Monthly Archives: May 2014

WHEN NURSES KILL:

And When Nurses Kill in Tax-Shelters.

Realms Without the Rule of Law.

And Twenty Five Murdering Nurses: A Global Media Survey:

On 29th March, 2014, in Manchester, UK, male nurse Victorino Chua was charged with three counts of murder. Chua was also charged with one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, 22 counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and eight offences of attempting to administer poison, under the Offences Against the Person Act.

These charges relate to a cluster of deaths and serious illness amongst patients in Steppings Hill Hospital, Stockport, England in June & July 2011. In spite of the hospital management and the police becoming quickly aware of an anomalous death & illness rate, and the rapid launching of an investigation it has taken nearly three years to bring these charges. That’s not a criticism of the UK police & prosecutors but rather a recognition of just how difficult it can be to uncover and map-out the facts in a murder-case such as this; a case when the police are starting from a position when the victims, and the tools of the murders – and the alleged attacker – are all known to have been in the same building – the hospital – at the relevant times. You might think that’s a huge advantage to a police team, compared to other murder investigations, when there may be little, if any, evidence that places the victim, and the weapon – and the murderer – together at any particular time or the same location.

But a hospital environment automatically presents a setting with hundreds of unwell people – and dozens of deaths as a normality of each week. The use by hundreds of staff – on different shifts – of medicines and medical technology, the misuse or withholding of which could potentially harm or kill, is routine. And if anomalous deaths are even noticed in the first place in such an environment, any investigation is unavoidably starting from a position in which there are literally dozens of entirely credible suspects – any one of whom could have withheld those drugs, changed that prescription, administered the wrong medicines, turned-up that diamorphine-pump, contaminated the products, detached the drip, administered insulin improperly, tampered with life-support machines or blocked that lung-drain tube.

The vast majority of those staff will be innocent. One will not be.

But the brute fact confronting hospital management and police is that there might be dozens of entirely credible suspects who had access to the means and the opportunity to harm or kill the patients who have suffered unexpected near-death episodes, or who have suddenly died. That fact distinguishes hospital murders from other killings, in which the police can usually and very quickly narrow down the cohort of credible suspects to two or three people; in fact, usually one person – the prime suspect – pretty easily.

But when unlawful killings have been recognised in a hospital – where there could be twenty realistic prime suspects – where do the management and the police start?

Sometimes, they don’t.

Sometimes very credible suspicions – and eyewitness complaints – and hard evidence – for attempted murders – murders in hospitals – can exist, yet the management not even notify the police.

There is no other profession that provides both the opportunity and the means to murder people – murder perhaps dozens, even hundreds of people – and to do so with comparatively slight risk of detection as nursing.

And that is so, not least because the deaths are hidden in plain sight.

The complexities of such cases are well-summarised by a report in the Manchester Evening News which said: –

“Rachel Smith, who is part of the prosecution team, said: “The defendant has been charged with three murders and a significant number of other serious offences arising out of the investigation into the poisonings of patients at Stepping Hill Hospital in 2011, and further offences relating to patient records in 2012.

“This case is listed for preliminary hearing – the defendant having been charged on Friday, and having appeared at the lower court (Manchester Magistrates) on Saturday.

“This is a case of some complexity – the evidence currently amounts to more than 20,000 pages and the current witness list exceeds 600 witnesses. The collective view is that this case could take three to four months to try.

“The size of this case, its complexity and the amount of expert evidence involved in it is such that it would seem unlikely that those representing the defendant would have everything they need to be ready for trial by September – the next most obvious point to set a trial of this length would appear to be January 2015.

“Engaged in this case are experts to causes and consequences of hypoglycemia, there’s neuropathological evidence, likely pathological evidence in respect of those with whom there are murder charges, evidence from forensic biochemists as to sampling of blood from patients and the interpretation of that sampling, and one of the experts engaged by the prosecution is, I understand, a world-renowned expect based in Cologne in Germany.

“There is other expert evidence relating to handwriting, all of those areas would have to be considered by those who represent the defendant.

“The case may ultimately become ‘was it this defendant who was the perpetrator?’ – or there may be a challenge to the assertions the offences occurred in any event.””

[Post-Script: – Chua was convicted, and sentenced to life in prison in May, 2015.]

Profoundly serious issues – reflected in the fact so many witnesses, so many resources – so many pages of evidence – are involved.

