Despite what many people will tell you, it’s often impossible to change who we are deep down inside. If you’re a terrible person, you can only do so much to become a better person on the outside. You can treat other people better, but if you’re only doing it so you don’t end up alone forever, you’re ultimately still a jerk.
Tore Hedin was a decorated police officer with nearly a decade on the force. He was renowned for his superb police work and his contributions to the community. But Tore had a secret deep inside, one that none of his fellow officers could ever have expected…
On January 7, 1927, Tore Hedin was born in Stora Harrie, near Kävlinge, Sweden. An inquisitive, yet slightly antisocial child, Tore excelled in school but found himself with very few close friends growing up. It was alright though. Tore had his mystery books and his ambitions. He knew if he worked hard, he could eventually become the one thing he always wanted to be: a police officer.
Once he had finished high school, the newly-athletic Tore decided to try his hand at real police work. He went through the academy and came out with the greatest diploma of all: his badge. Just as he had in school, Tore excelled on the force. Only this time, he hadn’t just made friends, he made fans…
Bring Us Hedin
As a Saxtorp police officer, Tore Hedin was soon to be nationally renowned. It seemed that his little part of the world was in the midst of dealing with a string of seriously violent crimes in their fair city. The people were living in fear, they were being terrorized by an ax murderer and had been for some time.
A Town in Terror
In the throes of this terrible crime spree, all of Sweden turned to the now very respectable Officer Tore Hedin. He was put in charge of the investigation and hand-picked a squad of officers to weed out the killer. He would even hold important press conferences to update the entire nation on the progress of his investigation…
Sweden was so impressed with his work, that despite the fact that he’d made no progress on the case in months they decided to hold a rally in his honor. The good people of Saxtorp wanted him to know how proud they were of him. Unfortunately, on the night of the rally, Tore found himself otherwise indisposed and unable to attend.
On that same night in 1951, the ax murderer struck again. Only this time, the killer burnt the victim’s house down after he was done. Publicly, Tore had nothing to report: he had no idea who this monster was. This time it was personal, though. The victim, John Nissen, was a good friend of Officer Tore Hedin…
On the very night of the murder and consequently, the rally, Officer Hedin had been enjoying the company of his good friend John Nissen and playing at cards in his home. When the game was over and it was time for Tore to go home and lick his financial wounds, however, something snapped.
A Straight Face
Up until that point, Officer Hedin, otherwise known as the Saxtorp Ax Murderer, had only killed strangers. It seems that John Nissen had just been a bit too lucky at cards that night. When Tore was done murdering and robbing his former comrade, he lit the house ablaze. Then he got up with a straight face the next day and reported to the press how sorry he was about his friend’s untimely death…
As it turned out, the Saxtorp ax murders were not Hedin’s first rodeo. He had been engaged in violent criminal behavior as early as 16. In 1943, Hedin had stolen some oats from a local brewery and was so scared of getting caught that he decided to burn down the whole thing to cover his tracks. Perhaps it was this attention to detail that helped him excel as a detective.
For the next eight years after that, Hedin kept the same M.O. His petty crimes would be punctuated by huge buildings being burned down to hide the evidence. He graduated to murder some time after he had joined the force and though his slaying of John Nissen was mostly an accident, it was only the tip of the psycho iceberg…
In the summer of 1952, Ulla Östberg, Tore’s girlfriend, broke off their engagement. Hedin was infuriated by the betrayal and assaulted her with his police handcuffs, kidnapping her, and threatening to kill her with a pistol. He was, of course, fired once the incident came to light, but that wasn’t the end of his major breakdown.
Mom and Dad’s
Afterward, he tried to get Ulla to take him back. He went to her home, her work, begged her to reconsider, but she was too afraid of him now. Whatever they had was ruined for good the moment he assaulted her. Then, a few nights later, Hedin snapped for good. He went to his parents’ house, killed them in their sleep with an ax, and set the house on fire…
Thirty minutes later, he arrived at the retirement home in Hurva, where Ulla both lived and worked. He climbed a fire escape and entered her room, only to find her missing. She had been sleeping with the Agnes Lundin, the matron, that night: afraid of what her ex-boyfriend was going to do. He killed them both with an ax while they slept.
Burn it Down
But Hedin wasn’t done yet. After killing Ulla and the matron, he blocked the entrance to the retirement home and set it on fire. Four more seniors died in the ensuing blaze. Fifty more died days later after suffering severe burns, but Hedin still wasn’t done yet…
Hedin had accrued many victims over the years. They included: Bengta Andersson, 86, Elna Andersson, 83, Hulda Hedin, 57, Hedin’s mother, Per Alfred Hedin, 74, Hedin’s father, Nils Larsson, 84, Agnes Lundin, 55, Maria Nilsson, 71, Ulla Östberg, 24, Maria Pettersson and, of course, 50 others who died as a result of his actions and the fire.
After the fire, Tore Hedin went into hiding. He knew his fellow officers well; they’d be after him as soon as they realized who had been killed. After all, it was the first thing he would do. He needed to lay low for a bit, find a way to get out of Sweden for good. He drove his car into the country; it was the last place they’d look and maybe he’d think of something…
By this time, the police had realized that the string of violent crimes, including the murder of John Nissen and the subsequent arson, had been committed by the esteemed Officer Hedin. They started a manhunt for him and soon located his car parked by a lakeside cabin in the woods. In the front seat were a suicide note, his jacket, and his wallet.
One Last Life
Tore Hedin had escaped to the wilderness, written the note, tied a cement block around his ankles and thrown himself into the lake. The note contained a full confession of all the crimes he had committed. In it, he claimed that he had only ever been good at one thing, tracking down other criminals like himself. The event went down in Swedish history…
The acts perpetrated by Hedin was known throughout Sweden as Hurvamorden and is infamous for being the worst known killing spree in Swedish criminal history. As for why he killed his parents, Hedin confessed in the note that it was so they would not have to suffer for the terrible crimes he was about to be guilty of. Hedin’s corpse was transported to the Institution of Anatomy at Lund University. It was stored at the institution until 1974 when it was cremated.
An episode in the mini-series Skånska Mord, entitled “Hurvamorden” was eventually made about these tragic events. The episode originally aired in 1986, nearly three decades from the time of the terrible crimes. Swedish actor Ernst-Hugo Järegård played the role of Tore Hedin.