(DW.COM) – Serial killer and former nurse Niels Högel was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for the murder of 85 patients.
"Your guilt is unimaginable," Judge Sebastian Bührmann told the convicted man. "The human mind struggles to take in the sheer scale of these crimes."
"I feel like an accountant of death," the judge remarked. "Sometimes the worst fantasy is not enough to describe the truth."
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Högel was originally accused of having murdered 100 patients while on duty as a nurse from June 1999 until 2005. The victims, people of all ages and backgrounds, some in bad health and others on the mend, had trusted the medical centers in Lower Saxony where Högel worked with their lives.
The court in Oldenburg handed down Germany's most severe form of a life sentence which precludes the chance of an early release after serving 15 years. A prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment can usually apply for parole after 15 years, but if the court judges there is a "severe gravity of guilt," as it did in Högel's case, parole can be delayed for a non-specified period beyond that time.