Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Angels of Death: The Male Nurses

Universal "Care"takers

Around the world, examples can be found of males in the position of nurses who have caused deaths.

Kevin Cobb
Kevin Cobb

Kevin Cobb, a 38-year-old nurse who worked in the casualty department at St. Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey, England, was convicted in May 2000 of one count of manslaughter, two counts of rape, and four counts of drugging women with intent to rape. Cobb injected patients with midazolam, a powerful sedative, which causes short-term memory loss. It also resulted in the death of fellow nurse, Susan Annis. Cobb had slipped the drug into her cider while they were eating, intending to rape her after the drug took effect. Instead, Ms. Annis, who had a minor heart problem, collapsed and died. Cobb portrayed himself as a hero, claiming he tried to revive her, and was seen crying at her funeral. He might have gotten away with it, but then Janine Cuddington, a patient, complained that she lost consciousness on a hospital gurney and awoke to find herself being raped. She immediately went to the police, who did tests and found traces of midazolam in her blood. Her immediate action was a key factor, as midazolam cannot be detected after eight hours. After the police had been notified, two more victims came forward.  Cobb received seven life sentences, but remains a suspect in half a dozen more such rapes.

Ted Maher
Ted Maher

On January 14, 2004, a 34-year-old Swiss man identified as Roger Andermatt was arrested for the murder of 24 patients. He was also charged with the attempted murder of three patients, and another three deaths were classified as assisted suicide. He confessed to them all. The murders all occurred between September of 1995 and June of 2001, and they took place in nursing homes in and around Lucerne, Switzerland. The victims, aged 66 to 95 were suffering from Alzheimer's disease or in need of high levels of care. Nine patients were killed with lethal doses of medication, eight patients were smothered with a plastic bag or a cloth, and ten patients were killed using a combination of drugs and smothering. Andermatt claimed to have killed out of pity, although he added that he and his nursing team, "felt totally overworked by the volume of care they had to provide to their patients." Forensic expert Rudolph Hauri describes the crime as, "The largest case of euthanasia ever seen in Switzerland." The trial will take place at the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005. If found guilty, Andermatt could face up to ten years in prison for his crimes. 

In France, an American male nurse, Ted Maher, in prison for manslaughter in the case of a multi-billionaire banker, escaped in 2003 but was caught again.

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