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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Nursing home deaths: arrested nurse named

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Police have named the woman allegedly responsible for the deaths of two women in Ballina’s St Andrews nursing home, claimed a motive for the killings and described how they believe they were carried out.

Two nursing home patients died from fatal doses of insulin and another was left hospitalised after complaints were made about a registered nurse at the home, police allege.

Marie Darragh, 82, and Isobella Spencer, 77, were found unconscious in their beds on May 10 and died a short time later.

Police allege 46-year-old Megan Haines, a nurse at the St Andrews Village Aged Cared facility, administered Ms Darragh and Ms Spencer fatal doses of insulin in the middle of the night.

Another aged care resident, an 88-year-old, was also assaulted.

Police allege the 88-year-old woke in the middle of the night to find Ms Haines trying to give her ‘unscheduled medication’.

She resigned her position two days later and moved to Seaspray in Victoria, where she was arrested on Monday.

Ms Haines was due to arrive in Sydney on Tuesday night with homicide detectives.

Homicide squad boss Detective Superintendent Mick Willing said she would be charged with two counts of murder and assault.

Police are alleging the three victims all made complaints about her.

Det Supt Willing said the nurse was on registered days off after the nursing home deaths and then handed in her resignation.

‘The woman, following the deaths of the two elderly residents, left the nursing home on her own accord and moved to Seaspray,’ Det Supt Willing said.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court, where she appeared on Tuesday to be extradited to NSW, heard she had never been in police custody before and was taking medication for severe depression.

Following the arrest, St Andrews Aged Care CEO Pip Carter said the news was devastating.

‘I want to reassure residents and the community that the safety and care of St Andrews’ residents always has been and always will be a priority,’ she said.

According to the Australian practitioners’ registry, Ms Haines was first registered as a nurse in 2012.

– with AAP

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