A former nurse and Roman Catholic deacon accused of killing at least 10 people at a clinic in Belgium was stressed out by personal difficulties including renovations on his house, investigators have told his trial.
Ivo Poppe, 61, who has been dubbed the “Deacon of Death” by Belgian media, confessed on the first day of his trial to killing up to 20 people beginning more than 20 years ago.
Poppe either gave his mostly elderly victims at the clinic in Menin, near the French border, the tranquilliser valium or injected air into their veins to cause a fatal embolism.
“Between 10 and 20 – 20 maximum. That’s approximate but it’s around that number,” Poppe told the court in the northern town of Bruges under initial questioning by the judge on Monday, according to transcripts in Belgian newspapers.
“I wanted to end their suffering, these people weren’t really living any more.”
The married father-of-three expressed regret for the way he carried out the killings. “If it was now, I would call a palliative care team,” he said. Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults in 2002.
But investigators said he had given a different explanation for his behaviour in 1993 when several of the murders are believed to have taken place.
“At the time he was particularly stressed after an operation on his wife, his sister’s divorce, renovations on his house and his training to become a deacon,” one of the two investigators was quoted as saying by Belga news agency.
The investigators examined 65 suspicious deaths but “we don’t have any idea of the number” of his victims, the investigator added. Poppe worked at the clinic in the 1980s and 1990s but continued to act as a pastoral visitor until 2011 after he was ordained as a deacon.
Poppe told investigators his victims also included his own mother, his step-father and two uncles.
He was first arrested in 2014 after authorities were told that he had confided in his psychiatrist that he had “euthanised dozens of people”.
Poppe explained the context of his comments to the psychiatrist, whom he consulted on the advice of his wife.
“I wanted someone to help me with my nightmares, I really needed therapy. That’s why I talked about dozens of cases, it was deliberately exaggerated,” Poppe told the court on Monday.
The trial is scheduled to last two weeks. Poppe faces life in jail if convicted.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.