The Strange Case of Thomas Quick | Granta

  • Published: 03/09/2015
  • ISBN: 9781846275760
  • 154x20mm
  • 528 pages

The Strange Case of Thomas Quick

Dan Josefsson

Translated by Anna Paterson

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 S├Ąter, 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.

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, Cruel Britannia

Brilliantly researched [and] immensely readable in this fine translation by Anna Paterson

Bernard Porter, Guardian

The Author

DAN JOSEFSSON is an award-winning author, journalist and documentary-maker.

More about the author →