Sister Godfrida (Cecile Bombeek), a nun of the Apostolic Congregation of St. Joseph and geriatrics manager in a public hospital in Flemish Wetteren, was officially accused of killing three patients – because they were too noisy at night – but was suspected of murdering more than 30 between 1976 and 1978. She was also accused of stealing a large sum of money from her victims and suspected repeated acts of torture, ripping catheters from patients. Time magazine reported that the killer was caught through the efforts of fellow nuns working in the 38-bed geriatric ward, who kept a diary of mysterious deaths and other irregularities. [See: “Crime: The Nun's Story,” Time Magazine, Mar. 13, 1978]
FULL TEXT: Ghent, Belgium – A nun who became a drug addict after undergoing brain surgery was charged with murder Thursday in the death of three of her elderly patients.
Police sources said the nun, Cecile Bombeek, 44, known as SisterSœur Godfrida (ex-Cecile BOMBEEK) religieuse « Adhérente à l'ordre apostolitique de Saint Joseph » fut accusée officiellement du meurtre de trois patients. Godfrida, had confessed to killing the three patients at a public assistance hospital by injecting them with overdoses of insulin.
Sister Godfrida was arrested on Saturday on charges of forging medical prescriptions and drug abuse. She became a morphine addict after she underwent brain surgery in 1976, the sources said. [Other sources state that she was already a morphine fiend before the surgery, and that the operation was done to “cure” her of the addiction.]
But the investigation into how she managed to obtain the amounts of morphine she needed, soon aroused suspicion about her treatment of the patients in the old people’s ward of the public assistance hospital in nearby Wettern.
The police sources said the nun admitted on questioning that she killed three patients, aged between 75 and 80, by administering overdoses of insulin in July and August last year, the sources said.
Insulin injections are used to keep the sugar content down in the blood of diabetes patients. But when administered in high doses to non-diabetic persons, it can cause such a considerable drop in the blood glucose that the injected person lapses into a coma and dies after a few hours, medical sources said.
Sister Godfrida was sent to a private clinic for addiction treatment in Ghent on August 28th last year.
[“Drug Addict Nun Charged With 3 Murders,” syndicated (UPI), St. Petersberg Press (Fl.), Feb. 17, 1978, p. 14 A]