In the expert opinion and cases I cite below, you will read how sometimes authorities go to extraordinary lengths to actually conceal the fact there may have been a serial-killer nurse in their hospital.

How far can those extents go?

Let me put it this way – I exposed a case in which a rogue male nurse almost certainly murdered at least 13 of my then constituents – in the sample two-month period – and quite probably murdered perhaps dozens of other people – in other locations – over the years.

I was prosecuted for making that public-interest disclosure – and was given zero legal representation – and have had, all-told, well in excess of 25,000 pages of documentation served on me – to which I have been expected to respond – without so much as £50 to spend on employing a lawyer.

And if that doesn’t illustrate sufficiently starkly the extent to which authorities will go, and collude, in concealing clinical murder cases – in Jersey those who prosecuted me for whistle-blowing – and the judges who heard the case – were actually chosen by the directly conflicted individuals.

The individuals responsible for the original cover-up.

It is not by accident that the public authorities in the British quasi-self-governing jurisdiction of Jersey – the world’s largest tax-shelter – have been given such protection and licence to engage in and conceal such utter breakdown in the rule of law.

Were Jersey like Manchester things would have been straightforward enough. But instead the “almost-legal” liminal Crown realm of Jersey harbours too much of the City of London’s client-wealth to “risk” giving free-reign to the rule of law.

Stuart Syvret

Twenty Five Murdering Nurses: A Global Media Survey – Introduction:

The following quote is taken from an article for Crime Library, titled, Angels of Death: The Male Nurses:

“In an article for Forensic Nurse, Kelly Pyrek, indicates that since the mid-1970s, there have been 36 cases of serial murder among nurses and other healthcare workers in the U.S. A survey shows that the incidences appear to be increasing, with 14 during the 1990s and already five since 2000. (The article was written before Cullen’s atrocities came to light, so that makes at least six.) ‘Many experts speculate,’ says Pyrek, ‘that healthcare has contributed more serial killers than all other professions combined and that the field attracts a disproportionately high number of people with a pathological interest in life and death.’”

In USAToday, journalist Rick Hampson wrote of the 2003 case of the male nurse and mass-murderer Charles Cullen: –

“But possibly the biggest reason that some nurses kill is that they can.

“They have access to patients who are often very sick, very old or very young — and access to drugs powerful enough to kill unobtrusively through an intravenous tube. And they work at institutions with an inherent aversion to litigation and publicity.

“Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist at DeSales University in Centre Valley, Pa., has worked with FBI profilers.”Some hospitals don’t want the public to know they had someone like this, so they sort of shove the problem aside” with a dismissal, she said. “But then the nurse gets a job somewhere else.”

In the case of the New Jersey mass-murdering male nurse Charles Cullen, seven nurses at St Lukes Hospital who worked with Cullen later met with the Lehigh County district attorney to alert the authorities of their suspicions that Cullen had used drugs to kill patients. They pointed out that, between January 2002 and June 2002, Cullen had worked 20 percent of the hours on his unit but was present for nearly two-thirds of the deaths. But investigators never looked into Cullen’s past, and the case was dropped nine months later for lack of evidence. It was later learned that hospital administrators had stymied the investigation by not being totally forthcoming with investigators.

In September 2002, Cullen found a job at Somerset Medical Centre in Somerville, New Jersey.

The executive director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System warned Somerset Medical Centre officials in July 2003 that at least four of the suspicious overdoses indicated the possibility that an employee was killing patients. But the hospital put off contacting authorities until October. By then, Cullen had killed another five patients and attempted to kill a sixth.

State officials penalized the hospital for failing to report a non-fatal insulin overdose in August. The overdose had been administered by Cullen. When Cullen’s final victim died of low blood sugar in October, the medical centre alerted state authorities. An investigation into Cullen’s employment history revealed past suspicions about his involvement with prior deaths. Somerset Medical Centre fired Cullen on October 31, 2003, for lying on his job application.

Initially charged with 16 murders, Cullen’s involvement in dozens of other deaths came to light. Experts have estimated that Charles Cullen may ultimately be responsible for some 400 murders, which would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history.

The obvious conclusions and concerns in respect of nursing and the opportunity the profession provides for murder were expressed by John Field, an Australian Barrister and registered nurse, who studied killer nurses for a PhD. During an interview with Australian radio, Field said: –

“Virtually the only time that these nurses are detected is when there’s a pattern of unusual deaths that’s discovered. So there are a number of implications of that, but one of them is that oftentimes the killing can go on for a long time so then they have multiple victims over a number of years. They move from place to place, they have no pattern that’s picked up.

