US & Canada

Elizabeth Wettlaufer admits eight nursing home murders

Elizabeth Wettlaufer being escorted into the Woodstock courthouse in January Image copyright Toronto Star via Getty Images
Image caption Elizabeth Wettlaufer being escorted into the Woodstock courthouse in January

A former nurse has pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of elderly patients in Ontario care homes.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, also entered a guilty plea in with six counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault, according to media reports.

Police arrested Wettlaufer in October for a string deaths in two nursing homes spanning several years.

Many victims' relatives were in the courthouse for the plea.

The former nurse admitted in a lengthy statement at Ontario Superior Court on Thursday that she fatally injected the victims with insulin, according to journalists who attended the hearing.

The AFP wire service reported that Wettlaufer answered a simple "yes" when Justice Bruce Thomas asked if she had committed the premeditated murders.

The court heard she had often struggled with strong feelings of anger.

The London Free Press newspaper reported how Ms Wettlaufer described "that red surge" she felt before killing one patient.

A video of her taped October confession to police was also played before the court during a long session that lasted until late in the afternoon.

Wettlaufer's victims were between the ages 75 and 96 and were killed between 2007-14.

"I have to forgive her, that's the Christian thing to do," Andrea Silcox, whose father died in 2007, told media outside the court in Woodstock, Ontario, before Wettlauffer arrived in court.

Wettlaufer resigned from the College of Nurses of Ontario a day after police launched an investigation into the nursing home deaths in September.

The murder victims were five women and three men and were all residents of Caressant Care in Woodstock and Meadow Park in London, Ontario.

In January, police brought six additional charges - four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault - against Wettlaufer for incidents that took place in care homes between 2007-16.

Wettlaufer will be sentenced later this month. ​


The victims

  • James Silcox, 84 (died 2007)
  • Maurice Granat, 84 (died 2007)
  • Gladys Millard, 87 (died 2011)
  • Helen Matheson, 95 (died 2011)
  • Mary Zurawinski, 96 (died 2011)
  • Helen Young, 90 (died 2013)
  • Maureen Pickering, 79 (died 2014)
  • Arpad Harvath, 75 (died 2014)

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