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German "angel of death" sentenced to life in prison

By Staff
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BONN, Germany, Feb 23 (Reuters) A German nurse was sentenced to life in prison for killing nine female patients in a nursing home in Wachtberg near Bonn.

Dubbed the ''Angel of Death'' by the media, the court found Manuela Giersberg guilty of four counts of murder, four counts of manslaughter and one count of killing on demand.

In handing down his sentence yesterday, Judge Udo Buhren said that in the murder counts ''she acted deliberately and maliciously and abused the powerlessness and defencelessness of her victims''.

The 27-year-old nurse, who suffocated eight of the women aged between 78 and 93 years with cushions, towels and washcloths, buried her face in her hands when the sentence was delivered.

The court also decided that the gravity of her crimes ruled out the possibility of an early parole after serving 15 years.

Giersberg confessed after her arrest last summer for the killings committed between November 2003 and April 2005, but withdrew it a few weeks later. During the trial, she insisted she was innocent and had only sought attention by telling lies.

The defence said they would appeal.

Reuters CS DB0850

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