Medical student expelled after hiding murderous past

One of the world's leading medical Universities has thrown out a first year student after it was revealed that he was a convicted murderer and Nazi sympathiser, who changed his name and forged high school certificates in order to gain admittance.

Karl Helge Hampus Svensson's criminal record first came to light in September 2007, when the Karolinska Institute – famous for selecting the Nobel Prize winners for medicine - received two anonymous tip-offs. However, it was only this week that the University was finally able to expel him, after discovering that Svensson also appears to have forged his high-school diploma.

Ironically, it was the name-change that enabled him to shrug off his criminal convictions when granted parole in February 2007 – swapping his original name of Mr Hellekat to that of Mr Svensson – that finally caught up with him.

When Sweden's National Agency For Services to Universities and University Colleges (VHS) examined his application documents, they spotted a glaring error - his 1995 high-school diploma bore the name 'Svensson', a title which he did not adopt until more than eleven years later. The VHS has since reported the student to the police, and the The 31 year old's previous port of call, prior to his interview at the prestigious institute was a maximum security prison – where he spent 6 and a half years. In 1999 Mr Svensson was sentenced to 11 years in prison after shooting Bjorn Soderberg, who had complained about the Neo-Nazi beliefs of a co-worker.

Luckily for Mr Svensson, neither of the members of staff interviewing him asked how he had spent the past few years. As Swedish law forbids Universities from carrying out criminal records checks on potential students, there was nothing to prevent him from enrolling alongside his fresh-faced peers, and beginning to train as a doctor.

However, shortly after the start of term two hand-written, unsigned letters were delivered to the University, revealing the truth about Mr Svensson's criminal past.

"We didn't find out he was a criminal until he had already been admitted as a medical student, but when we found out from the police that the claims were true, we faced a massive ethical dilemma. Could we really send him out to hospitals?" said Ms Wallberg-Henrikkson, Vice Chancellor of the Institute.

At this point, there was no legal way in which the Institute could expel Mr Svensson, as Ms Wallberg-Henrikkson explains: "It is a big black hole in the government legislation. While there is legislation forbidding people who have carried out some crimes from practising medicine, there is no law governing medical students. People with criminal convictions can study medicine."

Faced with the prospect of sending Mr Svensson on clinical rotations to hospitals around the region, the Directors of the Institute held a series of meetings with high-level officials in Sweden's Health and Education Ministries.

It was when considering the legal and ethical questions raised by these discussions that Mr Svensson's application documentation was scrutinised more closely, and the suspected forgery was revealed.

While this situation has now been resolved, the Vice-Chancellor of the Karolinska Institute believes the Svensson case highlights the need for urgent revision of the legislation governing both the practice of Sweden's medical students, and the disclosure of criminal records.

"The Institute has a big ethnic mix, and having a student here who had been convicted of a 'hate' crime did put them at risk. The government needs to re-consider some of this legislation. "

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Life and Style
Kissing
life
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test