A male nurse who was jailed for life two years ago, for killing two
hospital patients with lethal drug overdoses, murdered at least 90
patients in total and possibly twice as many, police said on Monday,
calling it post-war Germany’s worst killing spree.
Niels Hoegel, 40, was jailed in February 2015 for 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.
The German authorities said forensics experts had since exhumed and
analysed more than 130 additional bodies and found evidence of a vastly
higher death toll at two hospitals where Hoegel had worked between 1999
“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.
The death toll “is unique in the history of the German republic”,
said the chief police investigator in the case, Arne Schmidt, adding
that Hoegel killed “without a discernable pattern” and preyed especially
on those in critical condition.
There was “evidence for at least 90 murders, and at least as many
(suspected) cases again that can no longer be proven”, he told a news
conference, declaring himself “speechless” at the outcome.
According to reports, Hoegel 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”, that he
felt euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life, and
devastated when he failed.
After the revelations, police and prosecutors three years ago
launched a special forensic commission dubbed “Kardio” (Cardio) to look
into other patient deaths.
Presenting their findings, the officials said on Monday that 134
bodies had been exhumed and tested for traces of the deadly drugs, and
that police also reviewed scores of medical records and questioned
hundreds of witnesses.
The cause of death in many cases could not be determined because the bodily remains had been cremated, said Kuehme.
The shocking revelations date back to June 2005, when a female nurse
witnessed Hoegel trying to inject a patient at the Delmenhorst hospital.
The patient survived and Hoegel was arrested. In June 2008, he was
sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail for several cases of
Following another similar case, a woman contacted police, voicing
suspicion that her deceased mother had fallen victim to the killer
nurse. The authorities exhumed several patients’ bodies and detected
traces of the drug in five of them, declaring it either the definitive
or possible contributing cause.
Hoegel was jailed for life in 2015, but at the time it was clear he
had murdered dozens more patients, with investigators admitting they may
never know the true number.
Source: The Local Germany