News

Patients died after complaining about nurse, court hears

ACCUSED OF MURDER: Former nurse Megan Jean Haines is accused of murdering two residents at a Ballina nursing home. Photo contributed
ACCUSED OF MURDER: Former nurse Megan Jean Haines is accused of murdering two residents at a Ballina nursing home. Photo contributed

UPDATE, 3.45pm: JURORS have been told accused murderer Megan Jean Haines had only worked six shifts at St Andrew's nursing home when two residents died from suspected insulin overdose.

A possible eight-week trial has just begun with a 12-juror panel tasked with determining whether Haines murdered Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer after they had made complaints about her care.

Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell told Sydney Supreme Court on Monday Haines had a history of complaints from patients since she began working as a registered nurse in Australia in 2001.

"You will hear that her registration was conditional - as a result of disciplinary hearings she had a condition that she had to submit to satisfactory reports every six months to the regulatory body," he said.

Mr Campbell said Haines was on her sixth shift at St Andrew's on the night two residents died in May 2014.

"Within that time she had accumulated a number of complaints from residents," he said.

"(Former director of care) Wendy Turner spoke to the accused and advised her that there were complaints from three residents and that they would have a meeting about that the next Tuesday.

"And she reminded the accused of the reporting conditions to AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).

"The next morning, members of the jury, two of those residents that had complained were dead."

Mr Campbell said Ms Darragh, 82, and Ms Spencer, 77, were found in comatose states with only very faint pulses after Haines had finished her shift.

He said staff initially suspected both women had died from either heart attack or stroke.

Ms Spencer had previously suffered a severe stroke that left her with dense left-side paralysis, he said.

But the court heard blood tests revealed the two women had elevated levels of insulin, causing them to "go into hyperglycaemic shock, coma and death".

Mr Campbell said neither woman had been prescribed insulin and alleged they were administered "a drug they did not require, with the intention of killing them".

He added police intercepted a call between Haines and a person called "Herman" on May 16 in which she allegedly said things implying she knew the women had been given the wrong drugs.

He said the message had been sent before experts and toxicology tests had determined insulin overdose was the cause of death.

Haines had "demonstrated knowledge that she could not have known, except that she was the killer", he said.

Mr Campbell outlined a series of complaints that had followed Haines since she arrived from South Africa and started working as a registered nurse in Victoria.

The allegations related to inadequate nursing care and, once, a text message in which she allegedly threatened to access confidential patient information, Mr Campbell said.

He said Haines was the only registered nurse working on the night the two women died, and she was the only one of five staff on shift whose staff swipe card gave her access to the facility's medication rooms.

But he said a lightning strike had damaged the system and, while otherwise functional, had not recorded which swipe card had opened any particular door.

CCTV allowed staff to monitor entry points to the facility but it did not record the footage.

Both Ms Spencer and Ms Darragh had medical issues but their conditions had been considered stable at their last check-ups, the court heard.

Mr Campbell said Ms Darragh, an avid Brisbane Broncos supporter, watched rugby league on TV the night she died.

Justice Peter Garling has sent the jury to nominate a foreperson during an adjournment, with defence barrister Troy Edwards to make his opening remarks when the court resumes.

 

ORIGINAL STORY: ACCUSED Ballina nursing home murderer Megan Jean Haines will today face Sydney Supreme Court.

Potential jurors will soon be ushered into the King Street Courthouse in groups, where the names of witnesses, police, lawyers and Haines will be read out.

Anyone with prior knowledge of someone involved in the case will have to tell the judge so they can be dismissed.

Numbers will then be drawn from a ballot to determine which remaining jurors will be sworn in.

Today's trial could last as long as eight weeks, with the jury having to determine whether Haines is guilty of murdering Ballina women Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer in May 2014.

Topics:  ballina editors picks megan haines murder st andrews nursing home



Where to find the best coffee

COFFEE snobbery is at an all-time high in Australia with the hipster movement carving a whole new breed of caffeine-loving consumers.

10 best street art spots to take an Insta selfie

Send yourself on a scavenger hunt around Brisbane to discover the incredible street art.

GET your phone and selfie-stick ready!

Theatre royalty graces Brisbane stage

Don't miss Charles Edwards in this incredible theatre performance.

WHEN acting royalty comes to town, you sit up and take notice.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Fire crews battling blaze at council building

Emergency Services, QFES, Fire, Fire truck, Fire & Rescue
Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

Multiple fire crews are battling the blaze reported about 3.45pm

Warwick women speak at inspiring local event

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Warwick consultant Kathryn Walton, and Catherine Travers from Condamine Headwaters, are jointly hosting the Warwick Women Mentors dinner at Belle Vue Cafe next Friday.

Warwick Women Mentors Dinner set to inspire young professionals

DV laws 'not working'

ENDING VIOLENCE: Southern Downs Regional Council will be lodging a submission to the State Government to help bolster Queensland laws to better protect victims and reprimand perpetrators of domestic violence.

Council adds its support to amendment bill

Local Partners

St Mary's students sing with music star

The excitement was palpable inside St Mary's Catholic Parish where hundreds of primary school students sung a song with country music star writer Josh Arnold.


Warwick women speak at inspiring local event

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Warwick consultant Kathryn Walton, and Catherine Travers from Condamine Headwaters, are jointly hosting the Warwick Women Mentors dinner at Belle Vue Cafe next Friday.

Warwick Women Mentors Dinner set to inspire young professionals

Help celebrate Aboriginal heritage

PROUD IDENTITY: Sharman Parsons with father David Parsons at the Bunya Festival stall during Jumpers and Jazz.

Head along to Maryvale for the Bunya Festival

Jimmy Kimmel opens up about Oscars stuff-up

Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel gives his take on the epic Oscars envelope error: “It was the weirdest TV finale since ‘Lost’”

Groom threatens to walk out of Married At First Sight

Andrew is just about done with his “horrible” relationship with Cheryl.

ANOTHER explosive breakup is looming after a disastrous home visit.

Eisteddfod planning begins

The Severnlea students  at the 2016 Border District Eisteddfod .

Planning has begun for the Border District Eisteddfod

'I wasn't naked': Blanca Blanco speaks out

Blanca Blanco arriving at the 89th Academy Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSource:AAP

"It was a nude colour, it matches my skin, so I wasn’t naked.''

‘IT’S A LITTLE SAD’: Trump makes Oscars bungle all about him

US President Donald Trump claims Hollywood's elite were too busy mocking him to pay attention on Oscars night.

Donald Trump ‘explains’ Oscars stuff up.

Lama and Sarah’s ‘epic’ MKR fail

My Kitchen Rules contestants Lama and Sarah.

Tempers flare as Lebanese feast turns into an epic fail.

Oscars 2017: How did biggest award get stuffed up?

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

'Guys in headsets starting buzzing around. They took the envelope.'

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!