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No evidence from deaths trial nurse

Beverley Allitt, the nurse accused of murdering four children and attempting to murder 11 other people, will not give evidence in her own defence, a court was told yesterday.

James Hunt QC, for the defence, told the jury at Nottingham Crown Court that he did not propose to call her to the witness box. She had expressed the wish not to give evidence and would not want to even if she were fit enough to do so, he said.

The trial continues in her absence. Mr Hunt said it remained the view of her doctors and Ms Allitt that she was still too weak to attend court. Her legal representatives were satisfied she was fit enough to give and to receive instructions. She still had severe symptoms of anorexia nervosa although her condition was stable and her body weight was described as being now at a safe minimum level.

Mr Justice Latham said that he would not continue with the trial in Ms Allitt's absence if he had the slightest doubt that her physical condition was affecting the proper presentation of her defence.

Ms Allitt, 24, of Corby Glen, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, has denied murdering four children in her care at the Grantham and Kesteven General Hospital in 1991, and attempting to murder nine other child patients, the 15-year-old brother of her flatmate and a woman, 79. She has also denied 11 alternative charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The case continues today.