Identical twins said to be suffering from a form of 'shared psychosis' miraculously escaped death when they ran into oncoming traffic on the M6 after getting off their bus at a service station.

The shocking moment Swedes Sabina and Ursula Eriksson began diving into the road was captured by a BBC documentary crew filming for a new series of Motorway Cops.

Just days later, in a heartbreaking twist of events, one of the twins murdered an innocent man, who had taken pity on her and offered her a place to say.

The horrifying events of those few days in 2008 are the focus of a new BBC documentary, still in its early stages.

Here, as reported by our sister title Stoke-on-Trent Live, is a deeper look at the twisted case of the Swedish sisters.

Chaos on the M6 motorway

Born in 1967, the Eriksson twins seemed to lead 'normal lives' growing up in their native Sweden, before Ursula relocated to the USA and Sabina settled in County Cork, Ireland, with her partner and children.

In fact, there was nothing in their past to explain what was to come.

In 2008, the twins came to England on holiday together.

The pair had caught a coach from Liverpool heading to London but, as they approached Keele Services on the M6, their behaviour became increasingly erratic.

The police were called but they were allowed to go after being deemed harmless.

A short time later they began to walk down the central reservation of the M6 before attempting to cross to the other side as traffic thundered past.

By sheer coincidence, a film crew was recording for BBC series Motorway Cops and captured what happened next.

Footage was captured by BBC film crews

Sabina was found lying in lane three after being struck by a passing vehicle she had run into the path of.

Her sister, who was climbing over the barrier of the central reservation, was struck by an articulated lorry at around 56mph and suffered two broken legs.

When police came to Sabina's aid, she punched a female officer in the face before running into traffic again. She was eventually restrained and handcuffed.

At the same time, Ursula was resisting medical help by scratching at the officers, screaming and spitting at them.

The pair miraculously survived after they both ran into motorway traffic

In all, the northbound carriageway was shut for more than four hours before an air ambulance arrived to take Ursula to hospital, while Sabina was transferred in a land ambulance.

Five hours later, Sabina was discharged and taken into police custody.

Harrowing murder of an innocent man

On May 19, 2008 Sabina pleaded guilty to the charges of trespass on the motorway and assaulting a police officer at Fenton Magistrates' Court.

She was sentenced to one day in prison, which she was deemed to have served having spent the night in the cells, and was allowed to walk free without a full psychiatric evaluation.

Sabina then began to wander the streets of Stoke-on-Trent, in an attempt to find her sister.

She was spotted at 7pm by two men who were walking a dog in Christchurch Street, Fenton, one of which was 54-year-old Glenn Hollinshead.

He was out with his friend, Peter Molloy. Stroking the dog and striking up a conversation with the men, Sabina asked if they had directions to any nearby bed and breakfasts or hotels, but 54-year-old Mr Hollinshead took pity on her and offered her a place at his home in Duke Street, Fenton, for the night.

Self-employed welder Mr Hollinshead - who had previously been a paramedic in the RAF and worked at JCB in Uttoxeter - soon became alarmed by her behaviour as she constantly checked out of the window. Mr Molloy left the house just before midnight, whilst Sabina stayed the night.

The next day, Mr Hollinshead tried to help Sabina find her sister. But at 7.40pm whilst dinner was being prepared, Sabina stabbed Mr Hollinshead four times with a kitchen knife. He staggered out of the house, telling a neighbour 'she stabbed me', before collapsing in an alleyway and dying.

Victim Glenn Hollinshead, who had offered Sabina a place to stay

Sabina - wielding a hammer, which she used to strike her own head - had already fled the scene as Mr Hollinshead's frantic neighbours contacted the police.

A passing motorist stopped to try to take control, but he was struck on the back of the head with a roof tile Sabina had in her pocket.

Paramedics arrived and gave chase, before the pursuit came to an end at Heron Cross, where she jumped from a 40ft high bridge onto the A50. She broke both ankles and fractured her skull, before being taken to hospital.

Tests would later reveal she had no traces of alcohol or drugs in her system.

The trial

While Sabina was recovering at University Hospital of North Staffordshire she was arrested by police and later charged with murder.

Sabina went on to plead guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility.

She offered no explanation for her actions during her interrogation or the trial, with both the prosecution and Sabina's defence claiming that she was insane at the time.

In a bizarre twist at the trial, Sabina's lawyer would claim she was a 'secondary' sufferer of folie à deux, influenced by the 'primary' sufferer - in this case, her twin sister. They also told the court that Sabina suffered from a rare psychiatric disorder which made her hear voices.

Sabina Eriksson pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Folie à deux is also known as 'shared psychosis', in which delusional beliefs are transmitted from one individual to another. It would mean that Sabina was highly susceptible to influence from her sister, and was acting in such a way because of her twin's actions.

Sentencing her to five years in prison, Mr Justice Saunders described it as 'one of the most difficult cases he had ever had to sentence'.

He said: “While the mental illness resolved quickly, both psychiatrists agree it was serious and that she behaved in the way she did because of her illness.

“Her culpability for her behaviour is, on the medical evidence, accordingly low. She was suffering from delusions which she believed to be true and they dictated her behaviour.

“It is also not one of those cases where the defendant could have done something to avoid the onset.

“It had a sudden onset, it was a serious illness while it lasted and it resolved rapidly.”

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Earlier, Anthony Barker QC, mitigating, said Eriksson and her twin sister, Ursula, were 'living in their own world' when they ran across the M6.

He said: “They had an enormously strong bond as twins. At some stage the defendant’s own psyche was overborne by her sister’s illness.“

"She is appalled she has killed somebody. She has turned to Christianity in prison to help to deal with that matter.”