The accused seems collected and withdrawn: In sober words and without recognizable emotions, the blonde woman in a green floral dress describes her joyless childhood and youth in front of the 1st criminal chamber of the Potsdam Regional Court. Even as a child, she was often ill and suffered from severe anxiety, the 52-year-old caregiver reported on Tuesday at the start of the trial for the killing of four residents of a home in Potsdam for people with disabilities. "I already had this deep sadness and fear of life as a five-year-old," she said. She said she didn't feel loved by her mother. "And I didn't like my mother."

According to the public prosecutor's office, the defendant had proceeded very systematically and insidiously on the evening of the bloody act on April 28. The 52-year-old waited until the other two nurses on the late shift were employed in other parts of the ward, said prosecutor Maria Stiller when reading out the indictment. Then she snuck into two rooms and first tried to strangle two residents.

When this turned out to be too strenuous, the defendant fetched her bag with personal belongings in a lounge, said Stiller. She told a colleague that she wanted to go and get cigarettes for a moment. Instead, she sneaked back into the residents' rooms and took a knife with a blade length of eleven centimeters from the bag. She killed two men and two women between the ages of 31 and 56 with cuts in the neck. A 43-year-old resident survived another knife attack, seriously injured.

"She was aware that the five victims were severely disabled people who were unable to defend themselves or to call for help," said the prosecutor.

The defendant took advantage of this defenselessness.

However, after a corresponding psychiatric report, the public prosecutor's office assumes that the nurse committed the offenses in a state of significantly reduced culpability.

She spoke about herself, not the charge

On the first day of the trial, the defendant only commented on herself, not on the charges made by the prosecution.

The 52-year-old described in detail a suicide attempt at the age of twelve.

Afterwards she came to the hospital for eight months and was treated there in a model experiment with drugs from Switzerland.

"That was my trauma," she said.

In 1990 she started working as a carer in a facility in Potsdam for severely disabled children and young people after a discontinued training as a nurse. "I worked with children and young people with disabilities - but I couldn't help myself," said the 52-year-old, describing her feelings at the time. In 1993 the house was taken over by the diaconal institution Oberlinhaus, where she was employed until the deed. Mental health problems, medication and consumption of alcohol accompanied her for much of her life, said the defendant.

Police officers then gave the court details of the investigation.

Accordingly, the crime knife was found in the parking lot that the employees of the Oberlinhaus use.

The woman was arrested at home late in the evening after the crime and then admitted to a mental hospital.

Ten days of negotiations are scheduled for the process until December 9th.

In total, more than 40 witnesses are to be heard.