Killer Nurses – and Failed Governance
Part 1: Safe in Their Hands?
This is part 1 of an investigation into the failure of the rule of law in Jersey.
I reproduce a photograph below. The pageantry it depicts is supposed to reassure us. We are meant to look at such costumes – and so exceptional from our reality are they – the intention is we should feel reassured that we are protected by a justice apparatus above and beyond the world of us mere mortals.
The notion is, that this is a lofty and mysterious world, which no mere pleb could ever look upon – and criticise. Prosecutors – Judges – Governors; we must take on mere trust the claim that these people have our best interests at heart – and that they protect us with the law.
So, just how wise are we to be uncritically awed by people in fancy-dress, yet worn solemnly in broad daylight?
We’ll return to that question at the conclusion of these articles – in which you are going to read evidence that you will find shocking.
At the centre of this case is a male nurse – “nurse M” – as I must refer to him, because of Jersey government reporting restrictions.
Nurse M is almost certainly a clinical serial-killer.
The Jersey authorities have had very clear grounds for strongly suspecting that to be the case – since April 1999.
As the evidence I am going to publish in the course of these articles shows – the Jersey authorities failed to mount a credible investigation into nurse M.
From the evidence, it can be concluded that there are, broadly, two reasons for that failure:
1: The authorities were incompetent in investigating suspected clinical serial-killing.
2: There was profound reluctance on the part of some high-ranking public officials to see the investigation progressed.
In support of that latter point, we have to confront the truly remarkable fact that none of the relatives of the deceased suspected victims – nor the surviving suspected victims themselves – were ever told.
Now that the matter has become an immense public controversy, the Jersey authorities – in an attempt to defend their actions – claim, today, that ‘the suspicions about nurse M were shown to be baseless by the initial inquiry; they were shown to have so little credible substance that there was no need to “upset” the suspected victims and relatives by informing them.’
That – in essence – is the assertion repeated by the Attorney General in Jersey’s courts – and upheld by Jersey judges – in prosecuting me for supposedly breaking the Data Protection Law by making a public interest disclosure of the case – and exposing the identity of nurse M.
But before you assume that the prosecution system and the courts of Jersey must be right – wait until you have read the documented evidence to be published on this blog; not something you will be able to do if you rely upon Jersey’s public authorities or their mainstream media.
After reading the material I am going to publish – people will come to their own conclusions as to just how credible the claims by the Jersey authorities are.
One of the things I have found most disturbing about this case – is that the families of the suspected murder victims were never told. Indeed – there were more suspected victims – who came near to death, but survived. They too were not told by Jersey’s authorities that they may have been victims of murder attempts when they were in hospital.
That failure to have told the surviving suspected victims, or the families of the deceased, is unlawful – quite apart from being wholly unethical.
For my part, if there were credible grounds for believing that a relative of mine may have been murdered by a rogue nurse – or that I had been the victim of an attempted murder when in hospital – I would most certainly want to know about it. And not only for my own justice – but also to assist the authorities in investigating the matter, so that other people be protected in future.
It is the case – of course – that in not interviewing those people – not questioning them as to whether they may have seen or experienced things that were ‘unusual’ or ‘odd’ – or had any unexpected, sudden crisis in their medical condition – will have been to miss what could have been vitally important evidence.
From the first moment I began to understand the true facts – I have wanted the surviving suspected victims, and the relatives of the deceased, to be told – to be properly informed of what is known to have taken place.
Jersey’s public authorities have done everything in their power to prevent those people from learning the facts. Even to the extent of preventing the evidence concerning the activities of nurse M from being used in court.
The Jersey government’s excuse for concealing the truth, is the same, routine, spin-doctoring always employed when a scandal in the island needs hiding: namely that the victims are being “protected” – because if they were told the truth, or asked to be witnesses, “they would find it too upsetting”. (Similar, corrupt reasons were relied upon for years, in failing to give justice to child abuse victims.)
But quite aside from possibly having important witness testimony that could have been used against nurse M – all of those people have a right to justice; justice against the States of Jersey for failing to take even the most basic of steps to protect them or their loved ones from danger. Even today – in 2011 and beyond – those families have a legal claim against the Jersey authorities; a claim that can still – very much – be legally pursued given the fraudulent concealments by the Jersey authorities. The fear of such claims, is one of the reasons why the cover-up continues.
I believe that the people and the families involved have a right to know. And to that end, I’m asking readers – via the poll on the right – to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this question:
“If the authorities had credible grounds for believing that a rogue nurse had attempted to murder you in hospital, should they have investigated it properly by interviewing you as a potential witness, and do you have a right to know of the suspicions?”
And I’m asking people in Jersey to think about that question – because it is more than hypothetical.
I cannot – because of the ‘legal’ repressions, name nurse M – but his name is easily found on other local web sites, with a little searching.
