2 Dec 2010

Mercy killing confession by retirement home orderly

4:10 pm on 2 December 2010

An orderly at a retirement home in Spain has confessed to killing 11 residents by poisoning them with bleach, an overdose of insulin or a cocktail of drugs.

Joan Vila, 45, who worked at La Caritat home in the north-eastern town of Olot, said he killed some of them to "end their suffering and give them peace".

Most of the patients had terminal illnesses, including Alzheimer's, and had fevers or were disoriented.

The BBC reports suspicion was aroused when doctors found burns to the mouth and throat of a woman, 85, who died last month.

He had confessed to killing three residents "to end their suffering" when he was arrested in October.

The Efe news agency reported the accused told a judge on Tuesday that he had killed another eight - six with a mix of drugs and two from an overdose of insulin.

The confession came 10 days after a judge ordered the eight bodies exhumed as part of an investigation into suspicious deaths at the La Caritat home.

The El Periodico newspaper quoted lawyer Carles Monguilod as saying that the first killing was carried out in August 2009, another later that year and the other nine this year.