St Andrews Village nursing home in Ballina.
St Andrews Village nursing home in Ballina. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Nursing home deaths: Complaints Haines' 'worst nightmare'

CROWN Prosecutor Brendan Campbell yesterday accused former nurse Megan Haines of administering fatal insulin overdoses to two aged care centre residents in Ballina.

The double-murder trial's evidence has come to an end after more than a fortnight at Sydney Supreme Court, with jurors told to expect the prosecution and defence's final remarks on Tuesday.

Mr Campbell referred to a police-recorded phone conversation between Ms Haines and a man called "Herman" on May 16, 2014, six days after Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer's deaths at the St Andrew's nursing home.

Ms Haines told Herman police had searched her home and said residents had been given the wrong medication.

But Mr Campbell said police had not told Ms Haines the women had been given the wrong drugs. Nor had she been told during an interview with nursing home staff three days earlier - an interview about complaints the now-dead residents had made against her.

Mr Campbell said nursing home staff had acted during the interview like the elderly women were still alive and well.

"I suggest you were saying to Herman about the wrong medication because you knew that Ms Spencer and Ms Darragh had been given the wrong medication," Mr Campbell said.

"Because you ... administered them with the wrong medication, and that medication was insulin."

Softly spoken with a South African accent, Ms Haines said she "assumed it was medication because that's what they were looking for".

Police had been searching for drugs including temazepam, oxazepam, panadeine forte and diazepam, a search warrant revealed.

Upon further questioning, Ms Haines said: "I thought those medications had killed the ladies, because that's what was on the search warrant."

Mr Campbell suggested having complaints made against her was Ms Haines's "worst nightmare" and would result in suspension or de-registration as a nurse.

"You had access to the locked medication room... in that room was what you thought was a murder weapon which could not be detected," he said.

Mr Campbell said Ms Darragh was due to receive medication at 6am, but it did not happen.

He also said Ms Haines directed care service employee Marlene Ridgeway not to check in on the elderly resident because she did not want her to "raise the alarm".

Ms Haines repeatedly denied the claims, saying "that's not true".

- APN NEWSDESK



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