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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Nurse murder charge cases closed
Anne Grigg-Booth
The offences were said to have been committed between 2000 and 2002
A nurse who was found dead in her home while awaiting trial for the murder of three of her patients was "caring and responsible", her solicitor has said.

Anne Grigg-Booth, 51, of Nelson, Lancs, was due to stand trial for the murder of three women aged 96, 75 and 67, at Airedale General Hospital in Keighley.

Following her death last month, the cases were discontinued at a hearing at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday.

Afterwards, solicitor Paul Fitzpatrick said his client had been well-liked.

He said there had been a considerable amount of adverse publicity since Ms Grigg-Booth's death which suggested she was also guilty of other patients' deaths and drew parallels with cases such as that of Harold Shipman.

But he said they had access to the prosecution's evidence against her and had obtained expert opinion on many of the central parts of their case.

"We are thus sufficiently well-informed to be able to confidently assert that the publicity is not only grossly unfair but also factually misconceived," he said.

Her death has robbed her of the opportunity of presenting that defence and of silencing her critics
Solicitor Paul Fitzpatrick

He went on to describe Ms Grigg-Booth as a "caring and responsible senior nurse who had worked hard, was well-liked and whose primary interest was the care of her patients".

Detectives said they had looked at a number of deaths at the hospital, where Ms Grigg-Booth had worked for 25 years, and found some suspicious cases.

She was charged in September 2004 and had been due to next appear in court in April 2006.

She was accused of the murder of Jane Driver in 2000, Eva Blackburn in 2001 and Annie Midgley in 2002.

She was also charged with the attempted murder of a 42-year-old man and 13 counts of unlawfully administering poison to 12 other patients.

The attempted murder charge related to the death of Michael Parker in 2002.

Ms Grigg-Booth, a divorced mother-of-one, always denied responsibility for any deaths.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the prosecution's argument that his client had acted without a doctor's authority in administering powerful drugs would have been challenged at her trial.

Airedale General Hospital
Detectives looked at a number of suspicious deaths at the hospital

"Much of the defence case would have been directed at administrative and system failures at Airedale Hospital where these events occurred," he said.

Expert opinion would have been called that stated Ms Grigg-Booth had administered medication reasonably and with doses well within the standard range for pain control, he added.

He went on to quote from a letter by defence expert Dr John Grenville who wrote to the solicitor after Ms Grigg-Booth's death.

"I am able to say that it is my firm opinion that the circumstances surrounding Mrs Grigg-Booth were entirely different to those surrounding the late Harold Shipman at whose trial I gave expert testimony," the letter said.

"Her death has robbed her of the opportunity of presenting that defence and of silencing her critics," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

An initial post-mortem examination failed to establish the cause of Mrs Grigg-Booth's death and further tests are being conducted.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Footage of the accused nurse captured before her death



SEE ALSO:
Nurse 'could have murdered more'
30 Aug 05 |  West Yorkshire
Body of murder charge nurse found
30 Aug 05 |  West Yorkshire
Nurse in court on murder charges
04 Mar 05 |  West Yorkshire
Nurse charged with three murders
27 Sep 04 |  West Yorkshire


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