“I think what we can learn is that nurses themselves need to have a heightened awareness of it. They have to at least at first accept the possibility that this could happen. And what I found was during the whole time I was doing this study, when nurses would ask me what I was doing my PhD on and I’d say, “Nurses that murder their patients”. And they’d say, “Oh, you mean euthanasia, you know, putting people out of their misery”.

“And I’d say, “No, I mean people who are murdering their patients, that are actually doing it with malice and forethought, that are intentionally killing them for no good reason and sometimes when they’re healthy.” And they’d be astonished. They couldn’t believe that a nurse would do such a thing. And I think that’s part of the problem is that it’s so hard to contemplate that that would be the case, it’s such a foreign concept that it would be almost impossible to suspect your colleague of doing that.”

Interviewer: “And you found that even in the response of some hospitals in these cases that quite often they simply moved that nurse on if there were some suspicions, which only opened up the possibility of them doing it somewhere else?”

“That’s right. Now the practice of permitting people who were suspected or considered to be possibly be killing patients, just moving them on, probably isn’t a satisfactory way of dealing with it. And the fact that those people then went on to have long killing careers, sometimes 16 or more years, suggests that’s a very poor practice.”

It is very clearly – and tragically – established in the public record, beyond any credible dispute, that nursing as an activity is attractive to that small number of people who have psychopathic urges to exercise the power of life and death over vulnerable people. The public record also shows that nursing – perhaps uniquely, because of the amount of time and unsupervised access nurses have to vulnerable patients – presents to psychopaths an unparalleled access to the opportunity – and the means – to kill. And to kill with comparatively slight risk of detection.

Twenty Five Murdering Nurses: A Global Media Survey:

1: Robert Diaz:

1984

Robert Diaz was an American serial killer that used his position as a nurse to gain access to his victims. In March and April 1981, he murdered at least 12 hospital patients. His victims, both men and women, ranged in ages from 52 to 89. His choice of weapon was the drug lidocaine.

Robert Diaz, also known as David Robert Diaz, was born in Gary, Indiana in 1938. He grew up in a large, poor family, but managed to capture the attention of his parents with the many illnesses he suffered throughout his younger years. Because he was frequently ill he also missed a lot of school and only completed 10 grades before dropping out.

At the age of 18 Diaz joined the Marines, but he was unable to adapt. He was later discharged after going AWOL for six weeks.

In 1981, Diaz worked through a temporary employment agency which placed him in various hospitals in counties all around Riverside County in California, usually to work the graveyard shift. Immediately the number of older patients dying noticeably increased. Many of the patients dying were not considered critical cases which raised the suspicions of hospital administrators.

An investigation was launched and in several of the cases the coroner found high levels of lidocaine in the tissue of the deceased patients. Lidocaine is used to regulate heartbeats, but when administered in too high a dosage the outcome can be lethal. The dosage found in patients was up to 2,000 milligrams. The normal lidocaine dosage is 50 to 100 milligrams.

An anonymous tip into the San Bernadino County coroner named Diaz as being responsible for several of the deaths. Investigators took notice and began piecing together timelines. It did not take long to determine that Diaz was somehow involved in the suspicious deaths.

At the Community Hospital of the Valley in Perris, California, there was a 12-day span when several patients died suspiciously. Diaz had worked 10 of those shifts. He also worked one shift at the San Gregorio Pass Hospital in Banning when another patient died due to an overdose of lidocaine.

Co-workers told investigators that Diaz had an uncanny ability to predict when some of the patients would die and even went as far as suggesting that co-workers schedule their breaks based on his predictions. Diaz was also seen giving injections to patients prior to their deaths.

The investigators had enough evidence to get a search warrant for Diaz’ home. There they found several bottles of lidocaine and morphine, as well as syringes containing lidocaine that were labeled with some of dead patient’s names. Many of the lidocaine syringes were also labeled as being a lower dosage than what they contained.

Judge John J. Barnard found Diaz guilty on all counts and on March 29, 1984, he was sentenced to die and was sent to San Quentin to await execution.

