Addict Nurse 'Killed Elderly Pair'

Care Home Murder

26.01.2010


A care home worker accused of murdering two elderly residents stole class A drugs from other residents to "feed her addiction", a court has heard.

Bristol Crown Court heard how 44-year-old Rachel Baker allegedly falsified residents' symptoms in order to gain larger quantities of drugs which she then used herself.

At other times, she stole medication from residents to feed her habit after she became addicted to diamorphine, pethidine and diazepam, the court heard.

Baker, from Glastonbury, is accused of murdering Francis Hay, 85, on November 22 2006, and Lucy Cox, 97, on January 1 2007 at the Butleigh care home she ran with her husband, Leigh Baker. She denies both charges.

Opening the case, prosecutor David Fisher said: "She fed her addiction by taking drugs which had been prescribed not to her but to residents at the home and from her husband.

"On occasion she would simply steal drugs from residents, on other occasions she would obtain prescriptions for residents which they didn't require or didn't require in such large volumes by exaggerating or falsifying their symptoms so she could use the drugs herself."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Linda Smith from law firm Irwin Mitchell represented Colin Norris's victims families. She said: "This is a worrying case highlighting the need to protect patient's especially those that are very old, very young or vulnerable.

"The report published today by the independent inquiry into the murders of four elderly ladies and one attempted murder committed at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust by Colin Norris, a nurse, shows that health professionals have to be on guard to ensure patients are not harmed by colleagues. 
 
"Yet the report today highlights that earlier reports in 1994 (Beverley Allitt - a nurse convicted for killing children and again  in the Bullock report 1997) the systems have still not been achieved to ensure patient safety. 

"Norris was employed at time of staff shortages, yet had shown worryingly aggressive and inappropriate behaviour to elderly people and his lecturers during his training.  The Leeds Trust failed to properly enquire into references and to look behind information Norris provided which was untrue.

"Control of drug supplies from the hospital pharmacies on the wards was also haphazard and insecure, with procedures loose and not even followed at times enabling a rogue nurse to access dangerous substances which he then used to administer to the ladies causing their deaths.
 
"The Leeds Trust has settled claims for negligence brought by two families and further claims are being processed."