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The BBC's Bob Platt
"Despite his disability he had led a full life"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Life for killer nurse
Birmingham Crown Court
Winzar was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court
A nurse who gave her wheelchair-bound husband a fatal dose of insulin has been jailed for life.

Deborah Winzar, 36, used her knowledge as a senior ward sister to murder her disabled husband Dominic McCarthy, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

The 34-year-old was found collapsed in his bed at the couple's home in Stonely, Cambridgeshire, in January 1997.

His wife had been at a party, and Mr McCarthy's three-year-old son Tadgh was found wandering around the house in his soiled nappy.

Mr McCarthy lapsed into a coma and died in Hinchingbrooke Hospital on February 9.

As the guilty verdict was read out, Winzar swayed slightly and mouthed the words "My God".

Mr McCarthy was paralysed from the chest down following a motorcycle crash in 1984 and had received "significant compensation".

Winzar told the court that she went to a doctors' party at Kettering General Hospital, where she worked, on the evening before her husband was found unconscious.

She said her husband had complained of feeling unwell prior to her leaving for the party.

However, she when spoke to him en route on the phone, he told her to continue as normal.

Stayed over

The court heard that Ms Winzar stayed over at a friend's home once the party had finished and the following morning made a series of frantic phone calls trying to get in contact with her husband.

Mr McCarthy, who worked as a departmental manager for a drop-in centre for mentally and physically disabled people in Peterborough, was discovered lying naked in his bed by the owner of the nursery attended by his son.

Mr McCarthy was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, but never regained consciousness.

The court was also told that equipment used to help keep Mr McCarthy alive while in hospital "malfunctioned" on two occasions when Ms Winzar was visiting.

Ms Winzar denied any involvement in her husband's death.

In sentencing Winzar, Mr Justice Owen said he would consider submissions from defence counsel before deciding on a recommendation for how long she should serve.

Marriage troubles

Mr McCarthy's brother Patrick said his brother had battled bravely against his disability, and had everything to live for.

Following his accident, Dominic went to Hatfield Polytechnic from 1986 to 1990 and did a degree in applied social studies combined with a certificate in social work and ended up working for Cambridgeshire social services in Peterborough.

He said: "He was that sort of guy, the sort who got on with his life. He was an exceptional character, full of life - he loved living.

"Our mother was very proud of him, and the way he fought against his disability. It had a bad effect on her when he died."

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