15 Apr 2010

Dutch nurse acquitted of killings

3:13 pm on 15 April 2010

A Dutch nurse who was jailed for life for seven murders has been exonerated and given a public apology.

Lucia de Berk, 49, was convicted in 2001 of killing patients in her care and served six years in prison.

An appeals court in Arnhem has ruled that there was no evidence that she had committed a crime in all 10 cases.

The Supreme Court called for a review in 2008 after evidence came to light suggesting that all the deaths could in fact be explained by natural causes.

The BBC reports her acquittal marks one of the biggest miscarriages of Dutch justice.

In 2003, she was convicted of four murders and three attempted murders, and sentenced to life in prison.

Part of the evidence against Ms De Berk was the testimony of a statistician, who said the odds were 342 million-to-one that it was a coincidence she had been on duty when all the incidents occurred.

In 2004, an appeals court convicted her of three additional charges of murder and upheld the life sentence.