‘Taking selfies with dead patients was wrong’

An Italian nurse has admitted that taking photographs of herself with dead patients was “wrong” but has denied multiple murder charges in a case which has gripped the country.

Daniele Poggiali, 42, was arrested in October on suspicion of poisoning her patients with potassium at the Umberto I Hospital in Lugo, northern Italy.

Investigators have since estimated that there were 87 more deaths than average during a two-year period in which Poggiali worked in the hospital, Corriere della Sera reported on Thursday.

But aside from the sheer number of potential victims, national revulsion was prompted by the release of photographs of Poggiali grinning next to her dead patients.

“I was wrong and I recognize that,” the nurse told Corriere through her lawyer, Stefano Dalla Valle, passing blame to a fellow medic.

“It wasn’t my idea but that of my colleague, who took the photos. Also, I never could have imagined they would be circulated. It was something private between me and her. Anyhow, it was a mistake,” Poggiali said.

Discussing the high number of patient deaths, she said she was unable to explain but noted that she worked a lot of shifts.

“I haven’t killed anyone. Rather, I always lived to help others,” Poggiali said.

Described by judges as a “public danger” and denied bail, she will remain in prison until the start of the trial, Corriere said. 

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Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.