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CRIME

Nurse jailed for life over German insulin murders

A Polish healthcare worker was sentenced to life in prison in Germany on Tuesday for killing at least three people with insulin, in a case that recalls that of serial killer nurse Niels Högel.

Nurse jailed for life over German insulin murders
The defendant in court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

The defendant, named by prosecutors as Grzegorz Stanislaw W., 38, was handed the highest possible sentence in Germany by a court in Munich and will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

He was initially accused of six murders, but the court could not find enough evidence to convict him for three of them.

He was however also found guilty of attempted murder in two cases, as well as dangerous bodily injury and stealing from his victims.

Judge Elisabeth Ehrl said many of Grzegorz Stanislaw W.'s patients and their families had been suspicious of him, with one elderly man threatening to jump out of the window if the man came near him.

“Maria, he is the devil,” one of the murder victims told his housekeeper shortly before his death.

But the court heard that although hesitant about keeping him in their employ, the families were forced to keep him on due to the urgency of their needs.

Grzegorz Stanislaw W. had refused to speak during the trial, but apologised on Tuesday to the victims' relatives and expressed regret. “What I did was very brutal and remains brutal,” he said.

Prosecutors accused him of injecting his patients with insulin, which can be lethal in large doses, and then robbing them.

He had access to the drug because he had diabetes.

He visited the homes of at least 69 patients in several German cities from Bavaria in the south to Hanover in the north between April 2017 and February 2018.

Prosecutors said he hated his job and committed one of the murders in order to avoid being sacked.

The court also heard that he had been convicted of fraud in Poland and was in prison between 2008 and 2014.

The case has brought back memories of Niels Högel, a German nurse sentenced to life in prison last year for murdering 85 patients.

Högel, believed to be Germany's most prolific serial killer, murdered patients with lethal injections between 2000 and 2005, before he was eventually caught in the act.

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CRIME

German police foil teenage school ‘Nazi attack’

German investigators said Thursday they foiled a school bomb attack, as they arrested a 16-year-old who is suspected to have been planning a "Nazi terror attack".

German police foil teenage school 'Nazi attack'

“The police prevented a nightmare,” said Herbert Reul, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state.

Police in the city of Essen had stormed the teen’s room overnight, taking him into custody and uncovering 16 “pipe bombs”, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim material.

Some of the pipe bombs found contained nails, but officers did not find any detonators, Reul said.

There are “indications suggesting the young man has serious psychiatric problems and suicidal thoughts,” said Reul.

Material found so far in the suspect’s room include his own writing which constituted “a call for urgent help by a desperate young man.”

The suspect was allegedly planning to target his current school or another where he studied previously.

“All democrats have a common task to fight against racism, brutalisation and hate,” said NRW’s deputy premier Joachim Stamp, as he thanked police for “preventing a suspected Nazi terror attack”.

The suspect is being questioned while investigators continue to comb his home for evidence.

Investigators believe that he was acting alone.

They had been tipped off by another teen who informed them that the young man “wanted to place bombs in his school”, located about 800 metres from his home.

The school, as well as another institution, were closed on Thursday as investigators undertook fingertip searches as the locations to ensure that no bombs had been placed on site.

‘Neo-Nazi networks’ 

Germany has been rocked by several far-right assaults in recent years, sparking accusations that the government was not doing enough to stamp out neo-Nazi violence.

In February 2020 a far-right extremist shot dead 10 people and wounded five others in the central German city of Hanau.

Large amounts of material championing conspiracy theories and far-right ideology were subsequently found in the gunman’s apartment.

And in 2019, two people were killed after a neo-Nazi tried to storm a synagogue in Halle on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Germany’s centre-left-led government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz took office in December pledging a decisive fight against far-right militants and investigators in April carried out country-wide raids against “neo-Nazi networks”, arresting four suspects.

The suspects targeted in the raids were believed to belong to the far-right martial arts group Knockout 51, the banned Combat 18 group named after theorder in the alphabet of Adolf Hitler’s initials, US-based Atomwaffen (Atomic) Division or the online propaganda group Sonderkommando 1418.

German authorities were also battling to clean extremists from within their ranks. Last year, the state of Hesse said it was dissolving Frankfurt’s elite police force after several officers were accused of participating in far-right online chats and swapping neo-Nazi symbols.

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