Did anyone watch Debate on SVT1 tonight? I'm watching it online now. The topic was Thomas Quick, on the occasion of his getting one of his eight murder convictions retried by the courts. Kudos to him, and to Hannes Råstam and all his other supporters.
Info for the non-initiated: Thomas Quick is the nom de plume, or should I say nom du guerre, of Sweden's first and AFAIK only serial killer, Sture Bergwall. Actually, I tell a lie. He's incarcerated for serial murder, but he's never killed anyone. Believe it or not.
The debate is really interesting, there are people saying that he must be guilty and others saying that he can't possibly be. After seeing Råstam's documentary on the case, Thomas Quick - The Creation of a Serial Killer (2008) I am (obviously) in the latter camp. Just what little insight the documentary gives into the Quick investigation is staggering. Sweden prides itself on being a society with a highly functioning legal system, so it's almost unbelievable that something like this could even happen ... but I for one am certain that it has.
Sture Bergwall has been tried and sentenced for eight murders on literally not a shred of evidence. All they've got are his confessions, but what are they worth? He's confessed to murdering people who are still alive. At least one of these murders he cannot possibly have committed, he knew nothing of the victim or the place where she was taken - until the police officers in charge of the investigation told him. That's where the solution lies, I think, to how this whole thing can have happened - all the people who have basically made their careers on this case. Christer van der Kwast, Birgitta Ståhle and Seppo Penttinen first and foremost. (None of whom had the balls to take part in the debate tonight.) These three should be facing a court alongside Bergwall, if you ask me.
There are three things that are so wrong with this case. In ascending order of magnitude: First, these convictions are violations of the bereaved of the victims, in that they are now expected to settle down and accept an invented truth about the fate of their loved ones. These people are being lied to in the worst way. Second, the whole case is an extreme violation of the rights of a mentally ill man who has been abused and exploited, turned into a drug addict even, by a group of supposedly professional people who have used him for their own ends in the worst way. I'd be interested in seeing what the Human Rights Tribunal in The Hague would have to say about this case. But the third point should perhaps take precedence - because of the way this so-called investigation has been handled, there is now most likely a number of murderers walking freely about in both Sweden and Norway while Bergwall is serving their time.
Sture Bergwall is a criminal, I'm not saying he's not. But his crimes were committed forty years ago, and among them murder can in all overwhelming likelihood not be numbered. One thing I'm completely certain of: Bergwall never in his life set eyes on Therese Johannesen, and he absolutely did not kill her. Who did? I wonder if we'll ever know, since both Norwegian and Swedish police have accepted her as one of Quick's victims. But her real killer has never been caught - he may be your neighbor, dear reader - and her remains have never been found. The piece of bone from her body that Thomas Quick identified for the investigators wasn't even human bone at all, it was just a piece of old wood. Yet on the strength of that find, he was convicted of her murder.
I know, it almost defies belief, doesn't it? Free Sture Bergwall. Or at least follow him on Twitter.
22 hours ago