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Ursula makes the first dash into the oncoming traffic – Sabina soon follows her… The Bizarre Case Of Twins Ursula And Sabina Eriksson.

The Strange Case of The Eriksson Sisters

This is a strange tale, a really strange tale. It truly is a modern mystery that has still not really been unravelled…. it is one of the most bizarre chain of events ever captured live by TV cameras in the UK.

Swedish twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson became known in 2008 after the pair went on a spree of violence. The two first caught the attention of the world after they both decided to run into a busy highway. After Sabina was struck by the truck, she told officers, “We say in Sweden that an accident rarely comes alone. Usually at least one more follows – maybe two.” She also exclaimed the following: “They’re going to steal your organs. I recognize you – I know you’re not real.”

After Sabina had sprinted out in front of traffic, Ursula decided to do the same. She ended with with a broken leg and other immobilizing injuries, yet also tried her best to fight off the cops.

Sabina was taken into custody and then released. Following her release, she murdered Glenn Hollinshead with a knife and then hurled herself off a 40-foot bridge. Wildly enough, she survived the plunge and is still alive today.

Be warned, the video is disturbing to watch

Twins are said to share a bond that can defy scientific explanation. Dark stories of creepy twins say that the connection forged in the womb allows twins to feel one another’s pain, or even communicate via ESP. For Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, their bond took them on a bizarre trip – one that involved attempted suicide, superhuman strength, reality television, and even murder.

The Swedish Eriksson twins made headlines after a series of strange events took place in the United Kingdom. The truly bizarre story and its aftermath has left authorities and physicians puzzled. What exactly happened that caused the twins to snap? Did they really experience a shared psychosis?

Ultimately, the only people who can know what happened to the Eriksson sisters are Ursula and Sabina themselves. But their strange case is darkly fascinating all the same.

The Eriksson sisters’ strange trip began in May of 2008, when Ursula – who had been living in the U.S. at the time – decided to visit her twin sister Sabina in County Cork, Ireland. Within 24 hours of her arrival, the two took a ferry to Liverpool.

Upon arriving in the English port city, the twins paid a visit to the St. Anne Street Police Station to report concerns over Sabina’s children, whom she had left with her partner back in Ireland. From there, the Eriksson sisters boarded a National Express coach to London, where their behaviour would take a more erratic turn.

Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, identical twin sisters, grew up in Sunne, Värmland, in western Sweden with their older brother. The twins had been in Ireland before travelling to England and boarding a bus for London at Liverpool.

In Liverpool, at 8:30 am on 17 May, Saturday, the twins went into St Anne Street Police Station to report concerns over Sabina’s children. At midday the pair boarded a National Express bus to London. A police report stated that the twins suddenly disembarked from the bus at Keele services, a motorway service station, as they were not feeling well. The driver of the bus, however, said he left them at Keele services after becoming suspicious of their behaviour.

He noticed the twins clinging tightly to their bags and did not let them re-board because they refused to let him search their bags for illegal items. The manager of the service station was informed and, also feeling suspicious of the pair, called the police. Officers arrived to talk to them but left after deeming the women harmless

Their odd behaviour after exiting the bus at a service station on the M6 – including not allowing the bags they were clutching to be searched – caused the driver not to allow them back on the bus.

The Eriksson sisters begin to walk down the M6 motorway and are disrupting traffic trying to cross the motorway.

The two were later seen on the central reservation of the M6. When Highways Agency Traffic Officers arrived to assist the women, they ran across the busy motorway. Ursula managed to dodge traffic; Sabina was first struck by a SEAT León.

Ursula and Sabina Eriksson collage. Police arrive on the M6, slightly baffled, to find both sisters standing on the hard shoulder of the motorway casually smoking cigarettes. They speak to the pair when all of a sudden Ursula runs into the path of a 40ft truck travelling at around 55mph shattering her legs. Seconds later Sabina follows her and is thrown into the air as she collides with another vehicle in the inside lane.

