The serial-killer nurse dubbed the ‘Angel of Death’, who was jailed for life for murdering 85 patients, is set to testify in a trial against seven of his colleagues, who stand accused of looking the other way.
The trial against seven of Niels Hoegel’s colleagues started in the Weser-Ems-Halle, a multipurpose arena complex located in the city of Oldenburg in the German state of Lower Saxony yesterday (Thursday, 17th February).
The three doctors, three senior nurses and a former clinic head are accused of looking the other way when the nurse injected a deadly drug into helpless patients
Three of the defendants are from Delmenhorst and four from Oldenburg, from healthcare facilities where the nurse worked, and they are standing trial two years after the nurse’s last hearing.
The defendants have not been named, but they are all reportedly senior members of staff aged 60 to 77 years old and who worked as supervisors for the nurse. They are represented by 18 criminal defence lawyers.
The trial should feature eight defendants, but one is seriously ill and unable to stand trial, with the case against him now being separated from the others, the District Court of Oldenburg announced on Monday.
The court said that as soon as the “person who is now being prosecuted separately is able to stand trial again, the proceedings against him will be continued separately”.
The prosecutor accuses the defendants of having failed to intervene in the murders carried out by the nurse for two reasons: “Concern for the clinics’ good reputation and the fear of being accused of bullying and false suspicion made the crimes happen.”
The lawyers for the defendants, however, disagreed and said that none of the defendants could have realised at the time who was hiding behind the facade of the overzealous yet friendly nurse.
One defence lawyer was quoted in reports as saying: “Hoegel deceived everyone. Even the former Public Prosecutor’s Office assumed for years that Hoegel had only carried out one murder.”
And as a result, the nurse continued working in nursing homes. He injected deadly drugs into patients at the clinics in Delmenhorst and Oldenburg between 2000 and 2005. He reportedly enjoyed trying to resuscitate patients, but very few survived the ordeal he imposed on them.
An unnamed 34-year-old man whose grandparents died within six months of each other at the hands of the serial-killer nurse said: “Our wounds will never heal, but if there are accomplices, they must get their just punishment.”
The next trial date is set for 1st March, and the serial killer nurse will reportedly be called upon as a witness.
Niels Hoegel was jailed for life in June 2019 for murdering 85 people.
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