. For example, Bergwall was taken to the scene of several murders and asked to reconstruct the violent events, but critics have said the police handled several of the reconstructions sloppily.

There have been accusations that information was inadvertently fed to Bergwall, allowing him to offer credible accounts of a long list of gruesome abductions and killings.

In a lengthy interview with GQ Magazine published on Tuesday, Bergwall himself said that a combination of being drugged up and his unwillingness to be released from detention as his sentence for a robbery ran out, made him admit to one murder after the other.

Bergwall himself commented on the move to have his psychiatric diagnosis reviewed on Tuesday, telling Expressen that the local administrative court was right to "distrust" the Säter institution's conclusion.

"It's good that an impartial judgement is being made," he told the paper.

TT/The Local/at

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