As seen on closed-circuit television cameras, the pair departed the services on foot and began to walk down the central reservation of the M6 motorway before attempting to cross the motorway, causing chaos to the traffic and picking up minor injuries in the attempt. Their elder brother claimed in a Swedish newspaper that his sisters were fleeing from maniacs who were chasing them. The UK Highways agency is monitoring this situation on CCTV. One of the sisters appears to have been hit by a vehicle as she runs onto the carriageway. So they dispatch paramedics and a police patrol to investigate an accident. A BBC camera crew are filming a documentary series “Motorway Cops”. Consequently the initial events of the incident are captured on film for all to see.

Sabina later told an officer at the police station, “We say in Sweden that an accident rarely comes alone. Usually at least one more follows – maybe two.”

Standing on the north direction hard shoulder of the motorway, just north of Three Mile Lane, the police spoke to a Highways Agency Traffic Officer apprising them of the situation when, without warning, Ursula ran into the side of an oncoming Mercedes-Benz Actros 2546 articulated lorry travelling at around 56 mph (90 km/h). Sabina then followed her into the road and was hit by a Volkswagen Polo travelling at high speed; both survived. Ursula was immobilized as the lorry had crushed her legs. Sabina spent fifteen minutes unconscious.

The pair were treated by paramedics; however both women resisted medical aid, fighting and screaming at the paramedics and police officers. Sabina shouted “They’re going to steal your organs” and Ursula told the policemen restraining her, “I recognise you – I know you’re not real.”

Sabina got to her feet, whereupon a policewoman attempted to persuade her to stay on the ground and receive further medical attention. Sabina instead struck the officer and crossed the central reservation again, running into traffic on the other side of the motorway. Emergency workers and several members of the public caught up with her, restrained her, and carried her to a waiting ambulance, at which point she was sedated. Ursula was also taken to hospital where she stayed for weeks.

Doctors couldn’t explain why the twins persistently ran into oncoming traffic, but some believed Sabina and Ursula had experienced a shared psychosis. The psychological disorder begins in the mind of one individual whose delusions are transmitted into another person.

CCTV cameras capture the images of Sabina and Ursula creeping into the frame, hopping over the guard rail and running into the road without hesitation. Panic and chaos ensue as cars attempt to swerve out of the way to avoid the women; however, the sisters were unable to escape the fenders of the speeding cars.

After arriving in the ‘Accident & Emergency’ unit at hospital Ursula’ is in critical condition and given emergency surgery. Sabina, despite being hit by a car and sent reeling into the air, is given an ‘all clear’ five hours later.

Sabina suffered a serious head injury that left her unconscious for several minutes. When Sabina regained consciousness, she refused medical aid and attacked a police officer, at which point she was arrested. Expecting resistance at being taken into custody police officers are now surprised how calm and placid Sabina is.

Footage of Sabina in the police station shows her joking with officers and even being slightly flirty with a male police officer. This is in total contrast with her earlier behaviour. But she also makes another cryptic statement to one of the custody officers:
“We say in Sweden that an accident rarely comes alone. Usually at least one more follows – maybe two.”

No evidence of drug taking is discovered after tests and nothing in the twin’s possessions led anyone to believe they were taking any sort of medication or illegal substance. Nor do records show previous convictions or any mental illness.
The custody officer also notes that Sabina never once asks about the welfare of her sister, Ursula. He concludes that she was rather odd. He points out that being odd is not a crime and how no one could predict what she was about to do in the days that followed.
Sabina is charged with assault of a police officer and trespassing onto a motorway. Ursula remains in hospital and will never face charges. Police contact Sabina’s partner in Ireland who mysteriously claims he has no idea where she is or what she is doing in the UK. He states Ursula arrived from her residence in the USA to visit Sabina at their home in Cork. The twins then became virtually inseparable and then…..they both vanished.
Sabina is freed from custody and pleads guilty two days later to trespassing on a motorway. She is sentenced to a day in custody which she has already served. So the court releases her.

On 19 May 2008, Sabina was released from court without a full psychiatric evaluation having pleaded guilty to trespass on the motorway and hitting a police officer. The court sentenced her to one day in custody which she had been deemed to have served having spent a full night in police custody. Leaving court she began to wander the streets of Stoke-on-Trent, seemingly attempting to reach her sister in hospital, carrying her possessions in a clear plastic bag given to her by police.

