A 55-year-old woman from Banbury has been convicted of the attempted murder of her elderly mother today (Thursday).
Julia Knight, of Sycamore Drive, was found guilty by unanimous verdict following a 10-day trial at Oxford Crown Court.
On October 16 2014 Thames Valley Police received a report from Oxford University NHS Trust of an unexplained incident at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury nine days earlier on 7 October 2014.
That incident involved an 80-year-old female patient, Irene Robson, who had been admitted to hospital after suffering a fall at home.
Despite initially improving she deteriorated suddenly and unexpectedly, with a subsequent police investigation finding evidence to suggest that Irene Robson had been administered a potentially lethal dose of insulin.
She recovered thanks to the emergency intervention of medical staff and was subsequently discharged from the hospital.
She died in September of this year however judge Ian Pringle directed the jury that the death had no bearing on the case being tried.
Following the verdict senior investigating officer, DI Craig Kirby from the TVP Major Crime Unit said: “This is an incredibly sad case where, for reasons still unknown to us, Julia Knight made a concerted and well planned attempt to end her mother’s life.
“When this did not work she then allowed a large number of hard working medical staff to be subject to an intense hospital and then criminal investigation where they were undoubtedly left feeling in some way responsible for what happened to Irene Robson.
“It was only following a large scale police investigation, when the weight of evidence became overwhelming, that Julia Knight finally admitted injecting her mother with Insulin, something she had repeatedly denied during a number of police interviews.
“This has been a difficult case for all concerned and I would like to thank all of the witnesses in this case, along with the hospital, police staff and Crown Prosecution Service colleagues involved, whose testimony and hard work ensured the true events of that day were finally uncovered.”
Adrian Foster, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This case involved the attempted murder, by poisoning, of 80-year-old Irene Robson by her daughter Julia Knight on October 7 2014, at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury. It is impossible to imagine a more vulnerable victim.
“Knight embarked on a premeditated, cold-blooded attack on her mother by illicitly injecting her with a potentially lethal dose of insulin while she was an inpatient on a ward after suffering a fall at home. The insulin, obtained by Knight via a forged prescription, caused Irene’s blood sugar concentration to drop to a lethal level and she fell into unconsciousness, but hospital staff managed to save her life. There is no doubt that as a qualified practising nurse and with her medical knowledge of the effects of unprescribed insulin that Knight intended to kill her mother.
“This was an extremely difficult and complex case to prosecute. Without any eye witnesses, we needed lengthy and highly technical scientific evidence from top medical experts to help provide an explanation as to how Irene, who did not suffer from diabetes, came to suffer a potentially deadly and prolonged hypoglycaemic attack. This evidence enabled the prosecution to piece together what had happened and exclude any possible innocent explanation or a medical error and confirm it was the result of a deliberate criminal act.
“For months Knight denied injecting her mother with insulin. She has since admitted injecting her mother with the insulin, but denied attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent claiming that she merely wanted to make her mother poorly in order for her to receive additional care. She has today, been found guilty of attempted murder despite her denials.
“We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. It is unfortunate that Irene has since died and is not alive today to see justice done. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.”
Knight will be sentenced back at the same court, but a date has not been confirmed.