Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Care home boss accused of murders

Rachel Baker
Rachel Baker was first arrested on New Year's Day 2007

The co-manager of a care home in Somerset has been charged with murdering three elderly residents.

Rachel Baker, 44, is accused in connection with the deaths of Francis Hay, Marion Alder and Lucy Cox at Parkfields care home near Glastonbury.

She is also facing 11 counts of possessing a controlled drug.

Mrs Baker and her husband Leigh, 50, who jointly ran the home, are both charged with acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice.

Both appeared before South Somerset Magistrates' Court in Yeovil on Wednesday. They were granted conditional bail until 6 February.

Det Supt Trevor Simpson said it was a complex case and thanked the families of the victims for their patience.

Marion Alder whose body was exhumed
Three bodies, including Marion Alder's, were exhumed in the inquiry

He said: "This has been a complex, thorough and necessarily lengthy investigation to bring us to this point.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved and those affected, the communities in Somerset and especially the families of the bereaved for their understanding, tolerance and patience."

Mr and Mrs Baker were first questioned in 2007 over the deaths of four women and a man.

The couple, from Glastonbury, were first arrested following the death of resident Lucy Cox, 97, on New Year's Day 2007.

Alternative accommodation

Subsequently police exhumed the bodies of Nellie "Mary" Pickford, 89, Marion Alder, 79, and 81-year-old Fred Green.

Miriam Maddison, director of adult social care at Somerset County Council, said: "Somerset County Council was not directly managing the care of any of the individuals named in today's announcement.

"We were involved in finding alternative accommodation for all the residents at Parkfields after the care home was closed."

The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) shut the home, at Butleigh, in March 2007.

The couple had managed the accommodation which housed up to 20 elderly residents in flats and bungalows for more than a decade.

The building was sold to a new owner who registered with the CSCI in September 2007, and is now operating the care home under the name Avalon Court.

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Police statement on the case



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