Once you know his name – think about it; were you – or a relative, or friend of yours – ever in hospital, when he was nursing there?
In Corbiere Ward, for example – during 1997 – or 1998 – or 1999 in particular?
In January – or February – or March – or April, of 1999?
Many patients and relatives will remember nurse M – because he was often so charming, and attentive – and always around to help – if anything went wrong.
A number of people were so impressed with him, they even wrote character references.
If you think you might know any person – patients or relatives – who ever encountered nurse M in any clinical setting – ask them to read this posting – and the original posting of the 19th March 2009.
Did any person – patient, relative or colleague – who encountered nurse M, experience: –
Him making very strange remarks, such as –“why are you bothering to visit your relative, as they will be dead in the morning?” (And they were.)
Remarks concerning suicide?
Offers of advice on how to kill yourself?
Inappropriate references to death and dying?
Attempts to secure gifts, or legacies from patients or relatives?
Unexpected and strange turns for the worse in your clinical condition, or that of a relative or friend of yours?
Sudden deteriorations – even near-death experiences – in people who were ill, but not terminally ill?
Death of patients who were not thought to be so ill as to be in danger of dying?
The sudden death of people who may have been terminally ill, but who were still expected to live for some time?
Inappropriate sexual advances?
If you, or someone you know, experienced any of the above, or some combination of them, in respect of nurse M – then you are not alone.
Why are those questions important?
Because you need to contact the police – as others are now doing.
And if going straight to the police seems too big a step at this stage – e-mail me here:
It should never had had to have taken this – but now, as a result of my exposing of the case, witnesses and victims are beginning to realise what happened – and are coming forward.
Interviews that should have been undertaken thirteen years ago – are now taking place.
Public Interest Exposure:
One of the absurd arguments used against me by the prosecution – and accepted by the courts – was that it would have been perfectly OK for me to publish the 1999 report – but without nurse M’s name included. According to Jersey’s judiciary – publication of the 1999 police report would have been just fine – if only I had replaced nurse M’s name whenever it appeared in the document, with something like “male nurse X”.
That is how absurd and dangerous Jersey’s courts are.
Quite seriously – they put forward the argument that I could have published a report saying that there is a serial-killer male nurse out there in Jersey – but not naming him.
You do not need much sense, do you, to see what happens next.
All of the professional, caring decent male nurses in Jersey would have immediately fallen under suspicion – and would, rightly, have been outraged that their collective integrity had been undermined. And every patient in Jersey, who found themselves being cared for by a male nurse would have looked at them in fear – and would have refused to have male nurses near them.
Every hospital ward, outpatient department, residential care home and nursing home in Jersey would have been barraged with demands from patients and families and journalists to know if ‘the suspected murderer was one of their male nurses?’
And – of course – if I had adopted such an irresponsible approach – would those institutions have been able to honestly answer any of those inevitable questions?
For if the identity of the suspected murderer had been kept secret by me – all of those clinical employers would have had no more idea than the patients – whether the male nurse in question was amongst their staff.
A state of affairs that would have negated the very purpose of making the public interest disclosure in the first place – namely exposing nurse M, as a dangerous individual – so that potential clinical employers were aware of the dangers he represented, and would be able to ensure they did not employ him.
But – it gets worse; for not only is the “reasoning” adopted by Jersey’s judiciary plainly irrational, and, frankly stupid – it is not even compatible with the law.
We are, in theory at least, a free and democratic society – in which activities such as investigative journalism fulfil a vital role in exposing wrong-doing and revealing cover-ups. That crucial role, of the ‘Fourth Estate’ – the media – is so well and universally recognised, it’s protected by law.
Even by provisions in the Data Protection Law.
Here are the two, simple parts of Jersey’s Data Protection Law – which permit such activities as publishing names and other personal data, in the course of journalism and the prevention of crime:
“29 Exemption: crime and taxation
(1) Personal data processed for any of the following purposes –
(a) the prevention, detection, or investigation, anywhere of crime;
(b) the apprehension, or prosecution, anywhere of persons who have committed an offence anywhere;”
“32 Exemption for sake of journalism, literature or art
(1) Personal data which are processed only for the special purposes are exempt from any provision to which this Article relates if –
(a) the processing is undertaken with a view to the publication by any person of any journalistic, literary or artistic material;
(b) the data controller reasonably believes that, having regard in particular to the special importance of the public interest in freedom of expression, publication would be in the public interest;”
So the approach adopted by Jersey’s prosecution and judicial authorities in this case is both irrational – and not even compatible with the law. They would have it – despite all evidence and legislation to the contrary – that it is against the law to expose a rogue male nurse with a history of sexual violence, the theft of lethal quantities of dangerous medications and well-founded grounds for believing him to be a serial-killer.
