A male nurse who is serving a life sentence after being convicted of murdering two patients in northern Germany is now a suspect in at least 84 other murder cases, police say.
The 40-year-old, named only as Niels H due to strict German reporting rules, was convicted of attempted murder in 2006 and murder in 2015.
Prosecutors said that the nurse, who concealed his identity during court appearances by holding a folder over his face, administered lethal drug doses to his victims that caused their hearts or circulatory systems to fail.
Investigators claimed that he was motivated by a desire to win approval by resuscitating the patients he had drugged.
Relatives of patients who died in clinics where he worked had urged police to investigate further — and in 2014, a commission was set up to investigate his crimes.
The commission has analyzed medical records and exhumed 134 bodies to test samples for drug residue — but the testing has been complicated by the fact that many of the suspected victims were cremated.
During his 2015 trial, he admitted applying the drug to about 90 people at an intensive-care clinic in the town of Delmenhorst. But investigators discovered that the abnormalities date back to the year 2000, when he worked at another clinic in Oldenburg.
Staff at Oldenburg reportedly held a meeting in 2001 to discuss the strange levels of deaths and resuscitations connected with Niels H, but did not contact police. This allowed Niels H to later gain employment at the Delmenhorst clinic.
Oldenburg police chief Johann Kuhme said that it was “simply not possible to say” how many people could have been killed, according to the BBC. “The findings continue to breach any imagination,” he said.
The investigation continues — and police say new charges are now likely to be filed against Niels H in 2018.
Main photo: German nurse known as “Niels H” during a court appearance [CGTN / YouTube (screenshot)]