Killer nurse back on trial in Germany for 100 further murders

Niels H?gel

Niels H?gel

On the first day of his trial at a court in Oldenburg, northwest Germany, Hoegel said the murder allegations against him were correct, CNN affiliate channel RTL and state broadcaster ARD reported.

As the proceedings opened in the northern city of Oldenburg, presiding judge Sebastian Buehrmann asked whether the charges against him were accurate.

The trial began with a minute of silence for the patients. There are no formal pleas in the German legal system.

Investigators say at least 36 patients were killed at a hospital in Oldenburg where he worked, and about 64 more at a clinic in nearby Delmenhorst, between 2000 and 2005.

The choice of victim appears to have been entirely random, with their ages ranging from 34 to 96.

Hoegel, 41, has already spent almost a decade in prison for other patient deaths, and is accused of intentionally administering medical overdoses to victims so he could bring them back to life at the last moment.

The magazine also reported the prosecution exhumed 134 bodies to examine for traces of drugs Hoegel may have used, however more than 100 of the former patients were cremated.

Hoegel is already serving a life sentence for six convictions, including homicide and attempted homicide.

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Around 126 relatives will be co-plaintiffs in the new trial and are expected to fill the specially designated courtroom in Oldenburg, along with about 80 journalists. "We will make every effort to seek the truth".

Hoegel told the court that he had a "protected" childhood, free of violence. He said his grandmother and his father, who were both nurses, had been his role models for going into the profession.

"We have fought for four years for this trial and expect Hoegel to be convicted of another 100 killings", said Christian Marbach, a representative of the patients' relatives.

He was found guilty of murder and attempted murder of five other victims and given the maximum sentence of 15 years. "The aim is for Hoegel to stay in custody as long as possible".

The trial is scheduled to last until May.

Oldenburg police chief Johann Kuehme past year said other medical workers at Oldenburg were aware of an elevated number of resuscitations, and initial indications of possible wrongdoing by the nurse in Delmenhorst emerged as early as April 2003.

Authorities are pursuing criminal cases against former staff at the two medical facilities.

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