Convicted nurse released
The nurse who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 for murder and attempted murder has been sent home for 3 months due to new evidence.3 April 2008
The HAGUE - Lucia de B., the nurse in The Hague who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 for the murder of seven patients and attempted murder of three others, has been released.
The nurse Lucia de B. has been freed on the recommendation of the public prosecutor's office due to the appearance of new evidence in the case. The release is temporary, for a period of three months pending further investigation.
The Hague nurse, who full surname is being withheld under the journalistic code of conduct in the Netherlands, was convicted in July 2006 for the murder of seven patients and the attempted murder of three others.
However, due to growing doubts surrounding the safety of her conviction, a further investigation of the forensic evidence was commissioned by public prosecutor's office.
In the report, Professor Jan Meulenbelt of the National Toxin Information Centre concludes that one of the alleged victims, "baby A", was probably not poisoned, but in fact died of natural causes.
He believes that the blood sample used in court was not representative and cannot be concluded that the concentration of digoxin found in the baby's organs was definitely the cause of death. The professor also says that de B. could not have administered the substance at the time she is supposed to have done so.
The poisoning of Baby A was crucial to de B.'s conviction. The evidence that she was responsible for the baby's death was thought to be the most secure, and other evidence was principally statistical.
The case has been the subject of ongoing controversy in the media and in scientific circles. The campaign for her release has included a full-page advertisement in the press and a petition submitted to the justice minister.
A book on the case by philosopher Ton Derksen describes the conviction as a miscarriage of justice. However all previous applications for Ms de B.'s release have been turned down.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]