Care home boss Rachel Baker cleared of murdering residents

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The Independent Online

Former care home manager Rachel Baker was today found not guilty of murdering two of her elderly residents.

Baker, 44, was accused of murdering Frances Hay and Lucy Cox at Parkfields Residential Care Home in Butleigh, Somerset.



She was cleared of the murder charges and an attempted murder charge involving Mrs Hay by a jury at Bristol Crown Court today.



But the panel was continuing to consider alternative manslaughter charges in both cases.



The jury returned the not guilty verdicts after deliberating for more than 24 hours.



Baker, 44, is alleged to have killed Mrs Hay, 85, and Mrs Cox, 97, with a lethal dose of medication while she was abusing controlled drugs.



The registered nurse has admitted feeding her addiction by stealing prescribed and controlled substances from residents at the care home.



But Baker, of Boundary Way, Glastonbury, denies killing the two women.



She admitted 10 counts of possessing class A and C drugs, and one of perverting the course of justice.



The jury retired to consider its verdicts on March 26 and resumed its deliberations yesterday after a six-day break over Easter.



Opening the case in January, prosecutor David Fisher said: "Rachel Baker was, by her own admission, regularly taking prescribed drugs, which must have had a substantial effect on her character and conduct.



"She, for a variety of bizarre and perverted reasons, may have had a desire to control the terminal destiny of some of her residents."



Care assistant Kathy Slade, who worked with Baker, gave evidence, saying she overheard her boss ask Mrs Hay if she wanted to "end it all" two days before she died.



In her evidence, Baker accepted taking the medication amid the "stress, pain and emotional turmoil" of running the home.



But she denied that her "diverting" of residents' drugs ever affected their care.



Baker also revealed feeling "useless" after the death of one resident, Fred Green.