Thomas Quick is a convicted Swedish serial killer who has confessed to more than 30 murders, although he has only eight convictions, two of which have been overturned. With no technical evidence, the only evidence police have held on Quick are his own confessions; elements in these confessions that have been judged to match classified facts from the police dossiers on the crimes in question (e.g. clothing and birthmarks of victims). The credibility of Quick’s confessions have been widely debated in the Swedish media. Critics of these confessions, and the trials, claim that Quick never murdered anyone, but that he is a compulsive liar. In December 2008 Quick recanted his confessions, and denied taking part in any of the murders for which he was convicted.
About 1990-91 Quick was sentenced to lengthy prison terms for armed robbery, and consigned to closed psychiatric care. During therapy he confessed to some 20 murders committed in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland between 1964 and 1993. One of his confessions led to the solving of an 18 year old murder considered to be unsolvable, and another to the informal solving of a murder in Växjö in 1964. The 1964 crime had passed the then Swedish 25-year limit of punition, but with the information given by Quick the murderer was considered to be found.
- Charles Zelmanovits (1976), sentenced in 1994 - confession but no forensic evidence
- Johan Asplund (1980), sentenced in 2001 - confession but no body or forensic evidence
- Stegehuis couple (1984), sentenced in 1996 - questionable confession but no forensic evidence
- Yenon Levi (1988), sentenced in 1997 - testimony but no forensic evidence (charges waived 09/2010)
- Therese Johannesen (1988), sentenced in 1998 - no forensic evidence (charges waived 03/2011)
- Trine Jensen (1981), sentenced in 2000 - no forensic evidence
- Gry Storvik (1985) - confession but no forensic evidence
In the years following 1990, when Quick was sentenced to closed psychiatric confinement, he confessed to several unsolved murders. His first murder, according to his own accounts, occurred in Växjö in 1964, when Quick was only 14 years old. The victim, Thomas Blomgren, was described by Quick as being the same age but not as strong and tall as himself. The second alleged victim was Alvar Larsson, whom Quick claimed to have murdered at Sirkön in the lake Åsnen outside the town of Urshult. According to Quick’s sister he never left Falun at the time of this murder. The credibility of Quick’s confessions had been widely debated in the Swedish media since 1993, up until 2008, when Quick withdrew all of his confessions. There have been consistent doubts about the reliability of his statements, and some of his confessions have been proven to be fabrications-in some cases the victims have turned up alive and well. Another dubious circumstance is the fact that no witnesses have ever testified to seeing Quick in the proximity of any of the crime scenes, even though more than 10,000 people were interviewed for intricate details.
Critics of these confessions and the trials claim that Quick never murdered anyone, but that he is a compulsive liar. Among the critics are the parents of a child he confessed to having murdered in the late 1970s. In response to these accusations, Quick himself wrote an article for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in 2001 in which he said that he refused to cooperate further with the authorities concerning all open murder investigations.
Quick withdrew all of his confessions in 2008 during the taping of a TV documentary. Quick’s attorney now contends that the prosecution withheld important investigative material from the defence (which the prosecution adamantly denies). Quick’s attorney also maintains that his client is mentally ill and had been under the influence of narcotics prescribed by a doctor when he confessed to the killings.