Niels Högel, a former nurse, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 85 more people while on duty in German hospitals until 2005. He is Germany’s worst peacetime killer.
Högel, 42, was originally accused of having murdered 100 patients while on duty as a nurse from 2000 until 2005. The victims were people of all ages and backgrounds, some in bad health and others on the mend. Högel deliberately induced cardiac arrest in patients by injecting them with certain drugs. He then resuscitated them to win everyone’s admiration. But many of Högel’s stunts went awry, and patients died.
During closing arguments at the district court in Oldenburg on Wednesday, Högel addressed friends and relatives of his victims and apologised.
The court in Oldenburg announced the life sentence on Thursday morning. Högel has been given Germany’s most severe form of life sentence which precludes the chance of an early release after serving 15 years. Authorities have the powers to keep him in jail for longer.
Under German law, a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment can usually apply for parole after 15 years. But if the court judges there is a “severe gravity of guilt,” parole can be delayed for a non-specified period beyond that time.