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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Killer nurse given 17 life terms
Benjamin Geen

A hospital nurse found guilty of murdering two patients and causing grievous bodily harm to 15 more has been sentenced to 17 life terms.

Benjamin Geen was told he would serve at least 30 years for the offences at Oxfordshire's Horton General Hospital between 2003 and 2004.

The nurse injected patients with drugs to stop their breathing to satisfy his lust for excitement, the court heard.

The judge described Geen's actions as a "terrible betrayal of trust".

We know that our son neither committed nor is capable of committing these terrible crimes
Benjamin Geen's parents

Mr Justice Crane told Geen: "It seems that you relished the excitement of that feeling of taking control, but you must have known quite well that you were playing with their lives.

"This was a terrible betrayal. You betrayed your nursing and medical colleagues and the vital profession of which you had been a member.

"Most of all you betrayed the trust of the patients. They were in your care and you intentionally caused them huge damage."

But speaking through his solicitor, Geen insisted he was innocent and would appeal against his conviction.

He called for a public inquiry into what went wrong at the Horton hospital.

'Perverse needs'

His parents, Mick and Erica, said: "We know that our son neither committed nor is capable of committing these terrible crimes."

The Banbury nurse was given life sentences for two counts of murder and 15 of grievous bodily harm.

Geen gave a total of 17 victims injections of drugs such as muscle relaxants, insulin and sedatives to stop them breathing.

The court heard how Geen looked elated as his patients went into respiratory arrest and even boasted to one doctor, "There is always a resuscitation when I'm on duty".

Prosecutor Michael Austin Smith QC told the jury that toying with patients' lives was a price Geen was willing to pay in order to satisfy his perverse needs.

Muscle relaxant

David Onley, 77, from Deddington, died on 21 January, 2004, and Anthony Bateman, 66, from Banbury, died on 6 January, 2004.

Fifteen other patients recovered shortly after they developed breathing difficulties.

Initially, doctors could not explain the abnormally high level of respiratory arrests between December 2003 and February 2004.

Suspicion fell on Geen, a lieutenant in the Territorial Army, when it emerged that the incidents had taken place while he was on duty.

When he was subsequently arrested at the hospital on 9 February, 2004, police found a syringe filled with a potentially lethal muscle relaxant in his pocket.

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