We have to ask, therefore, what ‘reasons’ – what ‘motivations’ – the Jersey judicial oligarchy can possible have for adopting such a position? That is such a serious – and disturbing question, we will be taking a detailed look at it, later in this series of articles.
For now, let’s just consider two of the “official” stories, as to why Jersey’s authorities have been so irrationally keen to cover-up this matter.
They claim, that there is no evidence to support the original suspicions concerning nurse M; they claim that those initial fears were investigated, found to be baseless, and he was cleared.
They further claim that there were so few grounds for credible suspicion, that it would have “distressed” needlessly the suspected surviving victims and the relatives of the deceased, to have interviewed them.
That first claim, concerning the supposed “absence of evidence” will be the subject of the next article – in which we will be considering the assessment by an expert witness. For the moment, it is enough to know that so unarguable is that expert testimony – three days after it was submitted as my defence case – the Jersey courts suddenly decided that a public interest disclosure defence was “no longer admissible”. The expert evidence was never heard. The Jersey authorities simply have no answer to it.
So damning is the evidence – it is difficult not to conclude that the decision to not inform and interview patients and relatives was a calculated decision – made by the authorities precisely because they feared that such witnesses, if questioned, would provide evidence to drive forward the investigation and charging of nurse M.
If that was a motivation of the Jersey authorities – a fear that a ‘neat’ and politically ‘convenient’ cover-up might become impossible if they interviewed the witnesses, who might realise when questioned that the very strange things that happened them and their health when under nurse M’s ‘care’ were, in fact, murder attempts – then the Jersey authorities were very ‘correct’ to have that fear.
Since my public interest exposure of the nurse M case – just such witnesses have now come forward.
The States of Jersey Police Force are now taking statements from them.
Thirteen years after that work should have been undertaken.
The gravity – and implications – of this turn of events, should not require explaining in detail. Suffice it to say the public interest defence in naming nurse M is now proven – the exposure has prompted, and brought forward potentially vital witnesses. I am vindicated.
Instead – for the time being – let’s return to the question of whether the Jersey authorities could have been justified in ever imagining that a case of clinical mass-murder by a nurse was such a rare and unlikely event, the notion could safely be dismissed, as they claim?
Perhaps the initial suspicions concerning nurse M were so ‘obviously unlikely’ that the potential victims and their loved-ones needn’t be “distressed” by an investigation?
Maybe all of Jersey’s prosecution and judicial authorities are right to do all they can to suppress the suggestion that a nurse may be a murderer, and may have attempted to murder many others? Surely the idea is just too implausible? OK – some people may remember Beverley Allitt – and then there was Collin Norris – and there is the current case of Rebecca Leighton – and the case of Nancy Lane, just coming to court in Ottawa and – well, that’s only four. Why bother “alarming” and “distressing” people needlessly – when the chances of a nurse attempting to harm them is so unlikely?
Here is one of the quotes I came across when researching this subject:
“In an article for Forensic Nurse, Kelly Pyrek indicates that since the mid-1970s, there have been 36 cases of serial murder among nurses and other healthcare workers in the U.S. A survey shows that the incidences appear to be increasing, with 14 during the 1990s and already five since 2000. (The article was written before Cullen’s atrocities came to light, so that makes at least six.) ‘Many experts speculate,’ says Pyrek, ‘that healthcare has contributed more serial killers than all other professions combined and that the field attracts a disproportionately high number of people with a pathological interest in life and death.’”
There is so much information on this most disturbing of subjects available, readers can search for it themselves. What I reproduce in this posting are just a few, random quotes and observations, selected from various sources. Another article says this:
“They are the least likely of criminals committing the most heinous of crimes: nurses who, instead of leading patients to health, usher them to the grave. But over the past three decades, serial killer nurses have become increasingly common. Or perhaps just increasingly obvious.”
The following observation, too – is very revealing:
“But possibly the biggest reason that some nurses kill is that they can.
“They have access to patients who are often very sick, very old or very young — and access to drugs powerful enough to kill unobtrusively through an intravenous tube. And they work at institutions with an inherent aversion to litigation and publicity.
“Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist at DeSales University in Centre Valley, Pa., has worked with FBI profilers. “ Some hospitals don’t want the public to know they had someone like this, so they sort of shove the problem aside” with a dismissal, she said. “But then the nurse gets a job somewhere else.”
That observation is especially relevant to the Jersey situation: “Some hospitals don’t want the public to know they had someone like this, so they sort of shove the problem aside with a dismissal. But then the nurse gets a job somewhere else.”
And that’s in a large nation-state – with independent regulators – investigative media – and independent prosecutors.
In Jersey, the prosecutor will be the same man who’s been giving legal advice to the concealing health organisation in question. And back in 1999, that man was the then Attorney General, Michael Birt – presently, the Bailiff.
