German nurse confesses to 100 murders; could be many more

Niels Högel covers his face in the courtroom  

As we reported a year ago, a nursing home nurse in Germany has confessed to killing at least 100 patients. Although he is already serving a life sentence for two murders,  Niels Högel appeared in court this week to face charges that he killed another 100 patients.

When asked by the presiding judge whether this was true, Högel responded: "Yes."

The judge said that the goal of this trial was to determine the full scope of the murders that were allowed to go unchecked for years. "We will do our utmost to learn the truth," he said. "It is like a house with dark rooms — we want to bring light into the darkness."

According to the indictment, Högel carried out the murders between February 2000 and June 2005 in two hospitals in the northern German cities of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst. The youngest of his victims was 34 and the oldest was 96.

The truth will probably never be found. A police investigation has determined that the potential number of victims was 322. However, more than a hundred of them have been cremated, making it impossible to perform forensic tests. In all 134 bodies were exhumed, some as far away as Poland and Turkey. Högel had probably "killed between 200 and 300 people," an expert working on the case told Der Spiegel.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | germany, nursing homes, serial killers

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