Insulin vial 'went missing' before nursing home deaths

Suspected murder victim Marie Darragh with daughter Charli Darragh-Matterson at St Andrew's nursing home in Ballina.
Suspected murder victim Marie Darragh with daughter Charli Darragh-Matterson at St Andrew's nursing home in Ballina.

ACCUSED murderer Megan Jean Haines's trial has heard a partially used vial of insulin went missing from the St Andrew's aged care centre around the same time two residents died.

Registered nurse Jillian Pringle, appearing by video link from Lismore, told Sydney Supreme Court she had labelled and moved a partly emptied insulin cartridge to a fridge in the centre's medication room because she "got fed up with seeing it on the bench".

"It stayed on a green tray on the bench, then I happened to be tidying up one day and I thought, 'He's not here, he's not going to need it, so I put it back in the fridge'," she said.

Ms Pringle said she put the vial, about one-third full, in a resealable bag with resident Ted Capewell's name on it and placed it on top of boxes of unused insulin in the fridge.

The court heard Ms Pringle worked at the centre on May 11, 2014, the day after residents Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer died.

Nurse Dawn Thompson told her on that day Mr Capewell's insulin was missing.

Ms Pringle said she checked the fridge and confirmed it was not there.

Another registered nurse, Julie White, appeared in person at King St Courthouse in Sydney.

She testified she and police conducted a stocktake of drugs kept at the nursing home after the women died from suspected insulin overdose.

The jury was shown photos of the medication room near where both women lived.

Ms White said only three residents were prescribed insulin - all of the diabetes drug could be accounted for in one resident's case; for another there was the possible loss of two cartridges over a 15-month period.

She said the missing medication might be attributed to a cartridge being dropped or broken.

Insulin was not a controlled drug so stringent bookkeeping was not required by law, Ms White added.

"We weren't counting them so it wouldn't be documented anywhere that one was dropped," she said.

Ms White said the third resident, Mr Capewell, had recently returned from hospital and brought his own insulin to the centre when the audit was conducted.

She said staff did not know how many cartridges he brought with him, so checking his paperwork would not reveal how much, if any, was missing.

More witnesses are expected to give evidence in person and via video link from Lismore as the case continues.


Topics:  ballina court insulin isabella spencer jillian pringle marie darragh megan haines megan jean haines murder nursing home murders st andrew's

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