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Berlin: A German nurse serving a life sentence for murdering two of his patients is believed to have killed at least 86 others entrusted to his care, officials said Monday, in what they described as an imagination-defying series of crimes.

The nurse, identified as Niels Hoegel, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015, after a court in the northern town of Oldenburg found him guilty of administering overdoses of heart medication to some patients in an intensive care ward in Delmenhorst.

He was convicted of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and causing bodily harm to patients and is serving his sentence.

During his trial, the former nurse confessed to intentionally inducing cardiac crises in 90 of his patients, 30 of whom he said had died. That prompted officials to launch an investigation into the deaths of some 130 of Hoegel’s former patients. The results were presented Monday in Oldenburg.

At least 84 of the convicted killer’s former patients were found to have died after suffering from injections of five different forms of medication, Johan Kuehme, chief of police in Oldenburg, told reporters.

Authorities are waiting for the results of another 41 toxicology reports, the results of which could drive the number of confirmed deaths even higher, he said.

“The realisation of what we were able to learn is horrifying,” Kuehme told reporters. “It defies any scope of the imagination.”

Former nurse Niels Hoegel stands in the courtroom wearing handcuffs and covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg, Germany image

Hoegel, now 40, told the court at the time that he had enjoyed trying to revive the patients. But his efforts did not always succeed, leaving some to become his victims.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg,Germany

The special commission, launched in October 2014, combed through evidence that included more than 500 patient files. It based its conclusions in part on toxicology tests on the remains of 134 possible victims, who were exhumed to see if they contained traces of the chemicals the nurse had confessed to using.

It found that Hoegel had administered lethal injections to patients at a hospital in Oldenburg, where he worked from 1999 to 2001.

In October 2016, prosecutors brought charges against six employees of the hospital in Delmenhorst, on suspicion of negligent manslaughter, for failing to take action despite their suspicion regarding the nurse’s actions.

A related investigation into hospital personnel in Oldenburg is continuing, but no one has been charged.

Niels Hoegel, face covered, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a clinic in the northwestern town of Delmenhorst.Germany.

Live Ansbach bombing: attacker was rejected Syrian asylum seeker, say officials – latest

A 27-year-old man who had been denied asylum dies after explosion in southern German town

policeman stands near the scene after a man was killed and 11 others were injured in an explosion in Franconia Ansbach image

A policeman stands near the scene after a man was killed and 11 others were injured in an explosion in Franconia Ansbach. Photograph: Daniel Karmann/EPA

A Syrian man killed himself and injured 12 people after a “deliberate explosion” outside a music festival in the German town of Ansbach.

Authorities said the 27-year-old had been denied asylum a year ago and had a history of making attempts on his own life.

It is believed a device he was carrying exploded although it is not clear whether it was a suicide bombing or whether the man intended to plant it and harm others.

At a media conference in the early hours of Monda,y the Bavarian interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, said the man had attempted to gain entrance to the Ansbach open music festival.

More than 2,000 people had been in the crowd in the small town of 40,000 people south-west of Nuremberg that is also home to a US army base.

Herrmann said the man was carrying a backpack at the time of the blast, at about 10pm on Sunday, but was turned away at the entrance to the festival, where the performers were to have included Ian Anderson, frontman of defunct prog-rock band Jethro Tull.

The backpack contained metal items used in “wood manufacturing” and could have killed many more people, he said.

Hermann did not specify whether these items were nails or screws but he said that because of the contents a terrorist motivation for the incident could not be ruled out.

However, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Ansbach said the attacker’s motive was unclear. “If there is an Islamist link or not is purely speculation at this point,” said the spokesman, Michael Schrotberger.

Hermann said the man’s request for asylum was rejected a year ago, but he was allowed to remain in Germany on account of the situation in Syria. “It’s terrible … that someone who came into our country to seek shelter has now committed such a heinous act and injured a large number of people who are at home here, some seriously,” he said.

“It’s a further, horrific attack that will increase the already growing security concerns of our citizens. We must do everything possible to prevent the spread of such violence in our country by people who came here to ask for asylum.”

Herrmann added it was unclear if the man had planned to kill only himself or “take others with him into death”.

At least 12 people are reported to have been injured in the blast – three are believed to be in a serious condition.

Emergency workers and vehicles in Ansbach town centre after the explosion image

Emergency workers and vehicles in Ansbach town centre after the explosion.
Photograph: Reuters Tv/Reuters

Shortly after the explosion, the mayor of Ansbach said the blast had been caused deliberately.

A police spokesman said: “An explosion went off in the city centre and a man, which the latest inquiries show caused it, was killed in the event.” After the explosion the area was evacuated and the music festival cancelled.

Thomas Debinski, who was interviewed by Sky News, described a “disturbing” scene as people in the small city realised a violent act had taken place.

