Some of the people involved with Ben’s case at the moment also worked on a very similar Dutch case. The case of Lucia de Berk. A nurse who was given a life sentence (which in NL is extremely rare and does actually literally mean “for life”) for 7 murders and 3 attempted murders (mostly of young children at a children’s hospital). The basis for this conviction was statistics saying that she was always on duty when there was some kind of incident on her ward. That, along with some indications that one of the babies had been poisoned. After a long, long fight she was given a re-trial at which she was completely exonerated.
The two cases are horrifically, sickeningly, similar. Well there is one difference: it seems that no-one in the UK cares about Ben’s case. The UK media did such a good job at painting Ben completely black … and in a class-ridden society no-one (at least: no-one who is important) cares a damn about some poor guy from the lower classes locked up for nothing.
Actually there are more such cases around the world, they occur regularly, and every time it is some kind of hysteria in a hospital connected to some lowly nurse who is a bit of an outsider. The hospital medics get together, convince themselves of guilt (partly by not telling their colleagues what they do know about their own patients, namely about their own mistakes and doubts). The police are brought in. The hospital administration and top medical staff have made up their mind and – once it has become public – there is no going back. Their colleagues elsewhere are only to happy to assist in making sure the killer goes to jail. This is called medical “collegiality”. The police are impotent, not capable of providing any kind of counter-pressure. The medical community has total control of interpreting the medical evidence. Of course, once it is all public the police are anxious to do their job and help put the terrible killer away. The media joins in the hysteria. It is a little witch-hunt which goes national. The trial that follows is a witch-trial. society is appalled by the deeds of this purportedly horribly depraved person and demands a rapid retribution. Whatever the nurse says or doesn’t say or did or didn’t do is further evidence of guilt.
In the Lucia case the judges even said that she was such a terrible killer because she so perfectly managed to kill all those people without leaving any trace whatsoever of how she did it.
Nothing has been learned from the Lucia de B. case, nothing at all.