On the 17th April 1999 the Jersey police had cause to raid the home of nurse M. When they did so, they found the following:
1. One lump of brown cannabis resin, tablets and scales.
3. A Police Philips radio (in working order).
4. Bag containing various medications.
5. Eleven syringes with a clear liquid within, and other medication, including
two bottles of potassium chloride.
6. Six firearms, with large quantity of ammunition.
7. One expired Firearms Certificate.
The “clear liquid” proved to be insulin – a medication that can easily cause death when used incorrectly – let alone in combination with potassium chloride; the latter is used in executions, at a lethal dose, in order to interrupt the electrical signalling essential to heart functions. It induces cardiac arrest. The large quantities of insulin and potassium chloride, and the syringes had all been stolen from the hospital.
The police, instantly very alarmed at these findings, undertook a brief, initial assessment of nurse M’s work-shifts, on Corbiere Ward of Jersey’s General Hospital – and they looked for any anomalous death patterns.
During the period of February 1999, through March 1999 – nurse M may have murdered 13 people in the Hospital.
Eight – in a period of four nights during February 1999.
Five – during March 1999.
As for the remaining time he worked on Corbiere Ward – and elsewhere in Jersey – it is not clear that the police properly investigated the rest of his working practice.
The States of Jersey Police Force organised a meeting with Michael Birt, which took place on the 20th May 1999. At that meeting – on the basis of what was already compelling evidence – the decision was made to launch phase 1 of an investigation into the strong possibility that nurse M was a clinical serial-killer. Although – it should be noted – the original scope of that Phase 1, as the investigating officers wished to pursue it – was greatly watered-down at that meeting on the 20th. Michael Birt described the proposed thorough investigation as “far too wide”.
At the time of these discussions, nurse M was remanded in custody, for the offences of possessing the six unlicensed firearms, the ammunition, the cannabis – and the stolen syringes, and the stolen lethal quantities of insulin – and of potassium chloride. In addition to those evidenced offences – the authorities had just decided to launch an investigation into the possibility he is a clinical serial-killer.
Although you couldn’t make this up – notwithstanding those circumstances, Attorney General Michael Birt refused to oppose nurse M’s bail application.
So he was let out of prison.
The day after the authorities began investigating him for suspicion of serial murder.
Birt’s supposed “reasons” for not opposing bail are manifestly utter nonsense.
This is what he wrote, in the relevant file-note:
File Note by Attorney General Michael Birt.
Attending a meeting, at Police Headquarters comprising the Chief Officer,
Deputy Chief Officer, Superintendent G, Inspector BF, Inspector T and the financial officer, along with Mr. GJ and Mr DG from the Health and Social Services Committee, Advocate CW and myself and PG, the Deputy Viscount.
Inspector BF spoke on his report. A number of questions arose. Mr. GJ said that he thought that there were a lot ‘of points which did not make sense. Why would anyone put the bung back in relation to the drip incident? It would simply draw attention to the fact that it was deliberate.’ Mr. DG said that he had surreptitiously looked at the key records of those who had died in February and had not, on the face of it, been able to see anything suspicious.
Nevertheless we all agreed that the matter could not be left as it was. There was evidence that Nurse M was potentially dangerous. We had to investigate the position thoroughly in order to ascertain whether there was anything in it or not.
It was agreed that the suggested Phase I in Inspector F’s report was far too wide. To begin with a major incident room should be set so as to collate the necessary information. Information should be obtained from the hospital, from interviews of key staff such as nurse E, patient records. At the conclusion of this phase, a further decision be taken as to whether there was justification for widening the scope of the enquiry so as to take statements from patients, etc.
In the light of the length of time necessary for these preliminary enquiries and the scant state of evidence at present, there was no justification for using these enquiries to support any opposition to bail. In relation to the other offences, it was it was not felt that bail could properly be opposed and it was therefore provisionally agreed the bail could be granted subject to a condition of no interference with witnesses or hospital staff [excision], surrender of passport and no visiting the hospital premises (other than for purposes of treatment). A further review would take place in due course.”
The assertions Birt makes in that file-note are patently untrue.
If ever there was a situation that justified keeping a suspect in custody, on remand – that was it.
Nurse M could have continued to be remanded in custody, on the grounds of continuing to investigate the existing charges alone – even setting aside the other, serious suspicions. The massive likelyhood that he would seek to intimidate and interfere with witnesses in respect of the clinical drugs theft investigation was quite obvious – notwithstanding the rather touching faith Mr. Birt expressed in ‘conditions’.
Let us not be treated like idiots. This was a cover-up. Those were the actions of a prosecutor – the same man responsible for legal advice to the Health & Social Services department – who was conflicted – and who just wanted the scandal to “go away”.
