This is a strange tale, a really strange tale. It truly is a modern mystery that has still not really been unravelled….Even if there is no conspiracy involved (which we’ll come to later) it is one of the most bizarre chain of events ever captured live by TV cameras in the UK.
There have been a few threads about this story on ATS in the past. But its 8 years on now from the incident. And no one really could be bothered with a full write up of what happened. Nor do we really know what happened to this day?
So let’s start at the beginning of the madness shall we?
You may remember Saturday 17th May 2008? It was the day Portsmouth beat Cardiff in the English FA Cup Final. That was odd as one of the teams wasn’t even English.
It is also the day a chain of ‘very odd’ events begin, involving Swedish twin sisters, Ursula and Sabina Eriksson after they board a ‘National Express’ bus from Liverpool to London ……
Things begin to turn weird when the bus driver stops at Keele Services off the M6 motorway in Staffordshire. He refuses to continue to travel as Sabina and Ursula are acting suspiciously. The Keele Site supervisor suspects they may be carrying a bomb as they are clinging tightly to their bags and asks the police to intervene. The police arrive and speak to the twins but decide there is no threat. They leave them free to continue their journey on the next bus to London.
The Eriksson sisters however do not wait for the bus and leave the motorway services area on foot. They begin to walk down the M6 motorway and are disrupting traffic trying to cross the motorway.
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.
If you’d prefer to watch first then here is the BBC documentary. If you read the whole thread first then please come back here to watch it.
The first few minutes are compelling viewing.
Madness and Mayhem on the Motorway
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 traveling 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.
A police officer rushes to Ursula expecting the worst. Ursula, despite being hit by a HGV, is amazingly conscious and shouting for the police. Trying to calm her the officer says “We’re police, we’re here to help”. Ursula cryptically states “…I know you’re not real” and despite her condition mouths expletives and spits at the officers in attendance.
Meanwhile Sabina appears calm while she is being treated for injuries on the ground. She suddenly becomes aware of her surroundings mumbles something about “They’re here to steal our organs”, then stands upright, unleashes a left hook which floors the female police officer now trying to restrain her, and dashes into oncoming traffic on the other side of the M6 motorway.
Officers chase her across the central barriers convinced she is high on drugs. Eventually with the assistance of members of the public the officers manage to restrain Sabina. It takes six people to bring a woman hit by a car under control still shouting “Call the police!” She is seemingly unaware that the police are the ones who are restraining her.
The medics on the scene insist Sabina is sedated before she is transported to hospital due to the violent state of mind she is in. The air ambulance is used to take, the more severely injured, Ursula to Stoke-on-Trent Hospital for emergency treatment.
Amazingly the sisters survive.
As the madness on the motorway comes to an end Sabina’s visor is left on the M6 carriageway showing the slogan “Time to Believe”.
After searching for identification the police also discover the sisters are identical twins and find a collection of mobile phones amongst their possessions. At this stage they are still none the wiser about whether they were drugged, psychotic or part of a suicide pact.
What happened on the M6 motorway on Saturday 17th May 2008 is only the first part of the story it really does get weirder.
Sabina in Custody
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. 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.
But then the story gets even more disturbing.
Free as a ‘Swedish’ Bird
Sabina then wanders the streets of Stoke-on-Trent until she asks two local men, Glenn Hollinshead and Peter Molloy, if there are any local places to stay for the night.
Hollinshead offers to put her up for the night before she finds her sister. Molloy also Hollinshead offers to put her up for the night before she finds her sister. Molloy also goes back to Hollinshead’s place for drinks but becomes increasingly disturbed by Sabina’s odd behavior. He notices her become visibly agitated, aggressive even, when he asks about her sister and that she keeps peering nervously out of the window.
She offers both men a cigarette but then, before they can light them, snatches them back, saying they might be poisoned. Molloy makes his excuses and leaves. Whilst Hollinshead seems not to be phased by Sabina and allows her to stay the night.
The Murder of Glenn Hollinshead
The following morning Hollinshead calls the local hospitals to try and track down Ursula. He then borrows a couple of teabags from his neighbor Frank Booth. Hollinshead then comes staggering out of the house shouting “She’s stabbed me” to Booth. Sadly Hollinshead does not survive the attack.
Meanwhile Sabina makes her escape from his home with a hammer in her hand. She inexplicably hits herself on the head with the hammer until her hair becomes matted with blood . Next a motorist, Joshua Grattage, sees Sabina wounding herself with the hammer and tries to tackle her and remove the hammer from her grip. Unfortunately he is stunned temporarily as Sabina strikes the back of his head with a roof tile she had in her pocket.
Next paramedics on the way to to assist her victim, Hollinshead, spot Sabina at Heron’s Cross hitting herself with the hammer. She reaches a bridge crossing the A50 and then leaps 40ft onto the main road below. Having broken bones in the fall Sabina is taken to hospital again. She is later arrested on June 6th 2008 whilst recovering in hospital and immediately charged with murder on her release on Sept 11th.
The Trial of Sabina Erikkson
Originally scheduled for February of 2009 the trial was postponed because of delays in getting Sabina’s medical records from Sweden to the UK.
Eriksson pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility on September 2nd 2009. Sabina would only respond with “no comment” under heavy questioning by the police and used the same ploy in court. She never explained her actions. Both the prosecution and defense claimed that Sabina was insane at the time of the killing whilst becoming perfectly sane at the time of her trial. They also believed she presented a low risk to the general public and their safety.
The defense counsel explained that Eriksson was a “secondary” sufferer of’ folie à deux’. A rare condition where she was being influenced by the presence, or perceived presence, of her twin sister. Ursula being the “primary” sufferer in this case.
Nottingham Crown Court accepted a plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility on September 2nd 2010. Sabina was then sentenced to five years in prison. But this would be reduced as to account for 439 days spent in custody before sentencing.
The judge presiding over the trial, 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.
Source : BBC news
Justice Saunders also stated :
“Sabina was suffering from delusions which she believed to be true and they dictated her behavior. It is not one of those cases where the defendant could have done something to avoid the onset.”
Source : Stoke Sentinel
Madness, Paranoia or Conspiracy?
The court ruling left Glenn Hollinshead’s brother, Jon, and many others, including Peter Molloy, deeply unsatisfied with the way the criminal justice system had handled the case. The local MP for Stoke even called for an investigation but none so far has been forthcoming.
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.
A book was released about this bizarre story in 2012 called “A Madness Shared by Two”. One of the authors, David Cann, believes something more was going on than meets the eye. That the UK authorities had the twins under observation due to links with a drug gang. He feels this explains an almost ‘hands off’ approach by the police with the twins . What was not originally revealed to the public was that when they arrived in Liverpool they visited St. Anne Street Police Station to report they were fleeing for their lives and that Sabina’s children had been kidnapped.
But there are plenty of other conspiracy theories out there:
– MK Ultra type mind control (mainly based around Sabina’s contrasting states of mind as seen in the BBC documentary).
– Creation of “Super Soldiers” (taken from the twins surviving road traffic accidents and having seemingly unbelievably high pain thresholds).
– Secret cloning used to create ‘organ donors’ (very similar to the ideas behind the film “The Island”). This is gleaned from Sabina crying out ““They’re here to steal our organs” as she is being treated on the motorway.
– Experiments linked to the VMAT2 – “God-gene” which seemed to suggest a drug could be used to change the way people think and act.
So where are the twins now?
Ursula returned to Washington State in the USA and, according to the Sacred Heart church’s website is deeply involved in it’s activities.
Meanwhile Sabina has supposedly returned to Scandinavia and was last reported as living in Norway. She appears to have also found solace in the Church.
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