During the 1990s, Thomas Quick confessed to one unsolved murder after another, becoming, in the words of the father of one of his alleged victims, “a ghost who ran through Scandinavia killing more than 30 people”. The sadistic murderer was a media sensation and his bespectacled face stared out from front pages and television screens. The newspapers called him “the cannibal”. Thomas Quick became Sweden’s very own Hannibal Lecter.
But then, in 2001, he stopped co-operating with the police. He withdrew from public view and changed his name back to the one he was born with. In 2008, Hannes Råstam, one of Sweden’s most respected documentary-makers, became intrigued. He visited the former Thomas Quick, now known as Sture Bergwall, at Säter, trawled through the 50,000 pages of court documents, therapy notes and police interrogations and came to the startling conclusion that there was not a single shred of technical evidence for any of Bergwall’s convictions. There were no DNA traces, no murder weapons, no eyewitnesses – nothing apart from his confessions, many of which had been given when he was under the influence of narcotic-strength drugs. Confronted with Råstam’s discoveries, Bergwall admitted the unthinkable. He said he had fabricated the entire story.