'Bored' German nurse used lethal drugs to kill over 100 patients
BERLIN: A German nurse who used lethal drugs on patients out of "boredom" is responsible for the deaths of 106 people, investigators said Thursday, noting the toll could rise further as more bodies are studied.
Niels Hoegel, 41, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and four counts of attempted murder or causing bodily harm on intensive-care patients at the Delmenhorst hospital near the northern city of Bremen.
But exhumations and analyses since have uncovered evidence of scores of other victims, with police saying in August that Hoegel had murdered more than 90 different patients.
On Thursday, police and prosecutors confirmed an additional 16 deaths, attributed to the nurse who worked at two hospitals between 1999 and 2005.
More deaths may still be uncovered with toxicology studies under way for five other cases, and exhumations of three former patients planned in Turkey.
Prosecutors said they expect to bring the new charges against Hoegel early next year.
He has admitted to injecting patients with drugs that can cause heart failure or circulatory collapse so he could then try to revive them and, when successful, shine as a saviour before his medical peers.
He earlier testified that at times he acted out of "boredom", feeling euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life and also claimed to be devastated when he failed.
The death toll "is unique in the history of the German republic," the chief police investigator in the case, Arne Schmidt, said in August, adding that Hoegel killed "without a discernible pattern" and preyed primarily on those in critical condition.
"The insights we were able to gain are terrifying, they surpass what we could have imagined," said Johann Kuehme, police chief in the city of Oldenburg, where the other hospital is located.