2: Genene Jones:

1985

“Genene Anne Jones (born July 13, 1950) is a former paediatric nurse who killed somewhere between 11 and 46 infants and children in her care. She used injections of digoxin, heparin and later succinylcholine to induce medical crises in her patients, with the intention of reviving them afterward in order to receive praise and attention. These medications are known to cause heart paralysis and other complications when given as an overdose. Many children however, did not survive the initial attack and could not be revived. The exact number of murders remain unknown, as hospital officials allegedly first misplaced then destroyed records of her activities to prevent further litigation after Jones’ first conviction.

While working at the Bexar County Hospital (now The University Hospital of San Antonio) in the Paediatric Intensive care unit, it was determined that a statistically inordinate number of children Jones worked with were dying. Rather than pursue further investigation the hospital simply asked Jones to resign, which she did.”

3: Donald Harvey:

1987

“Donald Harvey is a serial killer responsible for killing 36 to 57 people, many of who were patients at hospitals where he was employed. His killing spree lasted from May 1970 until March 1987, only ending after a police investigation into the death of a patient resulted in Harvey’s confession. Labelled the “Angel of Death” Harvey said he first began to kill to help ease the pain of dying patients, but a detailed diary he kept paints the picture of a sadistic, cold-hearted killer. Beginning on August 11, 1987, and throughout several more days, Harvey confessed to killing over 70 people. After investigating each of his claims he was charged with 25 counts of aggravated murder, to which Harvey pled guilty. He was given four consecutive 20-year sentences. Later, in February, 1988, he confessed to committing three more murders in Cincinnati.

In Kentucky Harvey confessed to 12 murders and was sentenced to eight life terms plus 20 years.”

4: Richard Angelo:

1990

“Working the graveyard shift put Angelo into the perfect position to continue to work on his feeling of inadequacy, so much so that during his relatively short time at the Good Samaritan, there were 37 “Code-Blue” emergencies during his shift. Only 12 of the 37 patients lived to talk about their near death experience.

Angelo, apparently not swayed by his inability to keep his victims alive, continued injecting patients with a combination of the paralyzing drugs, Pavulon and Anectine, sometimes telling the patient that he was giving them something which would make them feel better.

Soon after administering the deadly cocktail, the patients would begin to feel numb and their breathing would become constricted as did their ability to communicate to nurses and doctors. Few could survive the deadly attack.

Then on October 11, 1987 Angelo came under suspicion after one of his victims, Gerolamo Kucich, managed to use the call button for assistance after receiving an injection from Angelo. One of the nurses responding to his call for help took a urine sample and had it analyzed. The test proved positive for containing the drugs, Pavulon and Anectine, neither of which had been prescribed to Kucich.

The following day Angelo’s locker and home were searched and police found vials of both drugs and Angelo was arrested. The bodies of several of the suspected victims were exhumed and tested for the deadly drugs. The test proved positive for the drugs on ten of the dead patients.

Angelo was ultimately convicted of two counts of depraved indifference murder (second-degree murder), one count of second degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide and six counts of assault with respect to five of the patients and was sentenced to 61 years to life.”

5: Waltraud Wagner:

1991

Waltraud Wagner began a murder spree at Lainz General Hospital, Vienna, Austria. Most of the people who go there are elderly, many of them with terminal illnesses. It’s not difficult to hide a murder or two among people who are already at death’s door.

Wagner began the killings in 1983 and by the time officials began to look into the suspicious deaths some six years later, the death toll stood at 42. However, an unofficial count was in the hundreds.

Wagner, 23, had a 77-year-old patient who one day asked the girl to “end her suffering.” Wagner claims to have “hesitatingly” obliged by overdosing the woman with morphine. It was then that she discovered she enjoyed this kind of power. It was apparently not difficult for Wagner to recruit accomplices from the night shift. Maria Gruber, 19, was happy to join. So was Ilene Leidolf, 21. The third recruit was a grandmother, 43-year-old Stephanija Mayer.

Wagner was the “death pavilion” leader, and they planned the murders as a group. She taught the others how to give lethal injections, and she added some fatal mechanisms of her own creation. The “water cure” involved holding a patient’s nose while forcing him or her to drink. That was an agonizing death that filled the lungs, but undiscoverable as outright murder. Many elderly patients had fluid in their lungs.

All four women were arrested in April 1989.

Collectively they confessed to 49 murders, and Wagner took credit for giving a “free bed with the good Lord” to 39 of them. She had decided that their deaths were long overdue, and she reveled in the fact that the power over their lives rested with her. However, one of her accomplices believed that Wagner’s death count was closer to 200 in just the past two years.

