By Dan Josefsson. Publisher: Portobello Books Limited. Date: 2015.
Perhaps the most extraordinary case in Swedish legal history – the story of the man who confessed to mass murders he did not commit. Why did he do it? How could it happen? Once again, false memory and misguided therapy were behind this extraordinary example of injustice.
“…. 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.”
From the book summary.
In this case, the press was hardly to blame. The “serial killer” story was corroborated by the police, leading psychiatrists, the judiciary – which convicted him of eight of the murders – and by Quick himself. In fact, Quick was the sole original source of the story. He “confessed” to these murders before anyone had suspected him of any of them. No other evidence was ever produced for his involvement; not even “information that only the killer could have known”. That was usually found to have been gleaned from heavy hints by his interrogators, or from his own research in old provincial newspapers in the Stockholm city library. When Quick was taken to where he claimed to have buried the bodies, together with trained “cadaver dogs”, not a shred of body was found. (One bit of “bone” turned out later to be chipboard.) Without the police leading him on, his descriptions – of murder sites, the appearances of his victims, and the methods and weapons he had used – were nearly always wrong. In fact, of course, he hadn’t murdered anyone. Reading this account, it seems inexplicable that anyone could have thought that he did. That, of course, is the tabloid story now.
Guardian book review
This is investigative journalism at its best. It is a piece of cultural history. It is about a group of psychologists who fall prey to a delusional teacher. It is an exposé of our capacity as people to, when in need of acceptance and intimacy, discontinue to use our rational minds. It is the story of an extraordinary miscarriage of justice by both prosecution and defense. It is an embarrassing account for the media showing how they followed a story uncritically, blinded by the sheer sensation of it. The book ultimately is a lesson in humility. It is also completely engrossing and impossible to put down even the second time you read it!
If you are looking to read an expose of the corrupt, self promoting religion of “Recovered Memories” and its use in wrongful convictions around sexual abuse of children..look no further. Its not just Sweden, although they may have invented and nurtured this monster, its ethereal, poisonous, tentacles have destroyed lives in the USA, Canada and New Zealand, and doubtless other countries. This is the most focused book I have read on the topic.
I only have one complaint. No journalist or writer has ever really written about the fact that the lawyers, police and judges who have listened to this garbage with awestruck, open mouths and proceeded to destroy the lives of others using it, (and then found that it was really nonsense, as their convictions were overturned) go about THEIR lives unharmed and unconcerned about the devastation they have wrought. In fact one Canadian judges reaction was..well so what..his destruction is a warning to others !!!
Read this, and then watch “Indictment” the docudrama (on DVD) about the McMartin Trial.
To find out more please visit Amazon’s UK website.
There is also an extensive review on The Guardian website.