Nurse found guilty of murdering four elderly women who were left in his care

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An "arrogant and cunning" male nurse who killed vulnerable elderly patients in his care was convicted of multiple murder yesterday.

Colin Norris, 32, did not react when the jury returned guilty verdicts and he was led away from the dock.

The staff nurse, who had confessed to a profound dislike of "geriatric patients", murdered four women and attempted to kill another while he worked at two Leeds hospitals in 2002. He claimed he was simply unlucky but it emerged he had given each one an overdose of the diabetes drug insulin.

After a 19-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the jury took almost four days to convict Norris, from Glasgow, by an 11-1 majority.

Suspicions were first raised when Norris predicted the death of 86-year-old Ethel Hall, who slipped into a hypoglycaemic coma during his shift in December 2002. West Yorkshire Police were called to investigate after a blood sample showed about 12 times the normal level of insulin in Mrs Hall's blood.

Officers then began looking into other deaths that had taken place when Norris was working at Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital in the city. Police found three other non-diabetics – Doris Ludlam, 80; Bridget Bourke, 88, and Irene Crooks, 79 – had died from insulin overdoses that year.

A fifth patient, Vera Wilby, 90, recovered from an unexpected hypoglycaemic attack.

After the verdict, Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Gregg said: "What has shone through during this investigation and trial is the absolute dedication of nursing and medical professionals. Colin Norris is an exception to that.

"While others around him were duly caring for patients, he was looking for opportunities to kill.

"He has presented himself to police during interview and the court during the trial as an extremely arrogant individual who has not shown the slightest degree of remorse or emotion for what he has done. Why he chose to do what he did is only known to him but it is clear all his victims were frail, elderly ladies who were vulnerable in his care.

"Norris is not only a dangerous criminal but cunning in his actions, choosing times to commit his crimes carefully, either early in the morning or at weekends when he knew senior and specialist staff were not routinely on duty."

He added: "Within a six-month period, Norris murdered four women and attempted to murder another. His confidence was growing to such an extent he clearly felt he could kill with impunity."

The court heard Norris's victims had all come in for hip operations and suffered from hypoglycaemia four to 12 days after surgery. Each was in poor health and could be regarded as a "burden to nursing staff", Robert Smith QC, for the prosecution, said.

The victims' families said yesterday: "We are pleased with the verdict, which brings to an end a lengthy investigation which has been like a black cloud hanging over us for five long years. Our relatives went into hospital to receive treatment and recover.

"Due to the actions of this man, a person from whom they should have received care and been able to trust, they passed away. He cut short their lives and their precious time with their children and grandchildren."

Norris will be sentenced today by Mr Justice Griffith Williams, who will decide the terms of a life sentence.