There was nothing particularly odd about Sabina and Ursula Eriksson. Identical twins, they were born on November 3, 1967 in Sunne, Värmland, Sweden, and they were fairly normal people leading normal lives, with no history of mental illness or anything particularly strange about them at all. In 2000, they were living a world away from each other, with Ursula living in the United States and Sabrina living in Ireland, and in May of 2008, Ursula flew over to visit her sister. It was a perfectly normal trip and there would have been nothing at all to expect that this was anything other than just an ordinary family get together, but this trip was about to spiral into a truly bizarre mystery that has baffled to this day.
Upon happily reuniting in Ireland, the Eriksson sisters suddenly and spontaneously decided to take a trip to Liverpool, England. It was a bit odd because they had told no one of this trip, and they decided to embark on it just hours after meeting, seemingly on a whim. It was also unknown exactly why they wanted to go to Liverpool in the first place, as they didn’t know anyone there and had never expressed any particular interest in visiting this place. Regardless, they packed their things and hopped on a ferry to make the trip to Liverpool, where they arrived on May 17 on the first leg of their inscrutable journey. After this they made a stop at a police station because Sabina had had a fight with her husband the night before and wanted them to check that her kids were alright. It is unclear whether this had anything to do with the strangeness that was about to unfold, but unfold it did.
Once in Liverpool, the two sisters got on a National Express Coach to London at around 11:30 AM, where they were seen to be acting rather oddly. The bus driver would claim that neither one of them would let go of their bags, indeed they were reported as clutching them closely in a very protective manner, and they also both complained that they were feeling sick. The bus driver thought it was all pretty weird, and suggested they check in their baggage like everyone else, but the twins absolutely refused, and so they were kicked off the bus at the Keele service station, which was an unscheduled stop. Once at Keele, they continued to act strangely, stumbling around clutching at their bags and acting generally erratically, and so an employee at the station called the police thinking they might be carrying bombs. However, when the cops spoke to them, the twins seemed perfectly fine, calm, and normal, and so no action was taken against them. When the police left, Ursula and Sabina seemed to be normal, but things were about to launch into the weird.
The two walked off on foot towards the nearby M6 motorway, where they walked out right into the road to make their way along the central median line. This was unusual enough to cause police to come out again to assist the obviously troubled women, but when officers approached chaos ensued. The twins suddenly ran right across the busy motorway, with Ursula making it safely to the other side, yet Sabina was not as lucky, being hit by an incoming car and knocked down. Unbelievably, she got right back up again as if nothing had happened, and the two twins then dashed out into the traffic one more, with both of them being mowed down by vehicles this time, Ursula hit so hard by a truck that her shoes flew off and her legs were crushed. By now, officers from the Highway Agency officers and the Central Motorway Police Group were converging on the strange scene, and they rushed to assist the twins, with Ursula seemingly seriously injured and Sabina sprawled out unconscious and motionless upon the road as cars continued to whiz by. It was a chaotic and unusual scene, however, this is far from the end of this story.
Paramedics came in to help the wounded twins, but as they were providing assistance, Ursula was acting extremely aggressively, cursing, spitting, and kicking with her broken legs as she spat out “I recognize you – I know you’re not real!” Sabina, who had until then been out cold, suddenly regained consciousness and went berserk, jumping into action to punch and kick at paramedics and police officers while cryptically shouting “Why do you kill me?” at them. She managed to break free and she was heard to scream, “They’re going to steal your organs!” Sabina then careened back out into the motorway shouting for help at passing cars, until she was finally restrained and sedated after a tense standoff in which she actually go into a fighting stance and attacked anyone who approached. Amazingly, the whole thing was captured on camera by a small television crew who happened to be there filming an episode of a reality show called Motorway Cops with the officers. The two injured twins were then brought to a hospital in Stoke-On-Trent for treatment and questioning, but the story doesn’t even end here, and in fact gets even more bizarre.
After the incident at the motorway, Sabina calmed down substantially, and after being treated for what were unbelievably only minor injuries, and after a minor court session she was sentenced to just one day in custody, without any psychiatric evaluation and facing no real punishment for what had happened out on the motorway. Despite the fact that she had caused accidents and had struck police officers, her day of custody was considered to be time already spent, and she was released from custody and walked out a free woman just 5 hours after arriving at the hospital. Seeing as Sabina did not know anyone in Stoke-On-Trent and had no idea really where she was, she then just sort of wandered around aimlessly, and the next chapter of this very strange day would unfold.