Following the shared psychotic episode, Ursula was hospitalized in a mental facility for three months.

Shocking! Sabina is tossed into the air by a VW Polo in the inside lane of the M6 Motorway.

At 19:00, two local men spotted Sabina whilst walking a dog on Christchurch Street, Fenton. One of the men was 54-year-old Glenn Hollinshead – a self-employed welder, qualified paramedic, and former RAF worker. The other man was his friend Peter Molloy. Sabina appeared friendly and stroked the dog as the three people struck up a conversation. Although friendly, Sabina appeared to be behaving oddly and this odd behaviour worried Molloy. Sabina asked the two men for directions to any nearby bed and breakfasts or hotels. Hollinshead took pity upon her and instead offered to take her back to his house at Duke Street, Fenton. Sabina accepted the offer and the three walked to the house, as Sabina told the men how she was trying to locate her hospitalised sister.

Back at the house her odd behaviour continued; most notably she offered the men cigarettes, only to quickly snatch them out of their mouths as the men smoked them, claiming the cigarettes to be poisoned. She was also carrying multiple mobile phones, as well as a laptop. She appeared to be paranoid and constantly looked out of the windows; this behaviour caused Molloy to assume that she had run away from an abusive partner. Shortly before midnight Molloy left the two, and Sabina stayed the night in Hollinshead’s home.

The next day, 20 May, Hollinshead called the local hospitals in order to locate Sabina’s sister Ursula. At 19:40, Hollinshead came outside of the house to ask a neighbour, Frank Booth, for tea bags. Frank said he would get the tea bags once he had finished washing his vehicle, and Hollinshead went back to his home. One minute after returning inside he staggered back outside to the neighbour and told him “she stabbed me”, before collapsing to the ground. Sabina had stabbed him five times with a kitchen knife and Hollinshead died from his injuries. Sabina fled the premises and the neighbour dialled 999.

Surprisingly, both twins survived the incident and were taken to a hospital for treatment and evaluation—but not without putting up a fight. The duo fought police and paramedics, insisting someone was trying to take their organs, and shouted at the individuals who were trying to help them.

Sabina ran out of the house with a hammer, periodically hitting herself over the head with it. As paramedics unsuccessfully tried to save him, Sabina was seen nearby hitting herself on the head with a hammer before jumping off a 40-foot bridge onto the A50.

A passing motorist, Joshua Grattage, saw this extraordinary behaviour and decided to tackle her in an attempt to take control of the hammer. While wrestling with Grattage, Sabina took a roof tile out of her pocket and struck him on the back of the head with it, stunning him temporarily.

By this time paramedics had found her and gave chase. The pursuit was ended at Heron Cross when Sabina jumped from a 12-metre (40 ft) high bridge onto the A50. She suffered broken bones in the fall but after she recovered she refused to offer any explanation about what had happened.

On 6 June 2008 she was arrested while recovering at University Hospital of North Staffordshire, and was later discharged from hospital on 11 September, at which point she was charged with murder.

Sabina’s course of action in Fenton.

Sabina Eriksson, 41, had knifed Hollinshead four times at his home where he had invited her to stay after she asked him for directions to a bed and breakfast.

A psychiatrist later found Eriksson, a Swedish national, was suffering from a delusional disorder which could provoke her to use extreme violence.

Hollinshead’s devastated family demanded to know why the extent of of her mental illness was not detected when she was held over her antics on the M6, which were screened on the BBC’s Traffic Cops show.

His brother, Garry Hollinshead,  said: ‘I do question the criminal justice system for allowing somebody like this to be let out when she is capable of committing such a crime. ‘Her mental condition should have been properly assessed after what she did on the motorway and the experiences the police had. Her mental disorder should have been picked up prior to her being let out in to the community.’

Sabina Eriksson was charged with murder on 11 September 2008, the same day she was discharged from hospital in a wheelchair. The trial was scheduled for February 2009, but was adjourned after the court encountered difficulties in obtaining her medical records from Sweden. The trial was then scheduled to start on 1 September 2009.

