New Delhi: A German nurse is currently on trial facing charges of killing 100 patients. However, reports say the number of his victims could be as high as 300. (Also read: Nurse Arrested For Illegal Adoption of Infants)
It is his third trial, and he is serving a life sentence for murdering two patients and playing a role in the killing of four others.
Forty-two-year-old Niels Högel is considered the most prolific serial killer in the history of peacetime Germany, and perhaps in the world. Beginning in 2000, Högel may have killed as many as 300 patients over five years.
Prosecutors said he created situations in which life and death rested in his hands. First, he gave an overdose of drugs which caused cardiac arrest, only to rush and try to revive patients. His colleagues called him “Resuscitation Rambo” and appreciated his skill with a necklace made of injection tubes, which he wore with pride.
It has taken over a decade of investigation by the authorities who exhumed over 130 our bodies in Germany, Poland and Turkey. Högel has admitted to killing 43, has not ruled out killing 52 others while denying putting another five to death.
This time, he faces charges of killing 100 more sufferers — 36 at the foremost clinic in Oldenburg and 64 others after he transferred to Delmenhorst, a suburb of Bremen, about 20 miles away.
Of 411 deaths at the Delmenhorst clinic in the three years he worked there, 321 came about at some stage in or right after his shifts, records show.
Dr Karl-Heinz Beine, a German neurologist and head doctor of psychiatry at St Marien Sanatorium in Hamm, said the nurse seemed to suffer from narcissism and had a deep lack of self-esteem.
He points out the case of Harold Shipman, a physician in England, who was convicted in 2000 of killing 15 by injection. Shipman killed himself in 2004.
“Niels Högel is a member of this vulgar minority,” said Dr Beine who has researched serial killers since 1989. He said that what struck him about Högel’s testimony was his lack of empathy even when talking to victims’ households.