Jailed German nurse may have killed further 84 patients

Nurse Niels H. was initially convicted in 2015 after admitting to killing some 30 people at two clinics. If found guilty of the latest charges, he would be one of the biggest serial killers in German criminal history.

By DW | 28.08.2017


Following a three-year probe into all patients under Niels H’s. care, investigators revealed on Monday that the former nurse was responsible for 84 more deaths than initially thought.

Niels H., who is already serving two prison separate sentences, was found to have injected patients with cardiovascular medication at hospitals in the northern towns of Delmenhorst und Oldenburg between 2001 and 2005. His aim was to induce heart failure or circulatory collapse before successfully resuscitating his patients to impress his colleagues.

He was sentenced in 2008 to seven-and-a-half years for attempted murder, after he was discovered trying to give an overdose to a patient. He was then jailed for life in 2015 after being found guilty on two counts of murder and two further counts of attempted murder and battery after his “trick” failed to work. However, prosecutors alleged that he had likely killed many more people but kept the charges down to just three killings to make their case easier to prove.

During the 2015 trial, Niels H. also admitted to a psychologist to killing 30 people while working at the clinic in Delmenhorst, having injected the medication into at least 60 patients. Last year, prosecutors estimated the total number of deaths to be 43.

However, if the former nurse is found guilty of the subsequent deaths, the case would go down as one the biggest murder sprees in German criminal history.

Over three years, investigators exhumed and probed more than 100 bodies for the traces of Niels H’s. cardiovascular medication, raising the number of suspected killings to a further 84.

Oldenburg Police Chief Johann Kühme said the sheer scale of Niels H’s. crimes “leaves us speechless,” adding that some cases will never be proved as the bodies had since been cremated. “And as if all that were not enough, we must realize that the real dimension of the killings by Niels H. is likely many times worse,” he said.

Kühme said that new proceedings against Niels H. were scheduled but, given that he is already serving a life sentence, his jail term would not be amended.

dm/rt (dpa, AFP)

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