German killer nurse murdered ‘at least 90 patients’: police

This file photo shows German former male nurse Niels Hoegel hiding his face behind a folder as he waits next to his lawyer Ulrike Baumann, right, for the opening of a session of his trial at court in Oldenburg, Germany, on February 26, 2015. (File photo by AFP)
Updated 28 August 2017

German killer nurse murdered ‘at least 90 patients’: police

Berlin: A male nurse jailed for life two years ago for killing two patients with lethal drug overdoses murdered at least 90 patients in total, police said Monday, calling it post-war Germany’s worst killing spree.
Niels Hoegel, 40, was jailed in February 2015 for two murders and several attempted murders of intensive-care patients at the Delmenhorst hospital near the northern city of Bremen.
Police said Monday that investigators exhuming and analizing more bodies had since found evidence of scores of additional murders.
The death toll “is unique in the history of the German republic,” said chief police investigator Arne Schmidt, adding that Hoegel killed randomly and preyed especially on those in critical condition.
There was “evidence for at least 90 murders, and at least as many (suspected) cases again that can no longer be proven,” he told a press conference, declaring himself “speechless” at the outcome.
Hoegel has admitted to injecting patients with a drug that can cause heart failure or circulatory collapse so he could then try to revive them and, when successful, shine as a savior before his medical peers.
He said he felt euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life, and devastated when he failed.
After the revelations of the nurse’s murderous obsession, police and prosecutors launched a special forensic commission dubbed “Kardio” (Cardio) to look into other patient deaths.
Presenting their findings, police said Monday that more than 130 bodies had been exhumed and tested for traces of the deadly drug.
The cause of death in many more could not be determined because the remains were cremated, said Oldenburg police chief Johann Kuehme.
Hoegel had admitted to 30 cases in which he named patients he killed, said prosecutor Daniela Schiereck-Bohlemann.
The grisly case dates back to 2005, when a colleague witnessed the nurse injecting a patient at the Delmenhorst hospital.
The patient survived and the health care worker was arrested and, in 2008, sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for 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.
The authorities exhumed several patient’s bodies and detected traces of the drug in five of them, declaring it either the definitive or possible contributing cause.
Hoegel was jailed for life in 2015, but at the time it was clear he had murdered dozens more patients, with investigators admitting they may never know the true number.


6 dead after man opens fire in Czech hospital waiting room

Updated 54 min 58 sec ago

6 dead after man opens fire in Czech hospital waiting room

  • The attacker opened fire at people’s heads from close range
  • Police published a photo of the suspect, having withdrawn an earlier photo of a different man

PRAGUE: Six people were killed in a shooting in a hospital in the eastern Czech Republic Tuesday, the prime minister said. Police said the suspect is at large and described him as armed and dangerous.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Czech public television the shooting took place around 7 a.m. in a waiting room. The attacker opened fire at people’s heads from close range, Babis said.

He said he was heading for the site, at the University hospital in the eastern city of Ostrava, 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of Prague.

Police said the man left in a silver-grey Renault Laguna car and called on the public not to try to stop him.

Police published a photo of the suspect, having withdrawn an earlier photo of a different man. They said that man was now considered to be a witness.

Video footage and pictures published by public radio showed police arresting a person at the site but that person did not appear to be the shooting suspect.

Officials say people have been evacuated from the clinic. Police are boosting security across the country.