Nurse Guilty of Killing Eight in Canadian Nursing Homes

Marcia Frellick

June 05, 2017

A former nurse has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of eight nursing home residents in Ontario, Canada, the Associated Press reports.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, also pleaded guilty June 1 to four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault in a Woodstock, Ontario, courtroom.

She told the judge that as she was working as a registered nurse between 2007 and 2014 she injected the victims with insulin without medical reason.

Convicted nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer [Source: Jesse Winter/Toronto Star/Getty Images]

In a taped interview with a Toronto police officer conducted on October 5, 2016, which was made public and posted to media websites, Wettlaufer said about one of the murders, "I knew the difference between right and wrong, but I thought this was something God, or whoever, wanted me to do it. But I was starting at that point to doubt that it was God."

She also described some of the victims as "feisty" and hard to handle and she reported feeling a "red surge" come over her before each killing.

The AP reported that she had been a registered nurse from August 1995 until she resigned in September 30, 2016.

The incidents reportedly occurred in three Ontario long-term care facilities and at a private home. According to a CBC report, Wettlaufer worked at homes in the Ontario communities of Woodstock, Paris, and London, and often was in charge of the nightshifts.

The eight people killed were Maurice Granat, 84; Arpad Horvath, 75; Helen Matheson, 95; Gladys Millard, 87; Maureen Pickering, 79; James Silcox, 84; Helen Young, 90; and Mary Zurawinski, 96.

"I'm Sorry Isn't Enough"

In the taped interview, the officer asks what she would say to the families.

"What can you say to them that would matter? I'm sorry isn't enough," she says. "I should have gotten help sooner. I took something from you that was precious and was taken too soon."

The AP reported that the daughter of James Silcox, Andrea Silcox, said she was glad there would be no lengthy trial.

"I will forgive her, I have to forgive father would want that," she said. "Forget? I'll never forget what happened."

Arpad Horvath Jr, however, said about his father's death, "She took away my best friend and my hero and I can't forgive that."

Wettlaufer will be sentenced at the end of June.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) is calling for a public inquiry into abuse and deaths of older patients in Canada.

"The murder of these eight elderly residents in their long-term care facility puts a disturbing spotlight on long-term care," Wanda Morris, vice president of advocacy for CARP said in a statement the day Wettlaufer pleaded guilty. "CARP is very concerned about attitudes and behaviours towards our most vulnerable Canadians in long-term care. A public inquiry is long-overdue."

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