'Angel of death' may have killed40 German nursing home patients

3rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2004 , KEMPTEN - A nurse in Germany may have killed up to 40 nursing home patients "to put them out of their misery", an investigator said Tuesday. So far the 25-year-old male nurse has admitted killing 10 elderly patients with lethal doses of sedatives and painkillers because they were "vegetating" and said he wanted to "release" them from further suffering in Sonthofen Hospital on the slopes of the Alps. But the self-confessed killer has told investigators he could not be certain just how many v

3 August 2004

KEMPTEN - A nurse in Germany may have killed up to 40 nursing home patients "to put them out of their misery", an investigator said Tuesday.

So far the 25-year-old male nurse has admitted killing 10 elderly patients with lethal doses of sedatives and painkillers because they were "vegetating" and said he wanted to "release" them from further suffering in Sonthofen Hospital on the slopes of the Alps.

But the self-confessed killer has told investigators he could not be certain just how many victims there might have been.

"We think there could be anywhere from 20 up to 40 victims," said Bavarian police investigator Wolfgang Huber

Huber said the remains of an initial 10 hospital patients were being exhumed following the nurse having given authorities their names.

"But there apparently are other victims whose names he could no longer recall," Huber said.

In autopsies, pathologists will try to assess how much of the deadly drug cocktail each patient received. Police have calculated the nurse had helped himself to enough sedatives and painkillers to kill at least 20 people.

The dead were aged 60 to 89 and had all been seriously ill. Police say there is no other indication yet of more killings, but hospital files are being scrutinized for any suspicious signs.

Other nurses on the ward became suspicious after realizing that drugs kept disappearing.

Prosecutors in nearby Kempten said they intended to obtain more evidence by autopsy and other means, then re-open interrogation of the man, who is in custody.

Tuesday's revelations come amid German newspaper claims that the case was likely to be the worst mass murder ever committed in a German hospital. The man confessed the killings began in March 2003. The most recent of the deaths was on 10 July.

DPA

Subject: German news

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