Cleared serial killer freed from psychiatric care

A Swedish court has ruled that Sture Bergwall, who was cleared of murder a year ago after over 20 years locked up as Sweden's most prolific serial killer, is no longer obliged to undergo assisted psychiatric treatment.

Cleared serial killer freed from psychiatric care
Sture Bergwall after a court ordered he no longer has to undergo psychiatric treatment. Photo: Ulf Palm/TT

“It feels wonderful, of course,” Bergwall told reporters waiting outside the administrative court in the town of Falun on Thursday. “I am completely free now.”

Sture Bergwall, 65 – 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.

Last year's court ruling that freed Bergwall said he still suffered from the same “personality disorder” and needed psychiatric treatment as an outpatient, which he has contested.

The court ruled on Thursday to end his 23 years in total of psychiatric treatment.

Bergwall has been a prolific blogger and Twitter user in the past years and confirmed today's court ruling on the social media site, writing "Free! Free for real!"

“Sture Bergwall is now a free man and can turn over a leaf after these years,” his legal representative Anwar Osman told Swedish news agency TT on Thursday and added that a claim for damages was still being worked on.

Bergwall's turning point came in 2008 when he withdrew his many confessions in a Swedish TV documentary. Until then he had gained an international reputation as Sweden's Hannibal Lecter.

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 government inquiry into the judicial process surrounding Bergwall's convictions is ongoing, with a report expected to be presented this summer.