40-Year-Old Could Be 'Germany's Worst Post-War Killer'

Police allege Niels Hoegel killed at least 86 people
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2017 8:56 AM CDT
40-Year-Old Could Be 'Germany's Worst Post-War Killer'
In this Dec. 9, 2014 file photo former nurse Niels Hoegel accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, stands in the court room wearing handcuffs and covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg, Germany.    (Ingo Wagner/dpa via AP)

He has been convicted of killing two and attempting to murder two more—and he could actually be "Germany's worst post-war killer," reports the BBC. Niels Hoegel, 40, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for those crimes, but prosecutors voiced their belief that the nurse had killed many more while working at clinics in Oldenburg (from 1999 to 2002) and Delmenhorst (from 2003 to 2005), reports the AP. Now police are giving a sense of just how many more: at least 84. Hoegel said at trial that he wanted to play the hero and drugged his patients so that he could then resuscitate them and win praise. Except a commission established three years ago to determine the breadth of his crimes has found that many patients ended up receiving lethal doses of drugs that brought on heart failure or destroyed the circulatory system.

The BBC reports that 134 bodies have been exhumed and tested for traces of the drug, but "it is simply not possible to say how many people were killed," per Oldenburg police chief Johann Kuhme. That's in part because many of his patients were cremated. The AFP quotes chief police investigator Arne Schmidt as describing the death toll as "unique in the history of the German republic." There is "evidence for at least 90 murders," he said at a press conference, "and at least as many [suspected] cases again that can no longer be proven." Kuhme faulted the clinics for having "hesitated to alert authorities," saying the death toll could have been much lower if they had. New charges against Hoegel will likely be filed next year. (This nurse says she would get a "red surge" before killing one of her patients.)

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