Thursday, September 22, 2011

Belgian Serial Killer Geriatric Nurse, Cecile Bombeek – 1978

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]


EXCERPT: “The medical records and death certificates of the Old People's Home were meticulously studied. They indicated that the Mother Superior had dispatched approximately 30 elderly patients to heaven.” [Max Haines, “Lost Soul,” The Chilliwack Progress, (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada), Aug. 29, 1999, p. 12]


FULL TEXT: Pretty Cecile Blombeek was the pride and joy of her devout parents. No doubt little Cecile would grow up to make the citizens of the tiny Belgian village of Overmere proud of her achievements. All appeared to be right with the world when the attractive child displayed a desire to follow a religious path. At age 15, Cecile entered the Order of Holy Joseph in nearby Wetteren.

She lived in the cloister, devoting her life to working at the adjacent Old People's Home. She was now Sister Godfrida and soon gained a reputation for piety, hard work and leadership. Years passed. Sister Godfrida rose in the ranks of the order until she was appointed Mother Superior. She represented her order with dignity and pride. For 30 years, not a derogatory word was uttered about the Mother Superior. All that changed on Jan. 16, 1978, when three demure nuns walked into the Wetter-en police station.

Their presence was shocking enough. It wasn't every day that a nun strolled into a police station. But three! Sister Pieta, Sister Franziska and Sister Godlive couldn't wait to spill their guts. They explained to the officer on duty that they had done much soul searching before making the decision to come forward. Now that the die was cast, they wanted to tell all. The officer leaned back on his chair, expecting to hear that someone was playing their radio too loudly close to the cloister. Instead, he got an earful.

Again, the three women of the cloth explained they weren't in the habit of spreading rumours, but what they had to say was far more than a rumour. Mother Superior was not what she appeared to be. By all that was holy, she was a fraud. The three nuns went on to tell the officer that Mother Superior drank to excess and was a regular user of morphine and cocaine. She loved to travel to Ghent, where she dined in the most expensive restaurants and drank the choicest wines. Her behaviour was definitely not very Mother Supenor-like.

Rather than instigate a scandal, the power than instigate a scandal, the powers that be chose to overlook her indiscretions. For seven years, no one spoke, until the three nuns couldn't take it any more. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the Mother Superior's disagreeable practice of whipping her nuns for no reason at all.

Sisters Pieta, Franziska and Godlive looked the officer in the eye. There was one other thing. The Mother Superior was a murderer. She had killed an elderly diabetic patient, 87-year-old Mrs. Maria van der Gunst, who had been disposed of by an overdose of insulin. The three nuns said the motive had been the deceased's money and jewels, which the Mother Superior used to finance her expensive tastes.

Actually, Mrs. van der Gunst was only the latest victim. There had been several others. After all, the killings had gone on for the past seven years. Homicide detectives were in a quandary. It isn't often that a Mother Superior is suspected of being a mass murderer. They decided to discreetly trail their suspect while her past actions were being investigated. Officers followed the Mother Superior to a Everyone within the cloister stylish seaside resort on the Belgian coast. They observed her in Mother Superior had adopted some very ungodly habits the company of another nun, Sister Mathieu.

Together, the two nuns dined well and drank the night away. Gone were their conservative black habits. The women were now decked out in sporty pantsuits. As they consumed more wine, they became friendlier and friendlier towards each other. Police reports indicate that the two fondled each other and it was surmised that they were engaged in a lesbian relationship. Detectives also learned that, seven years earlier, when the erratic behaviour and alleged murders began.

The Mother Superior had under gone an operation to have a brain tumour removed. The operation was a success, but all concerned stated her strange actions had started shortly after she had recovered from the operation. Police consulted doctors, who advised them that in some cases a personality change can take, place after such an operation. Following her surgery, the Mother Superior had been given morphine to ease her pain. Eventually, she became addicted and would do anything to obtain the drug. One nun claimed that she had prostituted herself to obtain money to support her addiction.

This nun had actually heard Mother Superior say to a bedridden patient, "If you pay me well, I will make you happy." With that, she had lifted her skirts. The nun had fled in horror and shame. Other nuns confidentially told investigators that Mother Superior had approached them with lesbian proposals. Each said they had resisted the advances, but knew of other nuns who had consented to avoid a beating from their leader's trusty whip. Evidently the Mother Superior performed her mighty "deeds" for both pleasure and money.

Let's have a review. In the seven years prior to 1978, it was alleged that the Mother Superior had been a sadist, drug addict, lesbian and murderer. Perhaps she stooped to new levels of vileness when she stole drugs so desperately needed by her patients. Despite the discreet inquiries, there was still only the word of others accusing the respected head of an honourable institution of committing terrible crimes. Mrs. van der Gunst's body was exhumed. Traces of insulin were found, but this did little to further the investigation, as she had been taking insulin for years before her death. Finally, it was decided to confront the Mother Superior with the serious accusations against her. She was asked if she had had anything to do with Mrs. Maria van der Gunst's death.

The Mother Superior shocked the officers by replying, "Yes, indeed. I sent her to heaven because she was too noisy. She disturbed my sleep." When asked how she had killed Mrs. van der Gunst, she was just as blunt. "With an overdose of insulin." The Mother Superior was questioned further.

She remembered events going back for a year, but could not recall anything earlier than that She confessed that in 1977 she had sent Pieter Diggmann, 82, and Leon Maihofer, 78, to heaven with overdoses of insulin.
The medical records and death certificates of the Old People's Home were meticulously studied. They indicated that the Mother Superior had dispatched approximately 30 elderly patients to heaven. Mother Superior, the former Cecile Blombeek, aka Sister Godfrida was declared unfit to stand trial. She was committed to a mental institution.

[Max Haines, “Lost Soul,” The Chilliwack Progress, (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada), Aug. 29, 1999, p. 12]


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 Sister 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]


Movie based on the Cecile Bombeek case:

Suor Omicide (“Killer Nun”), Director: Giulio Berruti - 10 May 1979 (Italy); Synopsis – A demented nun sliding through morphine addiction into madness, whilst presiding over a regime of lesbianism, torture and death. Sister Gertrude is the head nurse/nun in a general hospital, whose increasingly psychotic behavior endangers the staff and patients around her. —Arthur Workman


Wetteren is a municipality located in the Belgian province of East Flanders. The municipality comprises the towns of Massemen, Westrem and Wetteren proper. On January 1, 2006, Wetteren had a total population of 23,209. The total area is 36.68 km² which gives a population density of 633 inhabitants per km².





For more cases, see Sicko Nurses



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