Killer nurse loses appeal against conviction

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A former staff nurse serving at least 30 years behind bars for the murder of four patients at two Leeds hospitals lost his appeal against conviction today.

Colin Norris was not present for the ruling by Court of Appeal judges in London.

Norris, from Egilsay Terrace, Glasgow, was jailed for life in March last year after being convicted of killing the vulnerable women in 2002 by giving them massive doses of insulin while working at Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital.

He was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of four counts of murder and one of attempted murder following a lengthy trial.

Lord Justice Aikens, sitting with two other judges, ruled today that his convictions were "safe".

He announced that the case against Norris, 33, was "very strong indeed".

When he was sentenced at the crown court, trial judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams told Norris: "You are, I have absolutely no doubt, a thoroughly evil and dangerous man."

He was convicted of killing Doris Ludlam, 80, Bridget Bourke, 88, Irene Crookes, 79, and Ethel Hall, 86.

Jurors also found him guilty of trying to kill Vera Wilby, 90.

Police began an investigation after a doctor noticed in November 2002 that Mrs Hall had slipped into a hypoglycaemic coma despite not being a diabetic.

Blood tests showed she had insulin levels 12 times the norm, and she died three weeks later.

The judges rejected both grounds of appeal which related to directions given to the jury by the trial judge.

Lord Justice Aikens said directions given by the judge "cannot validly be criticised" and there was no misdirection to the jury.

He concluded: "We reject both grounds of appeal. The case against the appellant was very strong indeed.

"We are quite satisfied that the convictions of the appellant on all five counts were safe. The appeal is dismissed."

Linda Smith, an associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, which represented the families of two of Norris's victims, said: "The families are extremely relieved that the conviction has been upheld.

"The appeal was a very distressing development in this long-running case which has been hugely traumatic for the families involved.

"They have welcomed the decision announced today and are pleased it was given before Christmas, which is an emotional and family-orientated time.

"In the case of Doris Ludlam, her devastated widower is now in a nursing home and the case being dragged through the courts again is something he and the family could well do without.

"They were robbed of their mother and wife by a callous killing and ever since have been trying to rebuild their lives and move on as best they can."