News

Nurse said insulin overdose 'won't leave mark', 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

ACCUSED murderer Megan Jean Haines once allegedly told a boyfriend she "knew how to kill a person without being detected" by injecting them with insulin, a jury has heard.

The former aged care nurse wore a black suit jacket with her hair tied in a tight bun as she faced her first day of trial for the alleged Ballina murders of St Andrew's nursing home residents Isabella Spencer and Marie Darragh in 2014.

Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell told Sydney Supreme Court on Monday a former boyfriend would be called to give evidence about a conversation he allegedly had with Haines while watching a crime show on television in 2009.

Mr Campbell said Haines had told her former partner the criminals on the "CSI-type" show were "all stupid" and she knew how to kill somebody and get away with it.

"It's easy," she allegedly continued.

"Insulin. Just inject them with insulin."

When pressed on why it would not be detected, Haines allegedly said: "Because the body continues to metabolise the insulin so it looks like natural causes" and "if you are good at injections, it won't even leave a mark".

Ms Darragh and Ms Spencer were found in comatose states with elevated insulin levels the morning they died.

Ms Haines has pleaded not guilty to murdering the two women.

The 12-juror panel was told Haines had only worked six shifts at St Andrew's nursing home when the two residents died.

Mr Campbell said Haines had a history of complaints from patients since she began working as a registered nurse in Australia in 2001.

She 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 staff initially suspected Ms Darragh, 82, and Ms Spencer, 77, 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".

Defence barrister Troy Edwards said his client did not dispute insulin injections had killed both women but she denied administering insulin injections to either of them.

He questioned whether Haines had motive or was even aware Ms Darragh and Ms Spencer had made complaints about her.

A third woman had also made a complaint against Haines but had been found alive and well the next day, Mr Edwards said.

He added the alleged conversation years earlier with his client's boyfriend about how to get away with murder had little relevance.

Mr Edwards said he would ask the jury to decide whether it was just "about the circumstances of the television show" she was watching.

Mr Campbell said the court would hear evidence about a phone call police intercepted between Haines and a person called "Herman" on May 16 in which she allegedly implied 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 also 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, it 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.

Sydney-based Detective Sergeant Sergeant Gunn, who led the police investigation, was briefly called on to give evidence before the matter was adjourned.

The possible eight-week trial will resume at 10am on Tuesday.

 

ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  ballina nursing home murders marie darragh megan haines megan jean haines murder st andrew's supreme court



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Gladstone anti-vaxxers rally in silent protest

The Gladstone anti-vaxxers rallied at Lady Nelson Park on Sunday.

'Forced': Gladstone anti-vaxxers protest for freedom of choice.

Reconciliation advocates look to the future

IMPORTANT DAY: Michelle Cooke, Oscar, 8 months, and Chris Condon at the National Reconciliation Week celebrations at Barney Point on the weekend marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

Focus on things to come 50 years after 1967 referendum.

A 'catastrophic failure' let black lung go on: inquiry

Ipswich man Percy Verrall was diagnosed with black lung disease in 2015.

Scathing report slams mine health system

Local Partners

Battle raging over money to fund CQ roads

Funding for CQ's road upgrades is being ripped out of the region leaving our projects languishing at the starting line says QLD Minister.


Win a $1000

GROCERY GIFT CARD!
Learn More

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

IT’S been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas. Makes you feel old, doesn’t it?

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

Sally Skelton and Bojesse Pigram pictured after their battle performance on The Voice.

Sunshine Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt releases debut album in concert

Caitlyn Shadbolt has launched her debut album in a concert at the Gympie Civic Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Caitlyn Shadbolt releases debut album in Gympie concert

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!