Fake 'Hannibal Lecter' Freed After 20 Years
Sweden's Sture Bergwall, aka Thomas Quick, lied about committing 8 murders
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2014 9:19 AM CDT
This file photo, dated April 15, 2010, shows Sture Bergwall in Stockholm, Sweden.   (AP Photo/Yvonne Asell, File)

(Newser) – Yesterday, the man who once proclaimed himself "Sweden's answer to Hannibal Lecter" became a free man. Sture Bergwall—better known to most in Sweden as Thomas Quick, a combination of his mother's maiden name (Quick) and the first name of the 14-year-old boy he confessed was his first murder victim—has claimed credit for roughly 30 murders, and was between 1994 and 2001 convicted for eight. He confessed to raping children, and cannibalizing at least one victim. But a court ordered the 63-year-old freed for one simple reason: He made all of it up.

Bergwall decided to become a fake monster in 1991 to avoid being released from a psychiatric ward, Time explains. He combed its library for famous unsolved murders and claimed credit for them, saying he'd been driven to the deeds by repressed childhood trauma. He often got case details wrong, but those errors were brushed aside as evidence of just how painful his repressed memories were. He finally came clean to a Swedish filmmaker in 2008, according to this in-depth GQ profile, but he's been kept in the mental institution while awaiting word on whether it was safe to release him. He is now considering seeking damages, his lawyer tells Reuters.