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
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower