Dutch nurse charged with killing 13 patients


A Dutch nurse has denied murdering 13 hospital patients in The Hague over more than four years.

Today is the first day of the trial of Ms Lucy de Berk (40) who is accused of killing five children and eight elderly people by giving them lethal doses of drugs between February 1997 and September 2001.

Her victims included babies less than a year old and patients as old as 91, prosecutors said. Ms De Berk is charged with killing them by administering lethal doses of drugs such as potassium and morphine while working in three hospitals in The Hague. Ms De Berk is also charged with five counts of attempted murder.

The defence, which will respond next week to the charges, said she would plead not guilty. A verdict is expected next month.

"I didn't do it. I am sure. I found him in that state," Ms de Berk said when asked by the presiding judge about the death of a six-year-old who had been in her care.

A UN war crimes judge who worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the Hague was named by prosecutors as another suspected victim.

Chinese judge Haopei Li, an appeals court judge at the Hague war crimes tribunal where Slobodan Milosevic is now on trial, died in a Hague hospital in November 1997 at the age of 91.

Ms de Berk is also charged with forging school certificates to qualify her for medical training and stealing books from a hospital library, prosecutors said.