SSelf-confident, without hiding his face, Manuel H. stands upright behind the place given to him by the judicial officers in room 7 of the district court Cologne have assigned. Apparently uninhibited, almost friendly, he looks into the photographers' cameras. H. has pulled back his half-length hair and has freshly trimmed his beard. He gives the impression that he wants to go roaming the streets with a few buddies after work.
The public prosecutor accuses H. of being a "cold and cruel" poisoner. The 42-year-old male nurse is said to have committed a horrific series of crimes: double murder, attempted murder and attempted abortion. According to the findings of the investigators, H. first poisoned his wife Tina – with whom he had been married twice since 2017 – with thallium in the spring of 2020. The heavy metal previously used as a rat poison has a gradual effect within a few weeks. It starts with non-specific symptoms, then clumps of hair fall out from the victim. In the final stage, it suffers from excruciating pain all over its body.
Manuel H. is said to have turned and was deeply concerned when his wife Tina was admitted to a Leverkusen hospital in mid-May 2020. He regularly woke up by her bedside. The doctors believed it was an autoimmune disease. On May 29, the woman, who had been unresponsive for several days, was transferred to the Düsseldorf University Hospital. They couldn't help her there anymore, she died after a few hours. When the prosecutor presented this, Tina H.'s mother could no longer contain herself. The lady, who, like other relatives of the victims, is involved as a joint plaintiff, has tears running down her face.
It is still unclear whether the child died of thallium poisoning
Manuel H., who had already made contact with women via sperm donor platforms and dating portals in the past, found a new partner digitally after a few months: Yvonne K. In March 2021, H. is said to have poisoned the grandmother of his new girlfriend. The lady, who had been vigorous until then, suddenly complained of diarrhea and extreme abdominal pain. But when she died on April 1, 2021, nobody suspected that she was 92 years old. Shortly thereafter, Yvonne K. moved with H. to her grandmother's house in Hürth. In mid-August, K. became pregnant. Just a month later, she complained of the same symptoms as her grandmother had before. That's why her mother turned to the police - especially since she also remembered that Manuel K. had spoken openly about the symptoms Tina H. had suffered from. When the investigators stormed the house in Hürth, they found, among other things, a glass container with thallium in H.'s jacket. The exhumation and forensic examination of the grandmother later revealed that she had died from the poison.
At first it also looked bad for Yvonne K. and her child. She suffered from abdominal cramps, severe pain all over her body, hair loss, diarrhea, lost consciousness at times, developed pneumonia and had to be ventilated. Doctors saved her life with an antidote. Her unborn child also seemed to pull through. A few weeks before the expected date, it had to be brought into the world by caesarean section. But in July the girl died. Whether her mother's thallium poisoning is the cause is still under investigation.
The chamber will not have to rely solely on circumstantial evidence if it wants to make its judgment at the beginning of next year according to the current plan. The evidence seems overwhelming. The investigators not only found the thallium in H., but also a syringe with potassium chloride. According to the search history of his computer, Manuel H. had googled terms such as “thallium pregnancy” or “potassium chloride” several times. According to the conviction of the prosecution, H. is a hangman and assumes insidiousness and cruelty as characteristics of the murder. Because it was to be feared that he could continue to commit serious crimes in the future, the public prosecutor applied for preventive detention at the start of the trial. H. apparently accepts this unmoved. After the indictment had been read out, he let his lawyers tell him that he wanted to defend himself in silence.