Ultimately, Wagner was convicted of 15 murders, 17 attempts, and two counts of assault. She was sentenced to life in prison. Leidolf got life as well, on conviction of five murders, while the other two drew 15 years for manslaughter and attempted murder charges.

6: Irene Leidolf:

1991

Irene Leidolf, 27 at the time, was the “second-in-command” to Waltraud Wagner. Leidolf had come to Vienna with her parents from the agricultural north of Austria. She was a shy woman who rarely joined in any of the other nurses’ gossipy chats, but Waltraud Wagner liked her because she always did as she was told.

Throughout the years of wholesale murder in the hospital, the slight good-looking Irene never gave any indication that what she was doing was wrong. Her only comment to police was: “I had a family to feed and I wasn’t going to put my job on the line by refusing to help Nurse Wagner.”

Leidolf was sentenced in March 1991 to life for seven counts of murder.

7: Joseph Dewey Akin:

1992

Nurse Joseph Dewey Akin, 35, who worked at Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, was tried in September 1992 for killing Robert J. Price, 32, a quadriplegic, with a lethal dose of lidocaine. Investigators suspected Akin in over 100 deaths in the area over the past decade in twenty different facilities where he worked. However, many of those facilities had thwarted investigations.

Akin had long been suspected of causing many Code Blue medical emergencies, both in Alabama and in hospitals around the metro Atlanta area. The number of such emergencies at one hospital in Georgia was unusually high when Akin was working there, and colleagues noticed that at least four types of heart drugs had been stolen.

In the incident in which Akin was arrested, the amount of lidocaine found in Price’s body was twice the lethal dose and four times the therapeutic dose. While defense experts attempted to explain it as something other than murder, prosecution experts had a ready counter-explanation.

At Akin’s trial, Marion Albright, Price’s assigned nurse, testified that when she came back from a lunch break she saw Akin walking out of Price’s room. She attempted to enter it to check on her patient but he had tried to prevent her from doing so.

In the end, after just over an hour of deliberation and only two votes, the jury decided that the circumstances warranted a conviction. When the verdict was read, Akin put his hand to his face.

One juror, when interviewed for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, said, “Too many people all placed him at the scene of the crime, and nothing he said to explain it made sense.”

On appeal, Akin’s conviction was overturned, yet when he was tried again, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Another retrial was scheduled for March 1998, but two months before it was to begin, Akin pled guilty to manslaughter. He received a sentence of 15 years.

8: Beverley Allitt:

1993

“Beverley Gail Allitt (born 4 October 1968, Corby Glen, Lincolnshire, England), dubbed by the media the Angel of Death, is an English serial killer who murdered four children and injured nine others while working as a State Enrolled Nurse (SEN), on the children’s ward of Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire. Her main method of murder was to inject the child with potassium chloride (to cause cardiac arrest), or with insulin (to induce lethal hypoglycaemia).

She was sentenced to life imprisonment at her trial at Nottingham Crown Court in 1993 and is currently being held at Rampton Secure Hospital.”

9: Orville Majors:

1999

“A former nurse who gave lethal injections to six hospital patients has been sentenced to 360 years for the “diabolical” murders.

Orville Lynn Majors, 38, who reportedly told a colleague that old people ”should all be gassed”, had been linked to 130 deaths.

But he was only tried on the seven cases the prosecution thought most likely to secure a conviction. Majors was found guilty on six of those counts last month.

“It’s the judgement of this court that the maximum sentence is the minimum sentence in this case,” said Judge Ernest Yelton.

Relatives of Majors’ victims broke down in tears as he was sentenced to 60 years for each of the six murders.

Judge Yelton described Major’s crime as “a paragon of evil at its most wicked”.

The patients, four women and two men aged 56 to 89, died between 1993 and 1995 at the Vermillion county hospital in Clinton, Indiana.

Prosecutors said Majors gave his victims fatal overdoses and that some of the injections were witnessed by their loved ones.

Investigators said he used the potentially heart-stopping drug potassium chloride, vials of which were found in his home and car.”

10: Edson Izidoro Guimarães:

2000

“Edson Isidoro Guimarães (born 1957) is a Brazilian nursing assistant and convicted serial killer. He confessed to five murders of which he was convicted of four, but is suspected of committing up to 131 in total. He claimed that he chose patients whose conditions were irreversible and who were in pain.