“People were definitely panicking, the rumour we were hearing immediately was that there had been a gas explosion,” he said. “But then people came past and said it was a rucksack that had exploded. Someone blew themselves up. After what just happened in Munich it’s very disturbing to think what can happen so close to you in such a small town.”

Police sealed off the town centre and emergency services attended the scene. Bomb experts were sent to determine the cause of the explosion.

policeman stands near the scene after a man was killed and 11 others were injured in an explosion in Franconia Ansbach photo image

The explosion, which followed the killing on Friday of nine people by an 18-year-old gunman in Munich, occurred at a wine bar called Eugene’s, the Nürnberger Nachrichten newspaper reported.

Police had said earlier the explosion might have been caused by a gas leak. But a spokesman for the Bavarian interior ministry later said the blast was not an accident and appeared to have been intentional. “The explosion was set off deliberately,” said Michael Siefener, a spokesman for the regional interior ministry.

Germany, and Bavaria in particular, has been on edge after a deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall on Friday in which nine people were killed, and an axe attack on a train near Würzburg last Monday in which five people were wounded.

Both came shortly after a Tunisian man in a truck killed 84 people when he ploughed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, on the French Riviera.

Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk reported that about 200 police officers and 350 rescue personnel were brought in following the explosion in Ansbach.

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Henry Sapiecha


Cologne attacks: ‘They touched us everywhere’

Victims of a mass indecent assault during New Year’s Eve celebrations in the German city of Cologne say they feared for their lives.

One of the victims of a mass sexual attack in the German city of Cologne has described the terrifying moment a mob of more than 30 angry men surrounded her and her friends and groped and robbed them during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Another woman recounted how her underpants were literally torn from her body during the apparently coordinated attacks outside the main train station in Germany’s fourth-largest city around midnight on December 31.

Michelle described on German television how she was attacked during New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne.image

Michelle described on German television how she was attacked during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne.

Cologne police say they have now received more than 90 complaints of robbery and sexual assault, including two accounts of rape, at the hands of hundreds of men who targeted the young women in the crush of revellers.

City police chief Wolfgang Albers described the perpetrators as being of Arab or North African appearance, and called it “a completely new dimension of crime”. The attack has shocked Germany and ignited debate about the country’s refugee policy.

One of the victims, Michelle, 18, told German news channel NTV that she was with a group of 10 friends who arrived at the train station about 11pm on New Year’s Eve and noticed as many as 1000 people, almost all foreign men, gathered outside in an area adjacent to the city cathedral.

Michelle said that, as she and her friends walked towards the River Rhine to watch the fireworks, there were “suddenly 20 to 30 men who surrounded us, and more and more came”.

She said the men began to molest them, touching them on their legs, backs, torsos and buttocks, and attempted to reach under their clothes. “The good thing was that we were dressed in thick clothing,” she said.

The group of friends protested, but the men didn’t appear to understand German, Michelle said. “They were all foreigners,” she said.

Michelle said some of her friends were screaming during the assault, which she estimated lasted for five minutes. The friends eventually formed their hands in a chain and broke free, with several of the group crying.

It was only after they escaped that they realised they had also been robbed of their mobile phones, wallets, headphones and cigarettes.

“We were not beaten, have no permanent damage, but it was disgusting and not funny,” Michelle said.

Another woman, Anne, 25, told German newspaper Bild that she was waiting tables at a nightclub and went outside briefly during her break when she was attacked by a group of “Arab” men, who pulled up her dress and tore her underpants off before running away.

Another unnamed woman, aged 20, had every item of clothing torn from her body, while her friend was “abused with fingers”, Bild reported.

One victim said that, such was the chaos around the train station, she feared she could be killed or raped and “nobody would notice”, Reuters reported.

The woman said she and her friend were walking past the train station when they were surrounded by a group of men who “touched us everywhere” and “grabbed between our legs”.

“I thought to myself that if we stay here in this crowd they could kill us, they could rape us and nobody would notice. I thought we simply had to accept it. There was no one around us who helped or was in a position to help. All I wanted was to get out,” the woman said.

“I was scared that I wouldn’t leave this crowd alive. I was scared that if someone showed up with a knife I could be raped in the middle of the street.

“I have nightmares at night and I can’t sleep anymore. I am too scared to go outside on my own and of course I’m now scared to go to big cities.”

German police have identified three suspects in connection with attacks, but no arrests have been made.

Police in Hamburg are now reporting similar incidents on New Year’s Eve in the party area of St Pauli.

Police said they had received 53 complaints, more than half of them alleging sexual harassment, from victims aged 18 to 25 in Hamburg.

The victims appeared to have been targeted in a similar fashion to those in Cologne, and also described the attackers as being dark-skinned or appearing Arabic, police said.


Henry Sapiecha


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