Megan Jean Haines
Megan Jean Haines Contributed

'There is no twist' to nursing home murders: prosecutor

SOMETIMES the most obvious suspect in a murder investigation is, in fact, the killer - and no last-minute Hollywood-style plot twist should be expected.

That was the message Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell delivered to the jury as he summed up his evidence against accused double-murderer Megan Jean Haines.

After more than two weeks of evidence, it is up to the jury to decide whether the former Ballina nursing home worker administered fatal insulin doses to elderly residents Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer because they had made complaints against her behaviour as a nurse.

Mr Campbell said society had become used to the idea that murder cases would not be as clear-cut as they appeared - that since it would have been clear suspicion would immediately fall on Ms Haines, she would not have committed such a heinous crime.

He put the phenomenon down to the prevalence of television crime shows conditioning the public to believe there would always be a plot twist.

"But those are, of course, shows designed to keep us entertained, to keep us guessing, to keep us in suspense," he said.

"There is no twist. Do not look for a twist that simply does not exist," he said.

Police allege Ms Haines injected the two women with insulin about 1am on May 10, 2014, using partially-emptied vials of the drug taken from St Andrew's nursing home's locked medication room - a room to which only she had clearance to access, as the sole registered nurse on shift that night.

They claim she then discarded two empty vials - or ampoules, as they are known - in the used sharps bin in another locked medication room in the centre's hostel, away from the Dianella ward where Ms Darragh and Ms Spencer lived.

Police searched the bins as part of their murder investigation and found the vials in the bin.

Mr Campbell told the jury only one St Andrews resident, Ted Capewell, used the specific Mixtard 30/70 insulin found in the bin - and a stocktake revealed his partially used ampoules had gone missing from the locked medication room in the Dianella ward.

Twice Ms Haines told care worker Marlene Ridgeway not to check on Ms Spencer during the night because she was "fine", Mr Campbell said, and she did not administer her prescribed antibiotics at 6am the day she died. He suggested she did so purposely so she would not have to raise the alarm about Ms Spencer's rapidly deteriorating health.

Defence barrister Troy Edwards hadn't given his closing address by deadline.


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