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Crime

Killer nurse Niels Hoegel is charged with 97 more murders by German prosecutors

Hoegel says he enjoyed bringing patients back to life after injecting them with lethal substances - but his attempts at revival frequently failed and he became the worst serial killer in German history, prosecutors say

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 2:22am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 8:08pm

A nurse who is already serving a life sentence for murdering two patients has been accused of killing another 97 people with lethal injections by German prosecutors.

If found guilty of the new charges, he would officially be Germany’s deadliest serial killer.

The third trial of Niels Hoegel, 41, is expected to start later this year, a court spokesman in the northern city of Oldenburg said.

Hoegel has admitted to injecting patients with drugs that cause heart failure or circulatory collapse so he could then try to revive them and, when successful, shine as a saviour before his medical peers and superiors.

In a case police have called “unique in the history of the German republic,” he earlier testified that at times he acted out of “boredom”, feeling euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life.

He was found guilty of six killings in two earlier trials, but investigators have pushed on with toxicology tests on hundreds more exhumed bodies.

On Monday, Oldenburg prosecutors said they had charged him with 97 additional murders on top of the six he has been convicted of, while saying toxicology tests did not find conclusive proof in three more cases.

Of the newly discovered cases, 62 patients died in the Delmenhorst hospital near the northern city of Bremen and 35 in a clinic in Oldenburg.

German police left ‘speechless’ after finding killer nurse murdered ‘at least 86 patients’

Prosecutors said the nurse should have been aware that the drugs he was giving his patients could cause ailments ranging from possible cardiac arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation to hypotension.

“From the prosecutorial point of view, the accused Niels H accepted, at least tacitly, in all cases the death of the patients due to the effects of the drugs,” the prosecutors said in a statement.

The revelations date back to 2005, when a female nurse witnessed Hoegel trying to inject a patient at the Delmenhorst hospital. The patient survived and Hoegel was arrested.

In 2008, he was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for several cases of attempted murder.

Amid the media publicity, a woman then contacted police, voicing suspicion that her deceased mother had also fallen victim to the killer nurse.

Hoegel, meanwhile, told fellow inmates and then a psychiatrist that he had committed scores more killings.

He was jailed for life in 2015, but at the time it was clear he had murdered many more patients, with investigators admitting they may never know the true number as some remains had been cremated.

Separate investigations are looking at the clinics in Delmenhorst and Oldenburg and whether superiors there had cause to suspect foul play in the high number of patient deaths.

Ten years ago, a German nurse was convicted of killing 28 elderly patients. He said he gave them lethal injections because he felt sorry for them. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In Britain, Doctor Harold Shipman was believed to have killed as many as 250 people, most of them elderly and middle-aged women who were his patients. Known as Dr Death, Shipman was sentenced to 15 life terms in 2000; he died prison in 2004, apparently a suicide.