A former Ontario nurse who murdered eight seniors in her care was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Her crimes, which occurred in three Ontario long-term care facilities and a private home, make her one of Canada’s worst serial killers.
Wettlaufer admitted to using insulin in all 14 cases that stretched from 2007 to 2016, and has said she believed she was an instrument of God.
“It is a complete betrayal of trust when a caregiver does not prolong life, but terminates it,” said the judge who issued Wettlaufer’s sentence. “She was the shadow of death that passed over them on the night shift where she supervised.”
In addition to Wettlaufer’s life sentence for murder, she was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for each of the four attempted murder counts and seven years on each of the aggravated assault counts. All the sentences are to be served concurrently.
Reporters Marianne Boucher and Jeff Pickel are in court. Follow their live blog below:
The family and friends of Wettlaufer’s victims were in a Woodstock, Ont., court on Monday, describing the pain, guilt and anger they felt after learning their loved ones had been murdered by the nurse who was meant to care for the vulnerable seniors.
David AJ Silcox, whose father James Silcox was murdered by Wettlaufer in August 2007, said the former nurse’s actions had a serious effect on him.
“Psychologically I feel a great deal of pain and guilt,” he told the court. “I simply feel guilty for not being able to protect my father as he had protected me.”
Jane Silcox added that her grandfather’s murder has torn up her family.
“It terrifies me that I can’t trust an institution,” she said amid tears. “I’m terrified about the thought of putting my father in a home.”
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Sandy Millard, whose 87-year-old mother died in October 2011, said she often hasn’t wanted to leave the house or reach out to family since learning of the nurse’s crimes.
“Finding out (my mother) was killed by a huge injection of medication she did not need broke my heart,” Millard said. “I think I am depressed and have to fight my way back to sanity.”
Colin Matheson, whose 95-year-old grandmother was also murdered by Wettlaufer in October 2011, said he felt angry.
“Why didn’t I see something was wrong?” he said. “I feel helpless and defeated.”
Wettlaufer told her sentencing hearing she was truly sorry for murdering and injuring vulnerable patients in her care.
She said she hoped the families of her victims can find peace and healing.