Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 17:01 UK

Somerset care home boss Rachel Baker cleared of murder

Rachel Baker arriving at court on a previous occasion
Rachel Baker has been found not guilty of murder

A former care home boss has been found not guilty of murdering two residents with lethal overdoses of drugs.

Rachel Baker, of Glastonbury, denied killing Lucy Cox, 97, and Frances Hay, 85, in November 2006.

Baker, 44, earlier admitted 10 counts of possessing class A and C drugs, and one count of perverting the course of justice at Bristol Crown Court.

She denied giving any residents at Parkfields Care Home, in Butleigh, drugs they had not been prescribed.

Baker wept in the dock as the jury cleared her of the murder charges and an attempted murder charge involving Mrs Hay.

The jury returned the not guilty verdicts after deliberating for more than 24 hours.

Baker also denied an alternative count of manslaughter relating to Mrs Hay and a count of manslaughter relating to Mrs Cox.

The jury did not reach unanimous verdicts on the manslaughter charges on Thursday and will resume deliberations later.

The judge, Mr Justice Royce, said he would accept verdicts on which at least 10 of them were agreed.

'Emotional turmoil'

Baker, of Boundary Way, is alleged to have killed Mrs Hay and Mrs Cox with a lethal dose of medication, while she was abusing controlled drugs.

A registered nurse, Baker earlier admitted feeding her addiction by stealing prescribed and controlled substances from residents at the care home.

Prosecutor David Fisher, opening the case in January, said: "Rachel Baker was, by her own admission, regularly taking prescribed drugs, which must have had a substantial effect on her character and conduct.

"She, for a variety of bizarre and perverted reasons, may have had a desire to control the terminal destiny of some of her residents."

Giving evidence, Baker accepted taking the medication amid the "stress, pain and emotional turmoil" of running the care home.

She denied that her "diverting" of residents' drugs had ever affected their care.

She also said she felt "useless" after the death of one resident, Fred Green.



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SEE ALSO
Care home owner 'not a killer'
10 Mar 10 |  Somerset
Care home woman 'given overdose'
25 Feb 10 |  Somerset

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