Is Christer Pettersson a Real Person? Where is He Now?

The Unlikely Murderer‘ revolves around the investigation of former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme’s death. The Swedish crime drama is based on Thomas Pettersson’s novel, ‘Den Osannolika Mördaren,’ and mainly revolves around witness turned suspect Stig Engström. It also details various aspects of the long-running investigation over the span of 34 years.

The authorities pursue multiple suspects, and one such suspect in the series is Christer Pettersson. Naturally, viewers must be wondering whether Pettersson is based on a real person and if he had any involvement in the Palme murder. Here’s everything you need to know in that regard!

Is Christer Pettersson a Real person?

Yes, Christer Pettersson in ‘The Unlikely Murderer’ is based on a real person of the same name who was born on April 23, 1947, in Solna, Sweden. After spending his early days in the municipality, he moved to the Sollentuna suburb. Pettersson joined a theater school and was considered a promising student. However, he quickly veered onto the path of substance abuse and dropped out. Pettersson reportedly had Tourette’s syndrome and also briefly served in the military.

In 1970, around the Tunnelgatan area, Pettersson got into a brawl with two men and chased one of them into an alley. He killed the man and was put on trial for manslaughter. Pettersson was found guilty and sentenced to psychiatric care. Approximately a year and a half later, he was discharged from the facility. Pettersson soon turned back to his life of petty crime and substance abuse.

In 1986, Palme was murdered on the Sveavägen-Tunnelgatan intersection. The killer’s description obtained by the police seemingly matched Pettersson, who regularly hung out around the area, and he came under suspicion for Palme’s murder. A few of Pettersson’s acquaintances claimed that Pettersson was capable of murder, and his jail term came to light. On December 14, 1988, the police arrested Pettersson. Palme’s wife, Lisbeth, who was present on the scene at the time of the murder, identified Pettersson from a lineup of suspects. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in July 1989.

Where is Christer Pettersson Now?

Throughout his trial, Pettersson continued to plead his innocence. Furthermore, no forensic evidence turned up that would directly link him to the murder. Due to the lack of incriminating evidence against him. Pettersson was acquitted from the charges of Palme’s murder in October 1989. He also received compensation (reportedly £38,000) for his wrongful apprehension.

Image Credit: Media Direkt/YouTube

In the years since his acquittal, Petterson continued to make media appearances and charged outlets hefty sums of money for interviews. In 1998, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal to retry Petterson. “The Supreme Court believes the new evidence is not of such nature that a new trial can be granted in the case,” read the judge panel’s official written statement. In September 2004, he reportedly fell and suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage. Petterson passed away from resulting complications on September 29, 2004, at the age of 57. He was buried at a cemetery in Solna.

Read More: Is Stig Erngstorm a Real Person? Where Is He Now?