Niels Hoegel: German serial killer nurse may have murdered more than 100 patients 'out of boredom'

Prosecutors struggling to ascertain extent of carer's crimes carried out during tenure at Oldenburg and Delmenhorst hospitals

Geir Moulson
Friday 10 November 2017 09:10
Comments
Former nurse Niels Hoegel conceals his face attending district court in Oldenburg, Germany
Former nurse Niels Hoegel conceals his face attending district court in Oldenburg, Germany

A nurse who is already serving a life sentence for two murders he says he committed out of "boredom" may have killed more than 100 patients over several years at two hospitals in north western Germany, prosecutors have said.

Investigators have completed toxicological examinations on patients who died during Niels Hoegel's time as a nurse in hospitals in Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, prosecutors and police in Oldenburg said. They found a further 16 cases in which he is suspected.

In late August, they said they had determined that he might have killed at least another 84 patients beyond the ones for whose murder he is already serving time. At the time, they said that they were awaiting toxicology results on another 41 fatalities, which have now been concluded.

Prosecutors reiterated in a statement that they expect to file additional charges against Hoegel early next year. Additional convictions could affect Hoegel's possibility of parole, but there are no consecutive sentences in Germany.

Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a hospital in Delmenhorst and was sentenced to life in prison.

During his trial, Hoegel had said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg.

Hoegel worked at the Oldenburg hospital from 1999 to 2002 and in Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005.

Prosecutors said he is now suspected in 38 cases in Oldenburg and 62 in Delmenhorst, but that in five of those cases further examinations are needed. It isn't clear when those will be concluded.

As part of a wider investigation involving both hospitals, police and prosecutors reviewed more than 500 patient files and hundreds more hospital records. They also exhumed 134 bodies from 67 cemeteries, and questioned Hoegel six times.

Police have said if local health officials hadn't hesitated in alerting authorities, Hoegel could have been stopped earlier.

Authorities are already pursuing criminal cases against former staff at the two medical facilities.

AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in