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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Nurse 'killed colleague after drugging her'
Kevin Cobb
Kevin Cobb denies manslaughter and sexual assaults
A male nurse killed a colleague after drugging her so he could rape her, a court was told.

Susan Annis, 31, stopped breathing after the failed sex attack in the nurses' quarters of the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, in 1996, a jury at the Old Bailey heard.

On four occasions, he secretly administered Midazolam to young women

Victor Temple QC
Kevin Cobb was arrested two years later when a woman complained she had been "drugged and raped" in a hospital casualty department, Victor Temple QC said.

Mr Cobb, 38, of Yateley, Hampshire, denies a total of 11 charges including the manslaughter of Miss Annis, a nursing sister at Crawley Hospital, West Sussex, and administering the "stupefying" drug Midazolam with intent to rape or indecently assault her.

He also denies a further six charges of administering the drug with intent and two of rape.

Mr Temple alleged that Mr Cobb had also attacked two other women at the Accident and Emergency department of St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey, over a four-week period.

'Coma-like state'

Each time, he used the sedative Midazolam, used in minor surgery and readily available in A&E departments, to put the women into a coma-like state from which they recovered with little or no memory of what had happened, he said.

Mr Temple said that Midazolam was a potentially dangerous drug because of side-effects including causing breathing difficulties - especially when taken with alcohol.

He added: "On four occasions, he secretly administered Midazolam to young women. His underlying reason was one of sexual gratification."

He said Mr Cobb and Miss Annis were among nurses taking part in a child nursing course at the Brompton Hospital, in November 1996.

Her room in the hospital was opposite Mr Cobb's and on the night she died, the two of them took a take-away and some beer to his room.

The male nurse told police that Miss Annis drank cider and passed out. He woke her after half an hour and she went to her own room.

Susan Annis
Susan Annis had an adverse reaction to the drug in her body
Later, in the early hours of the 26th, he was concerned and found her, he said, adding that he then called for help.

A post-mortem showed she had the drug and alcohol in her body and that she suffered from a mild heart condition which caused her to have an adverse reaction to the drug.

An inquest at the time was unable to establish how she had come to have Midazolam in her body.

But Mr Temple told the jury: "This defendant had secretly introduced Midazolam into Miss Annis's cider in anticipation of her being comatosed and a sexual assault in the shape of rape or indecent assault.

The inquiry was re-opened after Mr Cobb's arrest in January last year, after a 33-year-old woman complained she had been raped by him in A&E at St Peter's.

She had stomach pains and was seen by Cobb in a theatre room where he asked her to strip to her underwear and gave her an injection, said Mr Temple.

Another member of staff who tried to get into the room found the door blocked by a trolley. He said he saw Cobb touching the woman's lower stomach.

The hospital wrote to patients and two women, aged 34 and 33, reported similar incidents.

The case continues.

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