Germany: Nurse who murdered 87 patients with drug overdoses given life sentence

Former nurse Niels Hoegel sits in the court room during a session of the district court in Oldenburg, Germany, Thursday, June 6, 2019. Niels Hoegel has been convicted of 85 counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. (Hauke-Christian Dittrich/dpa via AP)

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press  BERLIN (AP) 05/06 — Niels Hoegel liked to bring about cardiac arrests in his patients by injecting them with overdoses of heart medication and other drugs because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. Sometimes he succeeded in bringing them back, but in at least 87 cases they died, making him what is believed to be modern Germany’s most prolific serial killer.

A court in the northwestern city of Oldenburg on Thursday found the 42-year-old nurse guilty of murdering 85 patients, aged 34 to 96, and sentenced him to life in prison. He had earlier been convicted of two other killings.

“Your guilt is incomprehensible,” presiding judge Sebastian Buerhmann said as he handed down the verdict. “I felt like an accountant of death.”

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, right, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, arrives for a session of the district court in Oldenburg, Germany, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Hauke-Christian Dittrich/dpa via AP)

 

Hoegel worked at a hospital in Oldenburg between 1999 and 2002 and another hospital in nearby Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005, and the killings took place between 2000 and 2005, the dpa news agency reported.

Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders and is already currently serving a life sentence. There are no consecutive sentences in the German system, but Buerhmann noted in his verdict the “particular seriousness” of Hoegel’s crimes, a finding that all but ensures he will remain incarcerated after the standard 15-year term is up.

During his first trial, Hoegel 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.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, 3rd left, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, arrives for a session of the district court in Oldenburg, Germany, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/dpa via AP, Pool)

 

That prompted a wider investigation involving both hospitals, and 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 multiple times, concluding that he had used a variety of drugs to attempt resuscitation of his patients, and was fully aware they might die.

Prosecutors noted that many of Hoegel’s victims were not terminally ill patients, but were on the path to recovery.

“The fact is sometimes the worst fantasy is not enough to describe the truth,” Buehrmann said.

In all, Hoegel was tried in Oldenburg on 100 counts of murder, but the court found him not guilty on 15 counts for lack of evidence, which Buerhmann noted with regret to the family members present.

“We were not able to shine light through part of the fog that lay over this trial,” Buehrmann said. “That also fills with a certain sadness.”

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, left, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, talks to his lawyer Ulrike Baumann, right, during a session of the district court in Oldenburg, Germany, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/dpa via AP, Pool)

 

Pleas are not entered in the German system but during the seven-month trial, Hoegel admitted to 43 of the killings, disputed five and said he couldn’t remember the other 52.

Hoegel testified that he had a “protected” childhood, free of violence. He said his grandmother and his father, who were both nurses, had been his role models for going into the profession.

“Now I sit here fully convinced that I want to give every relative an answer,” Hoegel said during the trial. “I am really sorry.”

An expert testified during the trial that while Hoegel suffered from personality disorders, he was psychologically competent to stand trial and serve his sentence.

In his closing statement to the court on Wednesday, Hoegel reiterated his earlier apology, expressing shame and remorse, and saying he realized how much pain and suffering he had caused with his “terrible deeds.”

“To each and every one of you I sincerely apologize for all that I have done,” he said.

https://www.apnews.com/02efea20c2cb468c98ec10ca36afcdb0

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Convictions, Courts & Trials, Crime & Criminals, Deaths, Homicide, International Policing, Murder/Attempted Murder, Sentencing, Serial Killings, Victims of Crime

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 + eleven =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.