Nurse who murdered 2 elderly Australians jailed for 36 years

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2016 9:18 PM

SYDNEY (AP) — A nurse at an Australian nursing home who gave lethal insulin injections to two elderly residents who had complained about her was sentenced on Friday to 36 years in prison, the second such case in less than a week.

Megan Haines, 49, was sentenced in the New South Wales state Supreme Court for murdering Marie Darragh, 82, and Isabella Spencer, 77, at St. Andrew's Village at Ballina in May 2014. She must serve at least 27 years before she is eligible for parole.

The sentencing comes after a staff member at another New South Wales nursing home was sentenced this week to 40 years in prison for murdering two elderly residents and attempting to murder a third with insulin injections.

In sentencing Haines on Friday, Justice Peter Garling described the murders as "deliberate and calculating," and a flagrant abuse of power.

Haines was convicted by a jury in November after pleading not guilty.

Haines had previously been suspended from working as a nurse after complaints about her conduct in Victoria state and had only recently started work at Ballina when she heard that the victims had complained about her.

The judge said Darragh had complained that Haines refused to give her a cream to soothe an itch. Spencer said Haine had refused to help her reach a toilet.

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Hours after learning of the complaints, Haines injected the women after midnight, probably as they slept, the judge said.

On Tuesday, Justice Robert Allan Hulme sentenced Garry Steven Davis, 29, for injecting three nursing home residents with large doses of insulin. No motive was given.

Davis's crimes were committed at Wallsend, 470 kilometers (300 miles) from Ballina and seven months before Haines' murders.

Davis must serve 30 years before he is eligible for parole.