Sture Bergwall was freed after 20 years. The man referred to as Sweden's Hannibal Lecter admitted that he falsely confessed to killing at least eight people.
Bergwall, also known as Thomas Quick, confessed in such detail that he was convicted of eight murders. The heinous murders earned him notoriety as Sweden's most brutal serial killer.
As reported by Murderpedia, Bergwall was convicted of brutally killing Charles Zelmanovits, Johan Asplund, Mr. and Mrs. Stegehuis, Yenon Levi, Therese Johansen, Trine Jensen, and Gry Storvik.
Bergwall was convicted on circumstantial evidence and his own confessions. In addition to the eight convictions, he confessed to at least 30 other killings -- in detail.
Bergwall confessed to raping, killing, mutilating, and sometimes eating, his victims.
His ordeal began in the early 1991. Bergwall was convicted of armed robbery, and sentenced to a mental health facility. While under psychiatric care, he began confessing to unsolved murders.
He reportedly researched the crimes from within the facility. He eventually took on a new persona, referring to himself as Thomas Quick.
Bergwall blames his confession on the side-effects of his psychiatric medication, and a need for attention. As reported by International Business Times, Bergwall explains:
"If I hadn't accepted therapy and benzodiazepines, no Thomas Quick would have been created... in that lies the guilt that I must carry to my grave with respect to the relatives of the victims, their suffering during the Thomas Quick years."
Sture Bergwall was freed on all eight counts of murder. It took 20 years to unravel his detailed confessions.
Controversy has surrounded his case for decades. As he was convicted solely on his confessions, which were bizarre, many felt the evidence was lacking. Others criticized the court for convicting a man who was quite obviously mentally ill.
Attorney general Anders Perklev discusses Bergwall's innocence:
"That a person has been convicted of eight murders and later been declared innocent, that is unique in Swedish legal history... It has to be considered as a big failure for the justice system."Sture Bergwall was freed on his murder convictions. However, he will remain in custody of the mental facility, pending evaluation. He is no longer being held criminally, but doctors are unsure if he is fit for release.
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