• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Cleared serial killer to claim damages

AFP · 22 Mar 2014, 07:54

Published: 22 Mar 2014 07:54 GMT+01:00

 
"What happened was lamentable, we're talking about murder verdicts in eight cases, something that should not happen," he told AFP in an email interview, two days after his release, adding that his lawyer had started to work on a claim for damages.
 
"The Swedish judiciary has been naive ... It's very frightening that I could have been convicted -- and of course it raises the question of how many more innocent people have been convicted."
 
Sture Bergwall, 64 -- who used the alias Thomas Quick during the 1990s when he confessed to cannibalism and more than 30 murders -- was convicted to life imprisonment for eight of them and held at a psychiatric ward in Säter in north central Sweden since 1991.
 
He was later cleared of all the murders due to lack of evidence, amid revelations that he had been heavily medicated at the time of the confessions and had made them in return for more drugs and in order to seek attention.
 
As a free man he said he would spend his time walking in the countryside and writing a new book -- a follow up to his 2009 book "Thomas Quick is Dead", a phrase he has often used to describe the point where he dropped the pretence of being a psychotic killer.
 
That point came in 2008 in a Swedish TV documentary in which he withdrew his confessions.
 
By then he had earned an international reputation as Sweden's Hannibal Lecter.
 
"As Thomas Quick the comparison is maybe true but Thomas Quick is dead and there ends all similarities," he told AFP.
 
The court ruling that freed Bergwall said he still suffered from the same "personality disorder" and needs psychiatric treatment as an outpatient, which he contests.
 
"The chief medical officer and the whole forensic psychiatry unit is fighting for its reputation. They could hold me locked up year after year and now they don't hesitate to keep to a false diagnosis that others have completely rejected," he wrote.
 
"It's shameful and a part of this legal and healthcare scandal."    
 
Story continues below…
But some analysts suggest that a claim for damages may be far from straightforward given that Bergwall contributed to putting himself behind bars by confessing to crimes he did not commit.
 
His convictions have been dubbed Sweden's greatest miscarriage of justice in recent times because of the swiftness with which he was found guilty of the eight murders, which occurred between 1976 and 1988.
 
A number of high-ranking opposition politicians and legal experts have called for an independent commission to examine how Swedish courts could have convicted him despite the lack of evidence.
 
Justice Minister Beatrice Ask announced an inquiry in 2013.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Mum gives birth on toilet after being told to take paracetamol
File photo of a baby not related to the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A woman has described how she was told to take a painkiller when she phoned a hospital in Ystad, southern Sweden, in pain. Just moments later she gave birth to a baby in the toilet.

Indians in Sweden told to be wary of travel document scam
File photo of a man using a phone not related to the story. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Embassy of India in Stockholm has urged Indian citizens in Sweden to be wary of scammers who ask for money to fix fabricated errors in travel documents.

Swedes shell out for season's first lobster
Meet Pontus Johansson and his lobster. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Best not to look at the price tag.

Witnesses 'afraid to talk' to police about Malmö shooting
Police investigating the shooting in Malmö. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Police are appealing for witnesses to a shooting which killed a man and injured three in a residential street of Malmö – but it is an uphill battle.

Opinion
Swedish leaders need to be prepared for tech challenges
Will robots take over your jobs? Photo: Eric Piermont/AP

Will your job still exist in ten years' time? How will society and businesses adapt to the advancements that are on their way?

Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape'
Tech star Tayyab Shabab, who is being threatened with deportation. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish politicians are keen to talk up the country's startups – but their migration rules threaten to strangle them, argues The Local's managing editor James Savage.

Startup heavyweights back tech ace told to leave Sweden
Spotify founder Daniel Ek is one of the big tech names backing Tayyab Shabab (right). Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SvD/TT & personal

Major names in the tech community have rallied behind a developer who was told he must leave Sweden within a month due to an admin error made by his former employer.

Why Sweden could deport hundreds of refugee children
A home for lone refugee children in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Several hundred lone refugee children could now be sent home from Sweden due to a change in how the rule on exceptional circumstances is applied when making asylum decisions.

Rare and horny ox spotted looking for ladies in Sweden
The ox in question. Photo: Pia Jäderberg

Unfortunately he isn't likely to be successful.

Russian bombers spook Sweden-bound flight
A Russian Tupolev bomber not related to the story. Photo: STR/TT

A flight bound for Stockholm from Reykjavik got a nasty surprise last week when its pilot spotted two Russian bombers from his window.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,963
jobs available