Sabina Eriksson pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility on 2 September 2009. At no point during her interrogation or during the trial did she explain her actions, only replying “no comment” to extensive police questioning. Both the prosecution and defence claimed that Sabina was insane at the time of the killing, although she was sane at the time of her trial. The defence counsel in the trial claimed that Eriksson was a “secondary” sufferer of folie à deux, influenced by the presence or perceived presence of her twin sister – the “primary” sufferer. The court also heard that she had suffered from a rare psychiatric disorder which made her hear voices, but could not interpret what they said, as well as an alternative theory that she had suffered from acute polymorphic delusional disorder.

Psychiatrists told Luton Crown Court that the mother-of-two was suffering from either induced delusional disorder or acute polymorphic disorder, which were both rare.

Dr Carol McDaniel said: “Sabina said she heard voices but could not interpret what they were saying.”

The plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted at Nottingham Crown Court on 2 September 2010. Sabina was sentenced to five years in prison. Having already spent 439 days in custody before sentencing, this left her first eligible for release in 2011. In prison she turned to Christianity.
Mr Justice Saunders concluded that Sabina had a “low” level of culpability for her actions.

I understand that this sentence will seem entirely inadequate to the relatives of the deceased. However, I have sentenced on the basis that the reason for the killing was the mental illness and therefore the culpability of the defendant is low and therefore the sentence I have passed is designed to protect the public. It is not designed to reflect the grief the relatives have suffered or to measure the value of Mr Hollinshead’s life. No sentence that I could pass could do that. It is a sentence which I hope fairly measures a truly tragic event.

Mr Justice Saunders also said that:

[Sabina was] suffering from delusions which she believed to be true and they dictated her behaviour. It is not one of those cases where the defendant could have done something to avoid the onset.

Many questions were left unanswered, and Detective Superintendent Dave Garrett stated that “the reasons for the two events may never be truly known or understood but the taking of Glenn’s life was a violent and senseless act”.

Some called for an investigation into the way the criminal justice system handled the matter. So is the folie à deux’ explanation enough to explain this very strange set of events and the mindset of Sabina Erikkson?

Why was nothing seemingly done about the “Primary Sufferer”, her sister Ursula? Ursula was never charged with any offence at all?

Garry Hollinshead, brother of the man killed by Sabina, was critical of the justice system which he viewed as enabling Sabina to kill his brother.

“We don’t hold her responsible, the same as we wouldn’t blame a rabid dog for biting someone. She is ill and to a large degree, not responsible for her actions. But her mental disorder should have been recognized much earlier.”

“I do question the criminal justice system for allowing somebody like this to be let out when she is capable of committing such a crime. Her mental condition should have been properly assessed after what she did on the motorway and the experiences the police had. Her mental disorder should have been picked up prior to her being let out in to the community… [Glenn] saw Eriksson in distress and was just trying to help. He wasn’t slow in coming forward to help somebody in distress. It was in his nature. He was trying to help. He would help anybody. If he saw a fight in the street and a guy was losing he would help.”

No one really knows what happened with Sabina and Ursula that day on the motorway. The close bond the pair shared led to a shared mental breakdown that ended tragically. The Eriksson’s relationship is comparable to the relationship of the Silent Twins, who shared an unhealthy co-dependency until death.

A BBC documentary MADNESS IN THE FAST LANE was made on the Eriksson sisters, and featured the unsettling footage of their dance with death on the motorway. You can view the documentary below, but be warned, the video is disturbing to watch.

Madness in the Fast Lane – Swedish Sisters Documentary

Madness in the Fast Lane is the BBC documentary, first broadcast on BBC One on 10 August 2010, which brought the story of Sabina and Ursula Eriksson and the killing of Glen Hollinshead into the public consciousness. The footage on the M6 motorway of the two women jumping into the passing traffic had previously been broadcast on Motorway Cops, but this was the first time the rest of the story had been told.

Those who were at the centre of this fascinating legal case, including the police and Crown prosecution service, reveal the complex issues involved in both bringing charges and taking this disturbing case to trial.

A leading criminal psychiatrist, Dr. Nigel Eastman, explains the difficulties the judicial system has in achieving justice and deciding punishment when dealing with mental illness. He explains the possible causes of the womens’ behaviour, and why, in his view, it could happen again.

 


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