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January 18, 2022

Ballina nursing home killer jailed for 27 years

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Ballina nursing home killer Megan Haines. Photo Facebook
Ballina nursing home killer Megan Haines. Photo Facebook

UPDATE:  A former nurse has been jailed for at least 27 years for murdering two residents at a Ballina aged-care facility by injecting them with lethal doses of insulin.

Megan Haines, 49, was found to have murdered Marie Darragh, 82, and Isabella Spencer, 77, in May 2014 at Ballina’s St Andrews Village, after learning they had made complaints about her.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Peter Garling described the murders as “particularly serious”, noting the vulnerability of the victims and the registered nurse’s significant breach of trust.

Haines had previously been suspended after complaints about her in Victoria and had only recently started work at Ballina while she was subject to reporting conditions.

The judge said Ms Darragh had complained about Haines refusing to give her a cream to soothe an itch, while Ms Spencer said she had refused to help her reach the toilet.

Hours after learning of the complaints, Haines went into the medication room between midnight and 1am, removed two syringes, drew up two injections of insulin, and administered them to the women, probably as they slept.

In jailing her for a maximum of 36 years, the judge described her offences as “deliberate and calculating”, and a flagrant abuse of her power.

Outside court, Ms Spencer’s brother Donald said he was “over the moon” about the sentence.

‘I knew I would lose my sister sooner or later, but not in those circumstances,’ he said.

 

A former nurse is due to be sentenced for murdering two residents at a Ballina aged-care facility by injecting them with insulin.

Megan Haines, 49, was found guilty of murdering Marie Darragh, 82, and Isabella Spencer, 77, in May 2014 at Ballina’s St Andrews Village on the NSW north coast.

Haines had learnt of complaints about her refusals to help Ms Spencer reach the toilet and to give a cream to Ms Darragh to soothe an itch
The Crown submitted that Haines decided to “eliminate” the cause of the complaints as they were potentially career-ending given her prior suspensions.

Justice Peter Garling is expected to sentence her on Friday in the NSW Supreme Court.


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