The Strange Case of Thomas Quick

The Swedish Serial Killer and the Psychoanalyst Who Created Him

Dan Josefsson

Published: 3 September 2015
Trade Paperback, Royal HB
156x234mm, 528 pages
ISBN: 9781846275760


In 1991 Sture Bergwall, a petty criminal and drug addict, botched an armed robbery so badly that he was deemed to be more in need of therapy than punishment. He was committed to Säter, Sweden's equivalent of Broadmoor, and began a course of psychotherapy and psychoactive drugs. During the therapy, he began to recover memories so vicious and traumatic that he had repressed them: sickening scenes of childhood abuse, incest and torture, which led to a series of brutal murders in his adult years. He eventually confessed to raping, killing and even eating more than 30 victims. Embracing the process of self-discovery, he took on a new name: Thomas Quick. He was brought to trial and convicted of eight of the murders.

In 2008, his confessions were proven to be entirely fabricated, and every single conviction was overturned.

In this gripping book, Dan Josefsson uncovers the tangled web of deceptions and delusions that emerged within the Quick team. He reveals how a sick prisoner and mental patient, addled with prescription drugs and desperate for validation, allowed himself to become a case study for a sect-like group of therapists who practiced the controversial method of 'recovered' memory therapy. The group's leader, psychoanalyst Margit Norell, hoped that her vast study of Thomas Quick would make history... And the more lies Quick told, the better he was treated: the supposedly most dangerous serial killer and sexual predator in Sweden was practically free to come and go as he wanted.

This is a study of psychoanalytic ambition and delusion, and the scandalous miscarriage of justice that it led to, written by one of Sweden's foremost investigative journalists.

About the author


‘A disturbing yet fascinating exposé’ Lesley McDowell



‘A genuine scoop... crisply and convincingly portrayed... Read Josefsson's well-documented book and be amazed’ Jan Eklund

‘A psychologically thrilling nightmare’ Jan Guillou

‘A tumultuous, astonishing, gripping true story of the self-confessed murderer who didn't kill, and the analysts who didn't analyse. No work of fiction could be more unexpected, remarkable or troubling’ Philippe Sands, author and human rights lawyer

‘An important and disturbing book about the way that the courts, the police and the psychiatric profession can, and occasionally do, fall prey to delusions; a masterclass in investigative journalism’ Ian Cobain, author

‘Brilliantly researched [and] immensely readable in this fine translation by Anna Paterson’ Bernard Porter

‘Compelling... a cautionary tale [that's] worth reading’ Joan Smith

‘The best thing I have read of this genre’

‘This fascinating tale sounds a powerful warning - stronger than any other miscarriage of justice - of forensic psychiatry turned to junk-science. Any professional tempted to rely on "recovered memory" should read this book’ Chris Stone, President of the Open Society Foundations

‘Utterly convincing... a shocking read [and] a journalistic and literary masterpiece’ Johan Croneman

‘Well-written, exciting and thoroughly researched’ Ulrika Knutson

‘Why would an innocent man confess to rape, murder and cannibalism? Isn't self-incrimination the best form of evidence? As this Swedish travesty shows, miscarriages of justice come in many forms and legal myths need to be shattered. Josefsson's brilliant journalistic sleuthing exposes the hubris of professionals who make the evidence fit their biases. Gripping, rigorous and page turning - this is an amazing and utterly shocking book’ Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

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