A former nurse has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of eight nursing home residents, in one of the worst serial killer cases in Canadian history.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer also pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
The 49-year-old, who appeared in a Woodstock, Ontario, courtroom, acknowledged under questioning from the judge that she injected the eight people who died with insulin for no medical reason.
All the incidents allegedly occurred between 2007 and 2014 in three Ontario long-term care facilities where Wettlaufer worked as a registered nurse, and at a private home.
The victims were James Silcox, 84; Maurice Granat, 84; Gladys Millard, 87; Helen Matheson, 95; Mary Zurawinski, 96; Helen Young, 90; Maureen Pickering, 79, and Arpad Horvath, 75.
The attempted murder victims have been identified as Wayne Hedges, 57, Michael Priddle, 63, Sandra Towler, 77, and Beverly Bertram, 68. Court documents say Wettlaufer injected those six alleged victims with insulin. Wettlaufer was charged with aggravated assault against 87-year-old Clotilde Adriano and 90-year-old Albina Demedeiros.
The police investigation into Wettlaufer began last September after Toronto police became aware of information she had given to a psychiatric hospital in Toronto that caused them concern. She was arrested and charged in October.
Some family members of Wettlaufer’s victims broke down in the courtroom as Wettlaufer entered her pleas.
Friends and relatives of the seniors who died said earlier on Thursday that they were warned the hearing would reveal information that might be difficult for them to handle. Some, however, expressed relief that the case would come to a swift conclusion.
Andrea Silcox said before the court hearing that she was worried about what she would discover about her father’s last moments, but said she’d be grateful to avoid a lengthy trial. “I will forgive her, I have to forgive her. My father would want that,” she said. “Forget? I’ll never forget what happened.”
Arpad Horvath Jr, whose father was also among Wettlaufer’s victims, said everyone who lost a loved one will have to live with the pain forever. “She took away my best friend and my hero and I can’t forgive that,” he said.
Records from the College of Nurses of Ontario show Wettlaufer was first registered as a nurse in August 1995 but resigned on 30 September 2016, and was no longer a registered nurse.
(Previously published at The Guardian, click here for more)
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