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German nurse 'admits to 30 patient killings'

January 8, 2015

A German nurse on trial for allegedly killing three patients in his care has admitted to causing the death of 30 patients in all, a court psychologist has said. The man is already in prison for an attempted murder.

Accused sitting next to his lawyer, Ulrike Baumann (r), before the start of the trial. Photo: Carmen Jaspersen/dpa
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Carmen Jaspersen

A psychologist told a German court on Thursday that a nurse on trial for three hospital murders had admitted to killing 30 patients in all with overdoses of a cardiac drug.

The psychologist, who has been appointed by the court, said the man had also admitted to nearly killing 60 more at Delmenhorst Hospital, located near the city of Bremen in northern Germany. The nurse said he had administered the drug to create medical emergencies that necessitated resuscitation procedures, according to the psychologist.

He said the accused had not admitted to having killed anyone while working elsewhere at other hospitals, a nursing home or as an ambulance worker.

A court spokesman said, however, that the alleged admission did not amount to a formal confession, as the accused had not made a statement directly to the court.

'Need for admiration'

Prosecutors had earlier decided to limit the trial in the northwestern city of Bremen to just three killings to make the case against him easier to prove. They say the accused, 38, had wanted to create medical emergencies so that he could glean gratitude and admiration by saving people from the brink of death.

The man, whose name has been withheld under German media privacy guidelines, worked at the hospital between 2003 and 2005 in intensive care.

He is already serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence on a 2008 conviction for attempted murder after a colleague caught him injecting a patient in intensive care with an overdose.

More deaths a decade ago came to light when patient files were reviewed.

Police and state prosecutors are undertaking an investigation of all deaths in which the man could have been involved as part of his professional work. If necessary, bodies are to be exhumed to determine the cause of death.

tj/msh (AFP, dpa)