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Germany

Nurse Acquitted of Manslaughter Charges

A Berlin court acquitted a 30-year-old nurse charged with five counts of manslaughter on Tuesday. Four years ago, the man "admitted" to murdering patients in Berlin's Bundeswehr hospital in 1996, saying that he wanted to spare people unnecessary suffering as they were kept alive by machines. All the patients had been expected to die soon. But the judge hearing the case ruled that there was no evidence to suggest the defendant was responsible for the deaths, basing his decision on the withdrawn confession and evidence from several doctors who had concluded the patients died of natural causes. An expert witness maintained the defendant's false statement may have been motivated by feelings of guilt for having failed to prevent the patients' deaths. The nurse now lives in a psychiatric hospital where he was admitted after starting a series of arson attacks.