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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 13:43 GMT
Nurse 'poisoned elderly patient'
Court graphic
A nurse from County Armagh has been given 10-year suspended sentences for assaulting and poisoning elderly patients in her care.

Noreen Mulholland, Park Road, Portadown was told she would never work again.

She was convicted of assaulting two men at Naas General Hospital in County Kildare in 2003. She was also found guilty of poisoning one of the men.

The judge said the 35-year-old had a troubled upbringing and there was "little point" sending her to jail.

Mulholland, 35, was found guilty last month of poisoning and assaulting 77-year-old John Gethings of Baltinglass, County Wicklow, at Naas General Hospital on 1 March 2003.

She was also found guilty of assaulting 80-year-old Seamus Doherty, of Rathcoffey, Naas, in June 2003.

Her trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the nurse had good references from previous employers including the Republic of Ireland's leading hospital, the Blackrock Clinic.

'Disturbing childhood'

Judge Frank O'Donnell said that Noreen Mulholland had been in denial that she had done anything wrong.

He said he had taken into account the "horrible and disturbing childhood" of Mulholland.

Mr O'Donnell said no purpose would be served if Mulholland were to spend time in prison.

He said she had already suffered, and was likely to do so in the future.

For the assault of Mr Gethings, she was sentenced to four years.

For the poisoning of Mr Gethings she was sentenced to two years and for assaulting Mr Doherty, she was sentenced to a further four years.

However, all sentences were suspended.

Mulholland was also bound to the peace for five years, and ordered to stay under supervision of the probation and welfare service for one year.

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