Guimarães worked as a nurse in the Salgado Filho Hospital in the Méier district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was caught in 1999 when a hospital porter saw Guimarães fill a syringe with potassium chloride and inject a comatose patient who immediately died. The police were informed and a higher than average death rate on his ward increased their suspicions. On his arrest he confessed to five murders.”

11: Kristen Gilbert:

2001

“A former veterans hospital nurse who killed four of her patients with injections of poison should spend the rest of her life in prison, a federal jury decided Monday. Kristen Gilbert, a 33-year-old mother of two, could have faced death by lethal injection and would have become the only woman on federal death row.

Gilbert was convicted March 14 of the first-degree murder in the deaths of three veterans. She also was convicted of the second-degree murder, which is not subject to the death penalty, in the death of another veteran. Gilbert also was convicted of trying to kill two other veterans in her care.

From August 1995 through February 1996, Gilbert dealt out wholesale death. Her victims were helpless patients who trusted her as a caregiver, only to learn too late that she was a killer, her weapon a drug capable of causing fatal heart attacks. But she got away with murder until three of her fellow nurses could no longer ignore the proliferation of deadly “coincidences” on Gilbert’s watch. Investigators believe Kristen Gilbert may have been responsible for as many as 40 deaths.”

12: Alison Firth:

2001

“A nurse who drugged and killed a frail elderly woman has been found guilty of murder by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Alison Firth, 36, poisoned 84-year-old Alice Grant with an overdose of the sedative drug heminevrin in May last year.

The court was told Firth may have killed Mrs Grant because she was lazy and could not face having to provide regular care for her in the future.

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Chris Symonds, who led the inquiry, said the nurse acted in an evil manner and was a disgrace to her profession.

He said: “The verdict demonstrates that elderly people have the protection of the law, notwithstanding the fact that they are extremely ill and in the last stages of their natural life.

“In this case Alice Grant, as was articulated by witnesses, although very ill, was described as alert and able to express feelings through her eyes and touch to those who were caring for her.

“She did not deserve to be killed in this way.

“Firth deliberately set out, planned and executed the death of Alice Grant and the jury have seen Alison Firth for what she is.”

13: Timea Faludi:

2002

“In early 2001 the Hungarian nurse Timea Faludi (then 24) confessed on killing approximately 40 elderly patients “for mercy”. The case was uncovered when the medical director of the Gyala Nviro Hospital in Budapest noticed, that the death toll was unusually high, when sister Timea was on night-shift. Controls of the drug usage showed a shortage of tranquilizer. Faludi withdrew her confessions during trial and as all the victims had been cremated there was no evidence left.

Faludi was convicted to 9 years in prison for repeated attempts of murder and a lifelong prohibition to work as nurse.”

14: Christine Malèvre:

2003

“French Nurse Jailed in 6 Deaths

A French nurse who said she helped the terminally ill die out of compassion was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for the deaths of six hospital patients.

The nurse, Christine Malèvre, had been charged with the murder of seven patients at a lung hospital in Mantes-la-Jolie near Paris in 1997 and 1998. She faced life in prison.

Ms. Malèvre’s case sparked energetic debate on euthanasia in France, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, after she initially said she had “helped” about 30 terminally ill patients end their lives.”

15: Lucy de Berk:

2003

“A nurse thought to be one of the most prolific serial killers in the Netherlands has been jailed for life after a court found her guilty of the murder of four of her patients and the attempted murder of three others.

Lucy Isabella Quirina de Berk, 41, has repeatedly protested her innocence but on Monday a court in the Hague concluded that she had killed three babies and one elderly woman by lethal injection.

It also found her guilty of trying to murder two other babies and another pensioner.

The case has captured the public imagination because of the large number of people who died under suspicious circumstances in de Berk’s care. She was initially accused of killing 13 and of attempting to murder five others.

The murders happened between 1997 and 2001 at three hospitals in the Hague. In each case the patient died of an overdose of either potassium chloride or morphine and de Berk was the last person to be at the bedside. During her trial, statisticians gave evidence that the chances of her being present coincidentally at each death were one in 342 million.”

16: Anne Grigg-Booth:

2004

“Detectives charged Grigg-Booth in September 2004.

The nurse was charged with murdering June Driver, 67, in July 2000; Eva Blackburn, 75, in November 2001; and 96-year-old Annie Midgley in July 2002.