No person who wanted the suspicions concerning nurse M properly investigated would have even countenanced letting him out of custody – the day after the investigation begins.
Sure enough – the predictable thing happened. Nurse M proceeded to begin telephoning the other nurses – intimidating them – terrifying them – and causing them – not unreasonably, given he had been let out of prison, to conclude that no matter what concerns they may have had about him – he was going to be protected by the Jersey authorities.
So – that was one cohort of potentially vital witnesses, largely eliminated from ever being any real use to the inquiry – at the very outset.
Now – thirteen years later – some victims of nurse M are beginning to realise what happened to them – those strange and anomalous events – when nurse M was around them.
Things are falling into view.
The States of Jersey Police Force are now beginning to gather evidence from people who could be crucial witnesses.
People who would have been interviewed thirteen years ago – if the then Attorney General Michael Birt had not decided that interviewing the potential witnesses would make the investigation “far too wide”.
In Part 2 of ‘Lights Out – and the Dressing-Up Box: Killer Nurses – and Failed Governance’ – we will be examining some of the evidence – and the methodology of that ‘Phase 1 investigation’, in 1999.
Until then – if anyone finds it hard to imagine that nursing can be a common cover for serial-killers – and if anyone doubts that authorities should do anything other than investigate implacably the first suspicion of foul-play by a nurse – read the brief quotes I reproduce below; quotes concerning twenty – yes, twenty – different cases.
I was going to cite more – but there are so many, I gave up.
Read what follows – and you will understand why – when it comes to suspicions concerning nurses – anything less from the authorities than absolute vigilance is unacceptable.
“A senior nurse who murdered four elderly women patients began a minimum 30-year jail term yesterday without showing remorse or explaining what led him to take his victims’ lives.
Passing sentence on 32-year-old Colin Norris, Mr Justice Griffith Williams said months of evidence had left him no wiser about the motives behind a “thoroughly evil” betrayal of trust.
He had carried out the murders with increasing confidence over a six-month period in 2002 at two Leeds hospitals.
The court and police praised Dr Emma Ward, who questioned an insulin dose given to one victim, 86-year-old Ethel Hall, and triggered the police investigation. But Hall’s son Stuart, 53, said yesterday that the family and other victims’ relatives were seeking talks with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust about an independent inquiry into the case.
“We hope Colin Norris never leaves prison and is never in a situation where he can harm anyone else again,” he said. “I do not understand why he pretended to be a caring nurse when he was really a cold-blooded killer who preyed on the vulnerable.”
Norris was convicted on an 11-1 jury vote of murdering Hall, Doris Ludlam, 80, Bridget Bourke, 88, and Irene Crookes, 79, and attempting to murder Vera Wilby, 90, who survived a prolonged coma after an unnecessary insulin injection.
Det Chief Supt Chris Gregg, of West Yorkshire police, said he shared the judge’s frustration at not knowing what led Norris to kill. He said after the sentencing: “Only he knows the answer to that, but I am convinced he would have gone on to kill more patients had he not been stopped in his tracks.””
“A Finnish nurse was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for murdering five of her elderly patients with lethal drug overdoses, and for trying to kill five others.
The Helsinki District Court found Aino Nykopp-Koski guilty of five murders, five attempted murders, three aggravated assaults, three thefts and possessing illegal drugs.
The murders happened in hospitals, hospices and private homes between 2004 and 2009.”
“Donald Harvey is a serial killer responsible for killing 36 to 57 people, many of who were patients at hospitals where he was employed. His killing spree lasted from May 1970 until March 1987, only ending after a police investigation into the death of a patient resulted in Harvey’s confession. Labelled the “Angel of Death” Harvey said he first began to kill to help ease the pain of dying patients, but a detailed diary he kept paints the picture of a sadistic, cold-hearted killer.
Beginning on August 11, 1987, and throughout several more days, Harvey confessed to killing over 70 people. After investigating each of his claims he was charged with 25 counts of aggravated murder, to which Harvey pled guilty. He was given four consecutive 20-year sentences. Later, in February, 1988, he confessed to committing three more murders in Cincinnati.
In Kentucky Harvey confessed to 12 murders and was sentenced to eight life terms plus 20 years.”
“A nurse who drugged and killed a frail elderly woman has been found guilty of murder by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
Alison Firth, 36, poisoned 84-year-old Alice Grant with an overdose of the sedative drug heminevrin in May last year.
The court was told Firth may have killed Mrs Grant because she was lazy and could not face having to provide regular care for her in the future.
Outside court, Detective Superintendent Chris Symonds, who led the inquiry, said the nurse acted in an evil manner and was a disgrace to her profession.
He said: “The verdict demonstrates that elderly people have the protection of the law, notwithstanding the fact that they are extremely ill and in the last stages of their natural life.