As Sabina wandered about the city streets in a daze, she was approached by a good Samaritan in the form of 54-year-old Glenn Hollinshead, who was out walking his dog along with his friend, Peter Molloy. Hollinshead offered to take her in and help her, and so the three went back to his house. At this time Sabina was once again calm, even playing with the dog, and she explained to the two men that she was stranded out there and trying to find her lost sister. After this, she reportedly then began to act erratically again, pacing about and constantly checking out the windows as if expecting something bad to happen. She was also very paranoid, even taking back some cigarettes she had offered the men because she realized they “might be poisoned.” Molloy would later claim that he thought at the time that the addled woman was perhaps running from someone, maybe an abusive boyfriend or spouse, and seeing as he did not have any reason to think she was actually dangerous, he headed home and left Sabina and Hollinshead alone.
The next day started normally enough. Hollinshead called Malloy to tell him that he was going to try and help Sabina find her sister that day, and he was seen to be acting normally, even speaking to neighbors in a friendly manner and not acting scared or nervous at all. It was this totally normal behavior that made it all the stranger when Hollinshead was seen stumbling out of his house bleeding profusely and shouting “She stabbed me!” He then collapsed and died right there on the spot. He had been stabbed five times. While this was going on, Sabina was fleeing the scene in a mad dash, with a roof tile from the home stuffed in her pocket and wielding a hammer that she had also stolen from the house, which she waved around and with which she would periodically smash herself on the head. At some point during her crazy flight, a passerby tried to stop her, only to get smashed across the head with the roof tile, oddly not the hammer, for his efforts.
The police were soon in hot pursuit of the troubled young woman, and they chased her to a bridge, where they thought they had her cornered. This would turn out to be wrong, as she then climbed over the railing and plunged down 40 feet to the busy road below, a feat that she miraculously managed to survive, although it left her with two broken ankles and a fractured skull. And so Sabina’s flight was brought to an end, and she was once again taken to a hospital for treatment, after which she was promptly arrested and put on trial in September of 2009. Although she would plead guilty to the crime of manslaughter, she would give no explanation at all for her bizarre behavior nor the motive for killing Hollinshead. The trial was a bit of a farce in a sense, as the extensive video footage taken from the M6 incident was not used as evidence, and she was found to have diminished responsibility, as it was ruled that she had suffered a bout of “shared psychosis,” with her sister, also called Folie à deux, French for “a madness of two,” although she was considered sane at the actual trial.
In the end, despite the fact that she had brutally murdered an innocent man, Sabina Eriksson was judged to have a low culpability for her actions, and was sentenced to a short prison stint of just 5 years, mostly considered time served. She would be released in 2011 and then just sort of disappear off the face of the earth, her whereabouts unknown after that. Her sister, Ursula, was eventually released from the hospital and never charged with any crime at all, moving back to be with her family, and she has also never offered anything in the way of an explanation for what happened. In the aftermath of the incident and trial, there has been much debate and discussion on what went on here. What caused these two twins to do what they did? There was no evidence found of drugs or alcohol in their systems, they had no history of substance abuse or mental illness, so what happened? Why did they suddenly go berserk on a frenzied bout of madness? Was it a psychotic snap and “shared psychosis” or was it something else? Their older brother Leon would later cryptically state that they were being “chased by maniacs,” but this was never proven and he never elaborated upon further. Just what was going on here with these creepy twins?
Adding to all of this is the fact that it would seem that Sabina should have never been released from custody the first time she had been brought in in the first place. Despite her insane behavior out on the motorway, she was never subjected to any sort of mental evaluation, and furthermore, according to law, she could have been held in custody indefinitely until one was carried out. This gets even more interesting when one considers a piece of footage that was oddly left out of the officially released motorway footage, which shows two police officers saying that Sabine should most definitely be held for a mental evaluation, which they call a “136.” Why this was never done and why this was not included in the official footage has never been explained. In the meantime, Hollinshead’s brother, Gary, has lamented the fact that Sabina was never assessed, saying:
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.
The extremely bizarre case of the Eriksson twins has gone on to become one of the weirdest cases on record in England, and has been the focus of a documentary Madness in the Fast Lane, which incidentally also cut the controversial footage of the police suggesting the 136. Coincidence? Cover-up? Who knows? there has never been any closure to this case, no one knows why these women did what they did or what triggered it, and it remains one of the most outlandish and wildest unsolved mysteries in the UK.