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Jury considers murder trial verdict

28 February, 2008  

A jury in the trial of a 32-year-old nurse accused of murdering four elderly patients has been sent out to consider its verdict.

Staff Nurse Colin Norris, from Glasgow, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ethel Hall, 86, from Leeds; Doris Ludlam, 80, from Pudsey, West Yorkshire; Bridget Bourke, 88, from Leeds, and Irene Crookes, 79, from Leeds, by giving them large doses of the diabetes drug insulin.

At Newcastle Crown Court, Norris is also charged with attempting to murder Vera Wilby, 90, from Leeds.

After suspicions were raised, police were alerted and looked into other deaths of nondiabetics who suffered hypoglycaemic comas while Norris was working at the Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital.

The prosecution alleged the deaths featured “remarkably common facts” as each of the women were in poor health following hip fractures and could be considered a burden to nursing staff.

But William Harbage QC said his client has never been seen in suspicious circumstances with a vial or syringe of insulin, and that all the evidence is circumstantial, adding that the prosecution can provide no motive for the alleged murders.

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