She was also accused of trying to kill 42-year-old Michael Parker in June 2002.

As well as the murder and attempted murder charges, Grigg-Booth faced 13 counts of unlawfully administering poison to 12 other patients.

She was due to go on trial in April 2006, but died of an overdose aged 52 on 29 August 2005.

The night nurse practitioner was charged with the murder of three elderly patients after illegally prescribing and injecting powerful painkilling drugs as if she was a qualified doctor.

But police believe she may have killed many more during her 25 years working at Airedale General Hospital in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Grigg-Booth also faced an attempted murder charge and 13 counts of unlawfully administering poison to 12 other patients but was never brought to trial because she died from a drink and drugs overdose at her home in 2005 at the age of 52.”

17: Charles Cullen:

2004

“Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is a former nurse who is the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history, and suspected to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. Cullen told authorities in December 2003 that he could specifically recall the murder of perhaps 40 patients during the 16 years he worked at 10 hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But in subsequent interviews with police, psychiatric professionals, and the only journalist with whom he had ever granted interviews, Charles Graeber, it soon became clear that he had killed many more, whom he could not specifically remember. Experts have estimated that Charles Cullen may ultimately be responsible for some 400 murders- making him the most prolific serial killer in American history.”

18: Abraão José Bueno:

2005

“Abraão José Bueno (born 1977) is a Brazilian nurse and serial killer. In 2005 he was sentenced to 110 years imprisonment for the murder of four children and the attempted murder of another four.

Bueno worked as a nurse in the Instituto de Puericultura Martagão Gesteira of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 2005 Bueno, working in a children’s ward, began injecting babies and older children with overdoses of sedatives, causing them to stop breathing. He would then call medical staff to resuscitate them. In the course of one month up to fifteen children are thought to have been targeted, all between the ages of one and ten. Many suffered from AIDS and leukaemia.

Bueno was arrested in November 2005. On 15 May 2008 he was found guilty by judge Valéria Caldi on four counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 110 years in total.”

19: Stephan Letter:

2006

“A German nurse has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing 28 patients at a hospital he worked at in the southern part of the country. Stephan Letter was found guilty of 12 counts of murder, 15 counts of manslaughter and one count of illegal mercy killing.

Letter, who was nicknamed the “Angel of Death” in the German media had admitted to giving lethal injections to 16 elderly patients at a local hospital and was thought to have killed 12 more.

He eventually said he could not remember how many he had killed.During the trial, Herbert Pollert, the lead prosecutor, said autopsies had been performed on 42 former patients at a hospital in the Bavarian town of Sonthofen.

The victims all died during the 17 months Letter worked at the clinic and most of the patients were above the age of 75, though one was as young as 40.

The deaths didn’t raise any red flags at the medical facility because of the patients’ age, but concerns appeared when officials found medications had disappeared.

Letter was finally arrested after authorities found some of the drugs at his home — an amount large enough to have killed 10 more patients. The nurse used a mixture of a sedative and muscle relaxant to kill the patients, and the drug cocktail would have taken only five minutes to induce death.

“We have the strongest suspicions that all 42 of the disinterred were killed by the accused,” a police spokesman said. However, Police are unable to check the causes of death of 38 other patients who were at the hospital during the same period, because their bodies were cremated.”

20: Benjamin Geen:

2006

Killer nurse given 17 life terms.

A hospital nurse found guilty of murdering two patients and causing grievous bodily harm to 15 more has been sentenced to 17 life terms.

Benjamin Geen was told he would serve at least 30 years for the offences at Oxfordshire’s Horton General Hospital between 2003 and 2004.

The nurse injected patients with drugs to stop their breathing to satisfy his lust for excitement, the court heard.

The judge described Geen’s actions as a “terrible betrayal of trust”. The Banbury nurse was given life sentences for two counts of murder and 15 of grievous bodily harm.

Geen gave a total of 17 victims injections of drugs such as muscle relaxants, insulin and sedatives to stop them breathing.

The court heard how Geen looked elated as his patients went into respiratory arrest and even boasted to one doctor, “There is always a resuscitation when I’m on duty”.

David Onley, 77, from Deddington, died on 21 January, 2004, and Anthony Bateman, 66, from Banbury, died on 6 January, 2004.

Fifteen other patients recovered shortly after they developed breathing difficulties.

Initially, doctors could not explain the abnormally high level of respiratory arrests between December 2003 and February 2004.

