Why the name Prins Carl?

The mass murder on the steam boat ferry Prins Carl

John Filip Nordlund (also known as ”Mälarmördaren”, ”Mordlund”, ”Svarte Filip”) (23 March, 1875 - 10, December 1900) - He was executed on the prison yard of Västerås County Jail

On the night of 16th and 17th of May 1900 Nordlund committed the act that would make him the bogeyman of several years to come, and reserve a place for him in the criminal history of Sweden.
He boarded the ferry in Arboga and bought a ticket for Stockholm on the evening with an evil plan. The contents of his luggage were two guns, a knife and several padlocks, with which he had planned to lock the door to the engine room. His plan was to rob and kill as many people as possible on the ship and steal the ship's register. To avoid early detection he also planned to torch the ship. This plan failed however, partly because scared passengers on the boat managed to attract the attention of another ferry, the "Köping". Still he managed to commit one of the worst murder sprees in known Swedish history by killing four and wounding nine (of which 8 survived) and a partly trashed ship. The victims of Nordlund's rampage included the ship's captain (Olof Rönngren), a butcher, an old lady, a farmer and a cattle merchant. His plan also failed in the aspect that he did not manage to steal the ship's register, leaving his booty at 800 kronor. He managed to escape from the ship because no one thought that one single man could be strong enough to put one of the life boats in the sea and row away.
The next day he was arrested by three police officers at the train station in Skogstorp near Eskilstuna, where he had bought some new clothes earlier and avoided detection. He had planned to take the train to Oxelösund and travel to Copenhagen via Gothenburg. When he was arrested he is supposed to have shouted things like; “This was my revenge on humanity” and “Be glad that you arrested me here – if I had gotten on the train several more would have been killed”.

After the arrest

He was put in a holding cell in Eskilstuna, in which the guards were barely able to keep an angry mob from killing him. The 18th of May he wrote a letter to his family, explaining what he had done and that he was the one responsible for the newspaper headlines. The letter was published by the newspapers (both Gefle Dagblad and Aftonbladet). In the letter he wrote that he had to explain himself to someone and that he realised that he would receive only one more sentence, capital punishment. He also told them not to grieve and that he welcomed the end since he never felt that he was a part of the society at all. In court he never tried to act in a manner which would result in a lighter sentence; he never pleaded insanity, he showed no remorse saying only that he regretted not having killed everyone on the ferry. He was sentenced to death and to forever lose all privileges as a citizen for five murders, eight attempted murders and theft. Twice he tried to flee from his cell in Västerås county jail injuring the jailors with a sharp object that he managed to manufacture in the cell. He attempted to escape once, because he had nothing to lose but to await execution.
The act that he committed resulted in a media hysteria comparable to the ones we see today, partly because the ruthlessness of the crimes. Several papers competed with each other on several numbers of victims. In some papers the number of victims was exaggerated, claiming a much larger death toll. Several skillingtryck were made about the events on Prins Carl with songs detailing the horrors of the night of May 17th.

The execution

Nordlund had the possibility of writing a letter to the king, Oscar II, to plead for mercy, which he chose not to do. Strangely enough, he took the time to write a letter to the Supreme Court complaining about the fact that he had been wrongfully sentenced for robbery of people that he did not rob. The Supreme Court wrote in their answer (of November 13th) that this was irrelevant and that the sentence passed by the court was correct. While awaiting his execution he met his mother several times (the last time five days before his execution). In addition the priest from Långholmen, August Hylander came to visit him several times. In his final letter to his parents he actually asked the lord for redemption and told his parents good bye. On the morning of December 10th on the prison yard of Västerås County Jail he was executed by the high executioner Dahlman with an axe. Nordlund was buried in sacred ground since his body was claimed by his family after his death. Up until the 1870’s this type of burial would not have been legal, but as society was progressing the death penalty also changed.