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Life sentence for German nurse

February 26, 2015

A German nurse has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of killing two patients. He was on trial for two hospital killings, but later admitted to responsibility for dozens of deaths.

Plädoyes im Prozess gegen ehemaligen Krankenpfleger
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Jaspersen

On Thursday, a court in the northwestern German city of Oldenburg handed down a life sentence to a former nurse found guilty of murdering hospital patients.

Niels H., whose last name has not been released to the press under German media privacy guidelines, was found guilty on two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and battery. The court also ruled out the possibility of parole after serving 15 years in prison given the particular severity of guilt.

The judges further stripped the defendant of his nursing license.

Although the defendant later admitted responsibility for the deaths of dozens of patients, prosecutors built their case around a few deaths that could be proved.

The incidents occurred at Delmenhorst Hospital, located near the city of Bremen, between 2003 and 2005, where Niels H. had been employed in intensive care. In his testimony, he admitted killing some 30 patients by administering them with a lethal injection of heart medication. The 38-year-old said a lack of challenging work had led him to create the medical emergencies, to demonstrate his skills at reviving people and gain approval.

A court-appointed psychologist testified in early January that Niels H. had admitted to 60 additional deaths, bringing the total to at least 90 murders.

Authorities continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the serial killings. Once complete, their findings could force the former nurse to appear before court once again.

kms/msh (AFP, dpa)