Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Monday, 3 March 2008

Death forecast led to conviction

Ethel Hall
Police began their investigation into Norris after Ethel Hall's death

When 86-year-old Ethel Hall went into a coma and died following a hip operation in December 2002, a doctor raised concerns and ordered blood tests.

Those tests showed Mrs Hall's blood contained 12 times the normal levels of insulin, and sparked a three-year police investigation which ended with nurse Colin Norris being convicted of her murder.

Norris, 32, from Glasgow, was also convicted of killing three other elderly women in his care.

The nurse gave large doses of insulin to the women, who were not diabetic, and they fell into fatal comas.

Norris was also convicted of attempting to murder another elderly patient.

We ended up with one common denominator, and that was Colin Norris."
Neil Dalton, Crown Prosecution Service

Neil Dalton, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said Norris fell under suspicion after a colleague told police he had predicted the time of Ethel Hall's death.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he said "Ethel was going off that night" and it would be "just his luck" as he would have to complete the paperwork.

He told a fellow nurse: "It was always in the morning when things go wrong - about 0515."

Mr Dalton said: "Indeed at 0515 she went into hypoglycaemic attack and she was a woman who wasn't diabetic.

"That's why police were called in and as a result undertook a wider study of unexplained deaths."

Colin Norris
Norris made his macabre prediction to a colleague

Officers had the painstaking task of tracing every member of staff at both Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital to see if anyone else could have been responsible for the women's deaths.

"We needed to find out whether there was anyone else who was present on each of the wards at the time of the deaths as Colin Norris," Mr Dalton said.

"We had to effectively trace and explain away people present at the two hospitals.

"It involved cross-checking doctors' and nurses' rotas and phone records, speaking to witnesses and talking with security staff.

"It was a very long process, and that is why the investigation took as long as it did, but the result was that we ended up with one common denominator, and that was Colin Norris."



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