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Saturday 20 January 2018

Nurse pleads guilty to killing eight elderly patients

Elizabeth Wettlaufer appeared before a judge in the courthouse in Woodstock, Ontario
Elizabeth Wettlaufer appeared before a judge in the courthouse in Woodstock, Ontario

Ethan Lou

A nurse pleaded guilty on Thursday to using drugs to kill eight elderly patients in long-term care facilities over seven years, the Crown prosecutor said.

Canadian Elizabeth Wettlaufer was accused of killing five women and three men in the Ontario towns of Woodstock and London between 2007 and 2014. The dead ranged in age from 75 to 96.

The prosecutor did not provide additional details when he confirmed the plea in an email. Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General said it was not immediately able offer details on the case.

Canadian media at the provincial courthouse in Woodstock, Ontario, reported Wettlaufer admitted in court that she fatally injected the victims with insulin for no medical reasons.

Wettlaufer, whose motive is unclear, pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder, four other counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

She could face life in prison when sentenced at a later date.

The advocacy group CARP, formerly known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, on Thursday called for a public inquiry into the abuse of long-term care residents in Canada, saying the Wettlaufer case was part of a "growing crisis."

"For years, we’ve heard stories about residents who suffered or die to neglect, abuse and violence in facilities meant to be providing care,” said Wanda Morris, vice-president of advocacy for CARP.

Homicide cases with so many victims are uncommon in Canada. The Wettlaufer case is the largest in Ontario since 2006, when five men were charged with murdering eight biker gang members.

They were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.


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