“In this case Alice Grant, as was articulated by witnesses, although very ill, was described as alert and able to express feelings through her eyes and touch to those who were caring for her.
“She did not deserve to be killed in this way.
“Firth deliberately set out, planned and executed the death of Alice Grant and the jury have seen Alison Firth for what she is.”
“Detectives charged Grigg-Booth in September 2004.
The nurse was charged with murdering June Driver, 67, in July 2000; Eva Blackburn, 75, in November 2001; and 96-year-old Annie Midgley in July 2002.
She was also accused of trying to kill 42-year-old Michael Parker in June 2002.
As well as the murder and attempted murder charges, Grigg-Booth faced 13 counts of unlawfully administering poison to 12 other patients.
She was due to go on trial in April 2006, but died of an overdose aged 52 on 29 August 2005.
The night nurse practitioner was charged with the murder of three elderly patients after illegally prescribing and injecting powerful painkilling drugs as if she was a qualified doctor.
But police believe she may have killed many more during her 25 years working at Airedale General Hospital in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
Grigg-Booth also faced an attempted murder charge and 13 counts of unlawfully administering poison to 12 other patients but was never brought to trial because she died from a drink and drugs overdose at her home in 2005 at the age of 52.”
“Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is a former nurse who is the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history, and suspected to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. Cullen told authorities in December 2003 that he could specifically recall the murder of perhaps 40 patients during the 16 years he worked at 10 hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But in subsequent interviews with police, psychiatric professionals, and the only journalist with whom he had ever granted interviews, Charles Graeber, it soon became clear that he had killed many more, whom he could not specifically remember. Experts have estimated that Charles Cullen may ultimately be responsible for some 400 murders- making him the most prolific serial killer in American history.”
“A former nurse who gave lethal injections to six hospital patients has been sentenced to 360 years for the “diabolical” murders.
Orville Lynn Majors, 38, who reportedly told a colleague that old people ”should all be gassed”, had been linked to 130 deaths.
But he was only tried on the seven cases the prosecution thought most likely to secure a conviction. Majors was found guilty on six of those counts last month.
“It’s the judgement of this court that the maximum sentence is the minimum sentence in this case,” said Judge Ernest Yelton.
Relatives of Majors’ victims broke down in tears as he was sentenced to 60 years for each of the six murders.
Judge Yelton described Major’s crime as “a paragon of evil at its most wicked”.
The patients, four women and two men aged 56 to 89, died between 1993 and 1995 at the Vermillion county hospital in Clinton, Indiana.
Prosecutors said Majors gave his victims fatal overdoses and that some of the injections were witnessed by their loved ones.
Investigators said he used the potentially heart-stopping drug potassium chloride, vials of which were found in his home and car.”
“Genene Anne Jones (born July 13, 1950) is a former paediatric nurse who killed somewhere between 11 and 46 infants and children in her care. She used injections of digoxin, heparin and later succinylcholine to induce medical crises in her patients, with the intention of reviving them afterward in order to receive praise and attention. These medications are known to cause heart paralysis and other complications when given as an overdose. Many children however, did not survive the initial attack and could not be revived. The exact number of murders remain unknown, as hospital officials allegedly first misplaced then destroyed records of her activities to prevent further litigation after Jones’ first conviction.
While working at the Bexar County Hospital (now The University Hospital of San Antonio) in the Paediatric Intensive care unit, it was determined that a statistically inordinate number of children Jones worked with were dying. Rather than pursue further investigation the hospital simply asked Jones to resign, which she did.”
“French Nurse Jailed in 6 Deaths
A French nurse who said she helped the terminally ill die out of compassion was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for the deaths of six hospital patients.
The nurse, Christine Malèvre, had been charged with the murder of seven patients at a lung hospital in Mantes-la-Jolie near Paris in 1997 and 1998. She faced life in prison.
Ms. Malèvre’s case sparked energetic debate on euthanasia in France, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, after she initially said she had “helped” about 30 terminally ill patients end their lives.”
German Nurse Sentenced to Life for Killing Patients.
A nurse has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing six patients in her care at the Charite Hospital in Berlin with an overdose of medication.
The German nurse went on trial in April for the murder of six people and the attempted murder of two others between June 2005 and October 2006.
Berlin’s Charite hospital, Europe’s biggest university hospital, came in for manifold criticism throughout the trial for failing to raise the alarm earlier.
Becker, who worked in cardiology, was arrested in October 2006 after a fellow nurse alerted a doctor about the disturbingly high number of patients dying in their ward.
Most of the nurse’s victims had been elderly and close to death.
“A Finnish nurse dubbed “the angel of death” for murdering a mentally disabled patient and attempting to murder a healthy eight-month old baby with insulin was found dead in her jail cell, police said Tuesday.
