Nurse Niels Högel goes on trial in Germany over 100 patient deaths

Grant Boone
November 1, 2018

Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a hospital in the town of Delmenhorst. German laws also does not allow for consecutive prison terms, so Hoegel could theoretically walk free within little more than a decade, unless he is barred from an early release at the end of the trial that is now underway.

Hoegel was caught red-handed injecting unauthorized drugs into a patient in 2005 but no one at the hospital intervened.

"We fought for four years for this trial and expect Hoegel is sentenced for another 100 murders", said Marbach, whose grandfather was killed by Hoegel, the BBC reported.

A commemorative plaque for victims of the nurse Niels Hoegel.

Psychiatrists who have evaluated Hoegel, the father of an adolescent daughter, say he has a severe narcissistic disorder.

Prosecutors say he was motivated by vanity, to show off his skills at saving human lives, and by simple "boredom".

Hoegel himself said he craved "the positive feedback" he got for saving a life and used painkillers to deal with "the stress" of the job.

Murders were committed in the period from 1999 to 2005.

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According to the prosecuting lawyers, the nurse's motive was to impress colleagues by trying to bring the patients back to life.

Asked by the judge why he didn't admit to the remaining murders before now, Hoegel said it was "out of shame" and because it took him a long time to face up to what he had done at the first hospital.

Oldenburg police chief Johann Kuehme previous year said other medical workers at Oldenburg were aware of an elevated number of resuscitations, and initial indications of possible wrongdoing by the nurse in Delmenhorst emerged as early as April 2003.

The serial killer owned up to his crimes today in the north-western city of Oldenburg.

In prior hearings, Hoegel is reportedly said to have been seeking a sense of euphoria after having resuscitated a patient from an emergency situation he himself created.

The hospital in Oldenburg dismissed Hoegel in late 2002 due to mounting suspicions about the deaths of patients on his watch.

After a minute of silence for the victims, the bearded, heavyset Hoegel listened impassively, his head lowered, as prosecutor Daniela Schiereck-Bohlmann read out the name of each dead patient and the charges against the defendant.

The figures paint a damning picture but prosecutors only took action in 2008, ordering the exhumation of eight bodies under pressure from relatives of alleged victims.

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