Ursula and Sabina Eriksson

In 2008 Ursula Eriksson lived in the US and her twin sister, Sabina, lived in Ireland with her husband and 2 children.

Sabina Eriksson

Ursula came to visit her sister May 16, 2008.  The two left for Liverpool, England by ferry early the next morning without telling anyone where they were going.  When they arrived in Liverpool, the two women headed to the St. Anne Police Station and reported that Sabina was worried about her children’s safety, despite the fact that she left them behind in Ireland with her husband.

After leaving the police station, the ladies boarded a bus to London.  They refused to check their bags and sat in their seats hugging their bags to their chests.  When the driver stopped at Keele Services (a mechanic shop in Staffordshire), he asked the sisters to exit the bus because he was suspicious of their odd behavior.

Keele Services

The manager at Keele Services reported the twins to police saying that they may have had bombs in their bags.  Police interviewed Ursula and Sabina but did not deem them a threat and they were allowed to leave the service station with no further intervention.  Keele Services is right next to the M6.

London’s M6 Motorway

Police were shortly after called to the area because two women were walking along the center median and dodging in and out of traffic.  A film crew for the television show “Motorway Cops” [1] (similar to America’s “Cops”) went with police officers to the M6 (England’s longest motorway and it contains the oldest section of highway in the country [2]).  There is no way they could have prepared for what happened next…

The police caught up with the women on the side of the highway and were talking to them.  While cameras rolled, Ursula broke away from officers and headed straight for the side of a semi truck.  Officers tried to stop her, pulling off her jacket, but she got away and was run over by the truck.

Police officer trying to contain Ursula, Sabina is standing left in the red coat

While police were attending to Ursula, Sabina ran into the path of a Volkswagen, rolled over the top of the car breaking the windshield.

Sabina after being hit by the Volkswagen

Ursula’s legs had been crushed by the wheels of the truck and Sabina lay in the third lane of traffic.  Back up and ambulances were called while the women were covered and attended to by police officers and passersby.  Ursula began to try to get up and asked for police assistance.  Officers told her, “We’re police, we’re here to help.”  She responded, “I know you’re not real,” and spit on an officer [3].  Shortly after, Sabina jumped to her feet and ran away.  She punched a female police officer who tried to contain her.  Sabina crossed the center median and ran into traffic moving the opposite direction.  She removed her jacket and was screaming at officers, “They’re going to steal your organs!” [4]

Traffic that day on the M6

It took 6 police officers and civilians to wrangle Sabina back across the median where she was forced to the ground and she was handcuffed.

Sabina being handcuffed

Both sisters were loaded into ambulances and taken to the Emergency Room.

Police searched the women’s belongings and found multiple cell phones in their bags.

Ursula was taken in for emergency surgery to repair her crushed legs and was held in the hospital for weeks while she recovered.

Sabina was treated and released from the hospital 5 hours later and taken into police custody.  Upon her arrival at the police station, Sabina was calm.  She made conversation and joked with police officers.  She did make one statement that officers took note of, “We say in Sweden that an accident rarely comes alone.  Usually at least one more follows-maybe two.” [3]

The twins tested negative for drugs and none were found in their possession.  Sabina did not once inquire about the well-being of her sister while in custody.  She was charged with assault of a police officer and trespassing onto a motorway.  (Ursula was never charged with anything.)  The police called Sabina’s husband in the US who said that he had no idea where she was or why she left.

Sabina was sentenced to 1 day in jail for trespassing on the motorway but was released because she had already served that much time.  Later that day Sabina approached two men walking a dog.  She asked them if they could direct her to a bed and breakfast.  One of the men, Glenn Hollinshead, was a 54 year old paramedic.

Glenn Hollinshead

He invited Sabina to stay with him.  Sabina, Hollinshead and Peter Molloy returned to Hollinshead’s home where Sabina told the men that her sister was in the hospital and she needed to find her.  Hollinshead agreed to help her.  The three sat around drinking until Sabina offered the two men cigarettes.  Before they could light them, she snatched them away saying they were poisoned.  Molloy stated that Sabina was nervous and aggressive.  He was bothered by her odd behavior and left Hollinshead’s house.

The next morning, Hollinshead made good on his promise to help Sabina find her sister.  He called the local hospitals asking for Ursula.  He then went to his neighbor, Frank Booth, and asked to borrow some tea.  The neighbor promised to bring the teabags by when he had finished in the yard.  Moments later, Booth saw Hollinshead stumble out of his house and hears him say, “She stabbed me.” [3]  He had been stabbed 5 times.  He died from his injuries.

Sabina was seen leaving Hollinshead’s home with a hammer.  She began beating herself in the head with it.  She was seen by a passing motorist, Joshua Grattage, who tried to stop her.  Sabina pulled a roof tile from her pocket and hit Grattage in the head with it.  The paramedics who had been called to Hollinshead’s house saw Sabina with the hammer.

Sabina ran to a nearby bridge and jumped from it.  She fell 40 feet and landed on the A50 (another roadway).

Bridge over the A50

She was taken to the hospital with broken bones.  She was arrested on June 6th, 2008 and charged with murder on September 11, 2008 (the day she was released from the hospital).

Sabina plead guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility.  She refused to answer any questions asked by the police or in court.  The prosecution and defense agreed that Sabina was insane at the time of Hollinshead’s stabbing but was fit for trial.

She was sentenced to 5 years in prison on September 2, 2010.  She had spent over a year in prison before sentencing and was credited for time served.  She was released from prison in 2011 and returned to her husband and children in Ireland.

Upon her release from the hospital, Ursula returned to the US.

There is a common theory to explain the events on the M6 that day:  folie à deux.  Folie à deux is also called Shared Psychotic Disorder.  This is when two people share delusions.  There is typically a primary sufferer and a shared partner.  It is found most often in female siblings.

This diagnosis was the reason for Sabina’s short jail term.  The judge acknowledged that the sentence did not make up for the loss of Hollinshead’s life and was sympathetic to the grief of his family and friends.

The film from the reality show was made into a movie called “Madness in the Fast Lane.”  It can be viewed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTpFWiEx3eo

A video summary of this story:  https://youtu.be/ILuWSHbZrjU

Sources/Photo Credits

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