“She has perished there,” an officer with the police in Turku, on the west coast of Finland, told AFP, confirming that Katariina Pantila, 28, died after resuscitation efforts in her cell at a Turku jail Monday.
Last week, an appeals court upheld a life sentence for Pantila, formerly known as Katariina Loennqvist, for the murder of a 79-year-old, bed-ridden woman by injecting her with insulin at a rehabilitation centre in 2007.”
“A former veterans hospital nurse who killed four of her patients with injections of poison should spend the rest of her life in prison, a federal jury decided Monday.
Kristen Gilbert, a 33-year-old mother of two, could have faced death by lethal injection and would have become the only woman on federal death row.
Gilbert was convicted March 14 of the first-degree murder in the deaths of three veterans. She also was convicted of the second-degree murder, which is not subject to the death penalty, in the death of another veteran.
Gilbert also was convicted of trying to kill two other veterans in her care.
From August 1995 through February 1996, Gilbert dealt out wholesale death. Her victims were helpless patients who trusted her as a caregiver, only to learn too late that she was a killer, her weapon a drug capable of causing fatal heart attacks. But she got away with murder until three of her fellow nurses could no longer ignore the proliferation of deadly “coincidences” on Gilbert’s watch. Investigators believe Kristen Gilbert may have been responsible for as many as 40 deaths.”
“A nurse thought to be one of the most prolific serial killers in the Netherlands has been jailed for life after a court found her guilty of the murder of four of her patients and the attempted murder of three others.
Lucy Isabella Quirina de Berk, 41, has repeatedly protested her innocence but on Monday a court in the Hague concluded that she had killed three babies and one elderly woman by lethal injection.
It also found her guilty of trying to murder two other babies and another pensioner.
The case has captured the public imagination because of the large number of people who died under suspicious circumstances in de Berk’s care. She was initially accused of killing 13 and of attempting to murder five others.
The murders happened between 1997 and 2001 at three hospitals in the Hague. In each case the patient died of an overdose of either potassium chloride or morphine and de Berk was the last person to be at the bedside. During her trial, statisticians gave evidence that the chances of her being present coincidentally at each death were one in 342 million.”
“Working the graveyard shift put Angelo into the perfect position to continue to work on his feeling of inadequacy, so much so that during his relatively short time at the Good Samaritan, there were 37 “Code-Blue” emergencies during his shift. Only 12 of the 37 patients lived to talk about their near death experience.
Angelo, apparently not swayed by his inability to keep his victims alive, continued injecting patients with a combination of the paralyzing drugs, Pavulon and Anectine, sometimes telling the patient that he was giving them something which would make them feel better.
Soon after administering the deadly cocktail, the patients would begin to feel numb and their breathing would become constricted as did their ability to communicate to nurses and doctors. Few could survive the deadly attack.
Then on October 11, 1987 Angelo came under suspicion after one of his victims, Gerolamo Kucich, managed to use the call button for assistance after receiving an injection from Angelo. One of the nurses responding to his call for help took a urine sample and had it analyzed. The test proved positive for containing the drugs, Pavulon and Anectine, neither of which had been prescribed to Kucich.
The following day Angelo’s locker and home were searched and police found vials of both drugs and Angelo was arrested. The bodies of several of the suspected victims were exhumed and tested for the deadly drugs. The test proved positive for the drugs on ten of the dead patients.
Angelo was ultimately convicted of two counts of depraved indifference murder (second-degree murder), one count of second degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide and six counts of assault with respect to five of the patients and was sentenced to 61 years to life.”
“A former hospital nurse pleaded no contest Tuesday to killing 10 patients nearly six years ago by injecting them with a drug used to temporarily halt breathing.
Vickie Dawn Jackson, 40, will be sentenced to life in prison, the maximum sentence she faced if she had been convicted by a jury.
Authorities have not offered a motive for the slayings.
Jackson was accused of killing the patients, including her third husband’s grandfather, by injecting them with a drug used to stop breathing to allow insertion of a breathing tube.
Prosecutor said the deaths occurred during her night shifts at Nocona General Hospital in 2000 and 2001. More than 20 vials of the drug were missing and a syringe with traces of the drug was found in the nurse’s garbage, they said.”
“A German nurse has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing 28 patients at a hospital he worked at in the southern part of the country. Stephan Letter was found guilty of 12 counts of murder, 15 counts of manslaughter and one count of illegal mercy killing.
Letter, who was nicknamed the “Angel of Death” in the German media had admitted to giving lethal injections to 16 elderly patients at a local hospital and was thought to have killed 12 more.
He eventually said he could not remember how many he had killed.
During the trial, Herbert Pollert, the lead prosecutor, said autopsies had been performed on 42 former patients at a hospital in the Bavarian town of Sonthofen.
