The title meaning ‘shared psychosis’ and is a rare disorder when seemingly delusional beliefs are somehow transmitted from one person to another.

A case of this may be cited as that of Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, Swedish twin sisters, born in 1967 who were involved in strange events on the M6 motorway and the subsequent murder of Glen Hollinshead from Fenton, Staffordshire, U.K.

The women had been travelling in Ireland before they came to England, they got on a coach in Liverpool to go to London. Their behavior was odd and the coach driver would not allow them to get on again after exiting it at a service station on the M6.

Highways Agency Traffic officers were called out, the two were seen at the central reservation on the M6 and they ran across the motorway, Ursula dodged traffic but Sabina was struck and the police arrived. Shortly after they did the woman again ran out into the motorway. They now had Ursula with serious leg injuries and Sabina who was unconscious for several minutes due to head injuries. They were both treated by paramedics but both were resisting treatment.

Sabina was shouting out “they’re going to steal your organs” and “I recognize you – I know you’re not real” amongst a stream of profanities. Sabina refused to lay still and even struck a female officer before the public, police and emergency workers all managed to get her and she could be sedated and taken to hospital. Ursula stayed in hospital for several weeks.

Here is where it really seems to have fallen apart, 19th May 2008 Sabina was allowed to go. She was not given a full psychiatric evaluation and she pleaded guilty to her actions, she had been detained long enough supposedly and then headed out with her possessions in clear plastic bag, she was around Stoke-On-Trent and it was assumed she was off to rejoin her sister.

At 7pm that evening she was seen by two local men whilst they were walking a dog. Glenn Hollinshead was a 54 year old welder, he was also a qualified paramedic and former RAF worker. The other man was his best friend Peter Molloy, she seemed friendly enough as they talked but her behaviour seemed odd and so Molloy was uneasy about her.

She asked about a bed and breakfast but Hollinshead took pity on her and offered to let her stay at his place on Duke Street. She explained to them that she was trying to find her sister who had been hospitalized. At the house her strange ways continued, she offered them cigarettes and when they took them to smoke she snatched them back, saying that they were poisonous. She also had multiple phones and a laptop. Her behaviour was very paranoid and Molloy thought that maybe she was trying to flee an abusive partner.

Molloy left just before midnight, Sabina stayed for the evening and the following day he called hospitals to find Ursula. At 19:40 the next evening he borrowed tea bags from his neighbour, Frank Booth, and went back inside. A minute later he staggered back out saying that he had been stabbed by Sabina and Booth called 999.

Sabina had stabbed him five times and fled, she had murdered the person that had given her shelter for seemingly no reason at all. She had, herself, ran from the house in possession of a hammer which she hit herself over the head with and was seen by a passing motorist. The motorist was Joshua Grattage who tried to stop her, Sabina then pulled a roof tile from her pocket and hit him over the head with it. By this time the paramedics had found her and were taking chase, she then jumped 40 feet down from a bridge on to the A50, with broken ones she was finally taken to hospital.

She was arrested 6th June 2008 and charged with murder. The trial was scheduled for February 2009 and had to be adjourned as they had difficulty getting hold of her medical records from Sweden. On 2nd September 2009 Sabina plead guilty with diminished responsibility. There was never an explanation for her actions provided. Whilst seemingly sane in appearance the prosecution and defense used insanity for their case and whilst in prison she turned to Christianity. Ursula went back to Sweden and then went to the USA.

There is a suggestion that the incident was also worsened by the police arrival, the officer is there telling her that he is there to help and even with the damage to her legs Ursula was still trying to get up, she was repeatedly saying that they were not real. Once sedated it seems that Sabina was calmer and more rational, what was found out is that Ursula was the one with the history of mental illness and some wonder if that was transferred to Sabina somehow.

PCP has been put forwards as a possible explanation, a paramedic said that this is not entirely unusual behaviour for the pathology of the drug but that the case is very extreme. A urine test had a potential to pick up the drug but there is no more information for this to go by.

Sabina was released, or at least the Prisoner Location Service states there is no one of that name in custody. This is most likely to have been to protect her so she could be released quietly and resume her life.

The case was also put forwards as evidence for the super soldiers of the MK ULTRA program.

With a lack of information no more is likely to be given about the whole case, what we should remember is that a man died who may not have been if there had been a proper psychiatric evaluation.

 

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