Grzegorz W. No expression when the court announces the verdict: life imprisonment for three counts of murder, special aggravation of guilt, preventive detention. Maximum sentence.
The small, heavy man accepts all this completely motionless – as uninvolved as he seemed throughout the entire trial. As if it were none of his business. The court finds that he is what the prosecution has called him: a serial killer who may have even more people on his conscience than the three he has now been convicted of murdering.
"Everyone knows from their own painful experience how painful it is to lose a loved one," says presiding judge elisabeth ehrl. In the murder cases, the mourners also found that their loved ones had "not fallen asleep peacefully" but had been killed. The deeds had led to "considerable cuts in the lives of the people involved", who were now asking themselves many questions: "how could something like this happen?? Had I been able to prevent something?"
Originally, the prosecution had charged six cases of murder. Not all of the charges were proven beyond reasonable doubt, the prosecutor said in her closing argument. This did not mean, however, that the defendant could not also be responsible for this fatality. In addition to the three murders, the court also convicted the defendant of attempted murder, robbery resulting in death and grievous bodily harm.
After a 120-hour care course, the trained locksmith and mechanic was, according to the indictment, from may 2015 onwards in several households in germany as a caregiver – responsible for the 24-hour care of elderly people. The court considers it proven that he injected his patients in need of care at various crime scenes with insulin, which can be fatal if administered in overdose. He allegedly had access to the drug because, unlike his victims, he was diabetic. The 38-year-old pole himself called his deeds "bestial murders".
The prosecution essentially cites convenience as the motive. For example, the defendant had not wanted to look after his patients at night – or had wanted to steal in peace. On one occasion, according to the indictment, after the death of one of his alleged victims, he asked if he could have his cell phone and valuables ? "Since the accused was no longer in need of this". According to this, he stole valuables, money, wine, detergent, toilet paper, toilet bursts.
The "multitude of trial charges" and the "overall impression" of the defendant had led the court to impose preventive detention, ehrl says. "Angel of death" or "devil in human form" is what the plaintiffs had called the caretaker. The defense had little to counter this, merely demanding a "proper verdict" in its closing argument.
With the determination of the special gravity of guilt, an early release from liability after 15 years is practically impossible in practice. After that, preventive detention takes effect.
The case is also reminiscent of the spectacular case of patient killer niels hogel, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 85 cases by the regional court of oldenburg in 2019. Unlike hogel, who was a nurse in a hospital, the case of the polish nurse also sheds light on an entire industry in a gray area.
According to the german foundation for patient protection, "the need for nursing care is exacerbated by over 300.000 often female helpers from eastern and southeastern europe alleviate the suffering of the victims. Work is done here almost around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure that the nursing care system in germany does not collapse. In the country this is called the gray care market".
Eugen brysch, head of the foundation, calls for special prosecutor's offices to deal with crime in the care sector. "Across germany, it's symptomatic that there's often a lack of pressure to clear up crimes in nursing and medicine," he says. "That has to change. We need central public prosecutor's offices, central investigative groups and a networked approach by all federal states for such crimes."
Brysch emphasizes: "for the most part, these missions go off without a hitch."But not always. "The politicians are not interested. Facts and figures are missing. The local authorities also look the other way because there are no alternatives. Making it too easy for single perpetrators. Even in the case of impressive indications, the judicial authorities have a difficult time."Brysch is therefore also in favor of "legally mandating mandatory coroner's inquests for all people in need of care".
In her ruling, presiding judge ehrl emphasizes that "we cannot make a sweeping sweep of all 24-hour caregivers" – but also says that the whole issue is "a social and societal problem that we cannot solve here in court. But: "we wanted to give the victims a face."