Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Associated Press

Dutch: Give nurse life

THE HAGUE — Prosecutors rested their case yesterday against a Dutch-born nurse charged with murdering 13 patients, calling her a threat to society and demanding that judges give her a life sentence.

Lucy de Berk, 41, who spent her teenage years in Canada, faces 18 counts of murder and attempted murder while working in four hospitals here from 1997 to 2001. She admitted in court to lying under oath and stealing patient records and is also a suspect in other cases at the same hospitals in The Hague area.

'People come first'

"The public interest has to come first and therefore we ask for life imprisonment," prosecutor John Remmerswaal said in his final comments. Dutch courts can render life sentences, but rarely do. There is no death penalty in the Netherlands.

De Berk's lawyer, Ton Visser, will present the defence case today.

Prosecutors said de Berk's abusive childhood, her background as a prostitute in Vancouver, her frequent lies about her nursing credentials and her depressive personality all fit the profile of a serial killer.

They cited passages of her writing in which she discussed "a great secret" she vowed to keep until her death, and "strange compulsions."

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Created: September 24, 2002
Last modified: November 19, 2002
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