Thrill seeking nurse guilty of murder

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The Independent Online

A thrill-seeking nurse was today found guilty of murdering two patients by injecting them with lethal doses of drugs.

Benjamin Geen, 25, preyed on patients shortly after they were admitted to the accident and emergency department of the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

He injected his victims with potentially deadly unprescribed drugs to stop them breathing so he could "enjoy the excitement" of helping to revive them.

Today a jury at Oxford Crown Court found Geen, of Banbury, guilty of two charges of murder.

Geen was also convicted of 15 counts of grievous bodily harm against patients.

He murdered David Onley, 75, from Deddington, who died on January 21, 2004, and Anthony Bateman, 66, from Banbury, who died on January 6, 2004.

Both were very ill men when they were admitted to hospital. Once Geen had intervened, they did not stand a chance.

During the two-month trial, the jury of six men and six women heard how Geen "came alive" and looked "elated" as his patients went into respiratory arrest.

Geen even "boasted" about the regular action during his shifts and told one doctor: "There is always a resuscitation when I'm on duty."

Co-ordinating nurse Anne Shea told how Geen said: "Oh no, here we go again", as Mr Bateman turned blue and began to fight for breath.

Geen used different methods to send his victims to the point of death, including insulin, muscle relaxants and sedatives, all drugs commonly used in the hospital but "deadly in the wrong hands".

Doctors were left bewildered by the unexplained respiratory failures - normally very rare events - which took place between December 2003 and February 2004.

Eventually, after an alcoholic was admitted with stomach pains and ended up in intensive care, they decided something was seriously wrong.

The drugs midazolam, a sedative, and vecuronium, a muscle relaxant, appeared in Timothy Stubbs's urine sample but doctors knew they had not prescribed them.

Over the weekend of February 6-9, senior staff at the hospital sat down with the case notes of hundreds of patients whose outcomes they felt they could not explain.

The pile was eventually whittled down to 18 cases. Benjamin Geen was the common factor in every one.

Staff at the hospital called the police and Geen was arrested as he arrived for work the next day - with a full syringe of vecuronium in his pocket.

Since then, instances of respiratory failure have virtually disappeared at the hospital.

Prosecutor Michael Austin Smith QC told the jury Geen must have known the fatal consequences of what he was doing but said that toying with patients' lives was a "price he was willing to pay in order to satisfy his perverse needs".

He said: "He must have known it but it did not stop him after Mr Bateman.

"Mr Onley died too and still it didn't stop him because other people followed on from that, culminating five people later with Mr Stubbs, who very nearly died as did so many other people.

"People were at death's door. Most were lucky - two were not.

"And on February 9 when Geen went back to work with that loaded syringe, was there somebody else who was extremely lucky that the authorities had nailed their man?"