Nursing home murders: Another assault confirmed

FRONTING THE MEDIA: Pip Carter, CEO of St Andrews village in Ballina, addresses the national media over the police investigation of two deaths at the nursing home.
FRONTING THE MEDIA: Pip Carter, CEO of St Andrews village in Ballina, addresses the national media over the police investigation of two deaths at the nursing home. Doug Eaton

ON THE same night two elderly women were murdered at Ballina's St Andrews Nursing Home an even older resident was lucky to survive an assault.

A State Crime Command spokesman said an 88-year-old woman who was assaulted at the nursing home on May 10, was assisting detectives attached to Strike Force Odimi with their enquiries.

Marie Darragh, 77, and 82-year-old Isobella Spencer were both found unconscious in their beds on the same day.

They were pronounced deceased by paramedics and police launched an investigation.

St Andrews Nursing Home CEO Pip Carter yesterday confirmed a female resident of the home was "briefly admitted to hospital about the same time" as the women died.

Mr Carter said the resident had since returned to live at St Andrews. Police believe a nursing home staff member could be the killer and they are looking closely at the actions of staff on the night.

The state Crime Command spokesman said police were awaiting the results of further forensic testing to determine the cause of their death. The forensic testing is believed to be to determine if the women died as a result of medication they were given.

"Police would be looking to lay charges of the deaths of the two women and the assault," the spokesman said.


Third person assaulted?

CEO of St Andrew's Village aged-care facility in Ballina, Pip Carter, wouldn't confirm if a third person had been assaulted at the nursing home last month.

He was speaking after it was announced that the unexpected deaths of two women at the home in May were being treated as suspicious by police.

Mr Carter also would not confirm if any staff member under suspicion was still employed at the home.

"This is a police investigation," he said repeatedly to questioning.

He said he could "assure" the community that incidents like these would not happen again.

But he would not expand on how that assurance could be made, except in saying the police backed up that assurance.

On May 10, nursing home staff called police and paramedics after finding the two women, Isobella Spencer, 77, and Marie Darragh, 82, unconscious in their beds.

Mr Carter said staff and residents at the home have been "deeply distressed" by the two deaths, and the subsequent speculation in the community about the incidents.

He said, in a nursing home, staff were able to identify those who were nearing death, and the deaths of the two women were reported to police because they were "unexpected".

"We wanted to do the right thing by the relatives, so we brought the police in," he said. "The relatives have been very supportive.

"We have done the right thing. We are a great organisation and I am proud of our staff and our board."

Topics:  editors picks homicide nursing home murders police

Turtle release turns into shark net debate

POINT OF VIEW: Marine ecologist Professor Daniel Bucher  speaks against shark nets at a rally in Ballina.

Kimba the turtle was released on Sunday

Young and old soak up North Coast National

Chris Smith shows off his Selkirk Rex at North Coast National.

North Coast National's final day for 2016

HISTORY: Friendly helpers made shopping a treat

FAMILY BUSINESS: Dave Clark's store, River Street, Ballina, in the 1930s.

It used to be a great day's outing to 'go to town for the day

Local Partners

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track