Former nurse appears in court over nursing home deaths

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

UPDATE 3.45pm: A FORMER nurse who had been working at Ballina's St Andrews Nursing home for two months allegedly used a fatal dose of insulin to kill two elderly female residents in May.

Megan Jean Haines, 46, will face a Sydney court tomorrow charged with two counts of murder and one count of assault in relation to the deaths of two elderly female residents in May.

Marie Darragh, 82, and Isobella Spencer, 77, were found unconscious in their beds on the morning of May 10, the same day an 88-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted by Haines.

Homicide Squad commander Detective Superintendet Mick Willing said it will be alleged fatal doses of insulin killed the women.

"Detectives will be alleging she administered insulin to the 82-year-old and the 77-year-old which caused their deaths," he said.

"Will be alleging the 88-year-old woman woke during the night to discover the 46-year-old administering her unscheduled medication."

Police will allege the motivation for the murders was that both women had complained to the nursing home about Haines.

"We are alleging that two of the three victims made complaints against the 46-year-old during the course of her employment."

UPDATE 12.25pm: A NURSE arrested over the death of two residents of Ballina's St Andrews Nursing Home and the assault of another has appeared in court.

Megan Jean Haines, 46, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning at where she was met by Detectives from NSW police Homicide Squad who sought her extradition to NSW.

Haines was arrested by Victoria police at about 11am on Monday at a property in Seaspray, Victoria.

Detectives will accompany Haines when they travel back to NSW today where she will be questioned over the deaths of Isobella Spencer, 77, and Marie Darragh, 82, on May 10, and the assault of an 88-year-old woman on the same day.

It is anticipated she will be charged with two counts of murder and assault.

According to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency Haines was first registered as a nurse in Ballina on February 10, 2012.

Magistrate Duncan Reynolds granted the extradition and ordered Haines remain on medication for severe depression.


UPDATE 6.10pm: A FORMER nurse at St Andrew's nursing home in Ballina has been arrested over the suspicious deaths of two residents in May, and the assault of a third resident.

The 46-year-old woman will appear in Melbourne's Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Detectives will apply for her to be extradited to NSW, and police intend to lay charges against her in relation to the deaths and the assault.  

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. Both women died before emergency services arrived.

In a statement issued tonight, NSW Police said that officers in Victoria arrested a 46-year-old woman at a property in Seaspray, Victoria, about 11am.

She has since been transported to Melbourne, where she will remain in police custody overnight.  


UPDATE 6pm: THE 46-year-old woman who has been arrested over the Ballina nursing home murders has been identified as being a former nurse at St Andrews nursing home, where the murders took place.

She is expected to face court in the next few days.


ORIGINAL 5.40pm: REPORTS are circulating that a woman has been arrested over May's nursing home murders at St Andrews, Ballina.

Media outlets are reporting tonight that a 46-year-old woman has been arrested at a property in Seaspray, near Sale, in Victoria.

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.

To investigate the deaths police launched strike force Odimi, comprised of Sydney homicide squad detectives and Richmond Local Area Command police.

More to come.

Topics:  arrest ballina nursing home murders murder police

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