The victims all died during the 17 months Letter worked at the clinic and most of the patients were above the age of 75, though one was as young as 40.
The deaths didn’t raise any red flags at the medical facility because of the patients’ age, but concerns appeared when officials found medications had disappeared.
Letter was finally arrested after authorities found some of the drugs at his home — an amount large enough to have killed 10 more patients. The nurse used a mixture of a sedative and muscle relaxant to kill the patients, and the drug cocktail would have taken only five minutes to induce death.
“We have the strongest suspicions that all 42 of the disinterred were killed by the accused,” a police spokesman said. However, Police are unable to check the causes of death of 38 other patients who were at the hospital during the same period, because their bodies were cremated.”
“Edson Isidoro Guimarães (born 1957) is a Brazilian nursing assistant and convicted serial killer. He confessed to five murders of which he was convicted of four, but is suspected of committing up to 131 in total. He claimed that he chose patients whose conditions were irreversible and who were in pain.
Guimarães worked as a nurse in the Salgado Filho Hospital in the Méier district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was caught in 1999 when a hospital porter saw Guimarães fill a syringe with potassium chloride and inject a comatose patient who immediately died. The police were informed and a higher than average death rate on his ward increased their suspicions. On his arrest he confessed to five murders.”
“In early 2001 the Hungarian nurse Timea Faludi (then 24) confessed on killing approximately 40 elderly patients “for mercy”. The case was uncovered when the medical director of the Gyala Nviro Hospital in Budapest noticed, that the death toll was unusually high, when sister Timea was on night-shift. Controls of the drug usage showed a shortage of tranquilizer. Faludi withdrew her confessions during trial and as all the victims had been cremated there was no evidence left.
Faludi was convicted to 9 years in prison for repeated attempts of murder and a lifelong prohibition to work as nurse.”
“Abraão José Bueno (born 1977) is a Brazilian nurse and serial killer. In 2005 he was sentenced to 110 years imprisonment for the murder of four children and the attempted murder of another four.
In 2005 Bueno, working in a children’s ward, began injecting babies and older children with overdoses of sedatives, causing them to stop breathing. He would then call medical staff to resuscitate them. In the course of one month up to fifteen children are thought to have been targeted, all between the ages of one and ten. Many suffered from AIDS and leukemia.
Bueno was arrested in November 2005. On 15 May 2008 he was found guilty by judge Valéria Caldi on four counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 110 years in total.”
I quoted earlier the views of Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist at DeSales University in Centre Valley, Pa, when she said “Some hospitals don’t want the public to know they had someone like this, so they sort of shove the problem aside” with a dismissal, she said. “But then the nurse gets a job somewhere else.”
Similar conclusions were expressed by John Field, an Australian Barrister and registered nurse, who studied killer nurses for a PhD. During an interview with Australian radio, he said: –
“Virtually the only time that these nurses are detected is when there’s a pattern of unusual deaths that’s discovered. So there are a number of implications of that, but one of them is that oftentimes the killing can go on for a long time so then they have multiple victims over a number of years. They move from place to place, they have no pattern that’s picked up.
“I think what we can learn is that nurses themselves need to have a heightened awareness of it. They have to at least at first accept the possibility that this could happen. And what I found was during the whole time I was doing this study, when nurses would ask me what I was doing my PhD on and I’d say, “Nurses that murder their patients”. And they’d say, “Oh, you mean euthanasia, you know, putting people out of their misery”.
“And I’d say, “No, I mean people who are murdering their patients, that are actually doing it with malice and forethought, that are intentionally killing them for no good reason and sometimes when they’re healthy.” And they’d be astonished. They couldn’t believe that a nurse would do such a thing. And I think that’s part of the problem is that it’s so hard to contemplate that that would be the case, it’s such a foreign concept that it would be almost impossible to suspect your colleague of doing that.”
Interviewer: “And you found that even in the response of some hospitals in these cases that quite often they simply moved that nurse on if there were some suspicions, which only opened up the possibility of them doing it somewhere else?”
“ That’s right. Now the practice of permitting people who were suspected or considered to be possibly be killing patients, just moving them on, probably isn’t a satisfactory way of dealing with it. And the fact that those people then went on to have long killing careers, sometimes 16 or more years, suggests that’s a very poor practice.”
In Part 2 of ‘Lights Out – and the Dressing-Up Box: Killer Nurses – and Failed Governance’ – we will be considering some of the evidence that was available in 1999 – and we will be asking these questions:
Was that evidence pursued properly?
Was the methodology of the ‘Phase 1 investigation’ competent?
Is the claim by the Jersey authorities to the effect that “the investigation was thorough enough to dismiss any realistic concerns, so there was no need to trouble the witnesses by interviewing them” – credible? Even faintly?
The examination of those questions does not make pleasant reading.