Suspicion fell on Geen, a lieutenant in the Territorial Army, when it emerged that the incidents had taken place while he was on duty.

When he was subsequently arrested at the hospital on 9 February, 2004, police found a syringe filled with a potentially lethal muscle relaxant in his pocket.

Detective Superintendent Andy Taylor, who led the murder investigation, said: “Ben Geen abused this position of trust.

“We may never know what motivated him to select and poison his victims.

“It is clear that he wanted to be the centre of attention and in order to fuel this desire, brought some of his patients to the brink of death and coldly murdered two of them.”

21: Vicki Dawn Jackson:

2006

“A former hospital nurse pleaded no contest Tuesday to killing 10 patients nearly six years ago by injecting them with a drug used to temporarily halt breathing.

Vickie Dawn Jackson, 40, will be sentenced to life in prison, the maximum sentence she faced if she had been convicted by a jury.

Authorities have not offered a motive for the slayings.

Jackson was accused of killing the patients, including her third husband’s grandfather, by injecting them with a drug used to stop breathing to allow insertion of a breathing tube.

Prosecutor said the deaths occurred during her night shifts at Nocona General Hospital in 2000 and 2001. More than 20 vials of the drug were missing and a syringe with traces of the drug was found in the nurse’s garbage, they said.”

22: Irene Becker:

2007

German Nurse Sentenced to Life for Killing Patients.

A nurse has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing six patients in her care at the Charite Hospital in Berlin with an overdose of medication.

The German nurse went on trial in April for the murder of six people and the attempted murder of two others between June 2005 and October 2006. Berlin’s Charite hospital, Europe’s biggest university hospital, came in for manifold criticism throughout the trial for failing to raise the alarm earlier.

Becker, who worked in cardiology, was arrested in October 2006 after a fellow nurse alerted a doctor about the disturbingly high number of patients dying in their ward. Most of the nurse’s victims had been elderly and close to death.

23: Colin Norris:

2008

“A senior nurse who murdered four elderly women patients began a minimum 30-year jail term yesterday without showing remorse or explaining what led him to take his victims’ lives.

Passing sentence on 32-year-old Colin Norris, Mr Justice Griffith Williams said months of evidence had left him no wiser about the motives behind a “thoroughly evil” betrayal of trust.

He had carried out the murders with increasing confidence over a six-month period in 2002 at two Leeds hospitals.

The court and police praised Dr Emma Ward, who questioned an insulin dose given to one victim, 86-year-old Ethel Hall, and triggered the police investigation. But Hall’s son Stuart, 53, said yesterday that the family and other victims’ relatives were seeking talks with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust about an independent inquiry into the case.

“We hope Colin Norris never leaves prison and is never in a situation where he can harm anyone else again,” he said. “I do not understand why he pretended to be a caring nurse when he was really a cold-blooded killer who preyed on the vulnerable.”

Norris was convicted on an 11-1 jury vote of murdering Hall, Doris Ludlam, 80, Bridget Bourke, 88, and Irene Crookes, 79, and attempting to murder Vera Wilby, 90, who survived a prolonged coma after an unnecessary insulin injection.

Det Chief Supt Chris Gregg, of West Yorkshire police, said he shared the judge’s frustration at not knowing what led Norris to kill. He said after the sentencing: “Only he knows the answer to that, but I am convinced he would have gone on to kill more patients had he not been stopped in his tracks.””

24: Katariina Pantila:

2009

“A Finnish nurse dubbed “the angel of death” for murdering a mentally disabled patient and attempting to murder a healthy eight-month old baby with insulin was found dead in her jail cell, police said Tuesday.

“She has perished there,” an officer with the police in Turku, on the west coast of Finland, told AFP, confirming that Katariina Pantila, 28, died after resuscitation efforts in her cell at a Turku jail Monday.

Last week, an appeals court upheld a life sentence for Pantila, formerly known as Katariina Loennqvist, for the murder of a 79-year-old, bed-ridden woman by injecting her with insulin at a rehabilitation centre in 2007.”

25: Aino Nykopp-Koski:

2010

“A Finnish nurse was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for murdering five of her elderly patients with lethal drug overdoses, and for trying to kill five others.

The Helsinki District Court found Aino Nykopp-Koski guilty of five murders, five attempted murders, three aggravated assaults, three thefts and possessing illegal drugs.

The murders happened in hospitals, hospices and private homes between 2004 and 2009.”