German nurse, 42, jailed for life for murdering 85 patients by deliberately putting them into cardiac arrest

·Freelance Writer
Niels Hoegel, defendant, charged with the killing of 100 patients as nurse on an intensive care unit waits for the beginning of the third day of his trial in the court in Oldenburg, western Germany, graphic element on gray
Niels Hoegel has been jailed for life for killing 85 patients (AP)

A former nurse who killed 85 patients by deliberately putting them into cardiac arrest because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them has been jailed for life.

Niels Hoegel, 42, killed his victims while working at a hospital in Oldenburg, Germany, between 1999 and 2002, and a nearby hospital in Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005.

The killings took place between 2000 and 2005, according to German news agency dpa.

His victims were aged between 34 and 96.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel sits in the court room during a session of the district court in Oldenburg, Germany, Thursday, June 6, 2019. Niels Hoegel has been convicted of 85 counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. (Hauke-Christian Dittrich/dpa via AP)
Hoegel killed his victims while working at a hospitals in Germany (AP)

The death toll makes Hoegel what is believed to be the worst serial killer in modern German history.

Sentencing Hoegel to life. Oldenburg court judge Sebastian Buehrmann noted the "particular seriousness of the crimes" in his verdict.

Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders and is already serving a life sentence.

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There are no consecutive sentences in the German system, but the court's ruling on the seriousness of the crimes all but ensures he will remain incarcerated after the standard 15-year term is up.

Hoegel said at his first trial that he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg.

Authorities subsequently investigated hundreds of deaths, exhuming bodies of former patients.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel covers his face as he arrives for the start of his trial in a courtroom in Oldenburg, Germany, October 30, 2018.     Julian Stratenschulte/Pool via REUTERS
Hoegel said he realised how much pain and suffering he had caused families with his 'terrible deeds' (Reuters)

Hoegel was tried in Oldenburg on 100 counts of murder but the court found him not guilty on 15 counts because of lack of evidence.

During the seven-month trial, Hoegel admitted 43 of the killings, disputed five and said he could not remember the other 52.

In his closing statement to the court on Wednesday, he expressed shame and remorse, saying he realised how much pain and suffering he had caused families with his "terrible deeds”.

"To each and every one of you I sincerely apologise for all that I have done," he said.

Christian Marbach, a spokesman for the affected families whose grandfather was among the victims, doubted Hoegel's sincerity.

"Hoegel is and remains a liar," Mr Marbach said. "He tactically only admitted what could already 100% be proven against him.”

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