Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Husband killer fights nursing ban

Wadanahalugeder Chandrasekera
Mrs Chandrasekera was told she could not practise as a nurse

A 61-year-old woman from Kent who admitted killing her estranged husband with an axe is fighting a decision to strike her off the nurses' register.

Wadanahalugeder Chandrasekera was told by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in December 2007 she could not practise in the UK for at least five years.

She had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility in January 2006.

Chandrasekera, from Bearsted, was given a three-year community order.

Her husband Sarath, 57, died from multiple injuries after she struck him 11 times with the weapon.

She killed him in October 2005 after discovering he had fathered a child with her niece.

'Lesser penalty'

The Sri Lankan-born health visitor spent 10 months in prison on remand, but was freed by a judge at Woolwich Crown Court who was told she had suffered years of emotional abuse at the hands of Mr Chandrasekera.

On Thursday, she challenged at London's High Court the Nursing and Midwifery Council conduct committee decision to strike her off.

John de Bono, appearing for Mrs Chandrasekera, argued that the committee had been wrong to find that her offence made it "fundamentally incompatible" for her to continue nursing.

He said her case was exceptional and the disciplinary body should have handed down a lesser penalty and taken into account her depressed mental state and suffering at the time of the killing.

Lawyers for the nursing council argued that striking off was necessary "to maintain public confidence in the nursing profession".

Deputy High Court judge Christopher Symons QC said he would give his decision at a later date.

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