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German ex-nurse who put patients into cardiac arrest as he enjoyed resuscitating them jailed for life for 85 murders

Niels Hoegel said he was sorry for his actions. Credit: AP

A former nurse who liked to put patients into cardiac arrest because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them has been jailed for life after being convicted of 85 counts of murder.

Niels Hoegel - who is believed to be the worst serial killer in modern German history - would put his patients into cardiac arrest by giving them an overdose of heart medication before attempting to resuscitate them.

After a seven-month trial, the 42-year-old was convicted of 85 counts of murder, and found not guilty over a further 15 counts due to a lack of evidence.

Niels Hoegel said he was inspired to go into nursing because of his grandmother and father. Credit: AP

During his trial in the German city of Oldenburg, Hoegel admitted 43 of the killings, disputed five and said he could not remember the other 52.

Hoegel worked at a hospital in the north-western city between 1999 and 2002 and another hospital in nearby Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005.

The killings in question are believed to have taken place between 2000 and 2005.

The victims were aged between 34 and 96.

Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders and is already serving a life sentence.

There are no consecutive sentences in the German system, but the court's ruling on the seriousness of the crimes all but ensures he will remain incarcerated after the standard 15-year term is up.

Sentencing Hoegel, judge Sebastian Buehrmann noted the “particular seriousness of the crimes” in his verdict.

Niels Hoegel has expressed remorse over his actions. Credit: AP

During his first trial, Hoegel said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them.

He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg.

Authorities subsequently investigated hundreds of deaths, exhuming bodies of former patients.

Hoegel also testified that he had a “protected” childhood, free of violence.

He said his grandmother and his father, who were both nurses, had been his role models for going into the profession.

“Now I sit here fully convinced that I want to give every relative an answer,” Hoegel said during the trial. “I am really sorry.”

In his closing statement to the court on Wednesday, Hoegel reiterated his apology, expressing shame and remorse, and saying he realised how much pain and suffering he had caused with his “terrible deeds.”

“To each and every one of you I sincerely apologize for all that I have done,” he said.